The Chinese state is governed by Mao Zedong ideology with a modification of Karl Marx’s Communism, Shahid Majeed Mir writes
China has detained as many as one million Uighurs in the so-called “re-education centers” and forced them to undergo psychological indoctrination programs like studying communist propaganda and giving thanks to Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Chinese authorities have also reportedly used waterboarding and other forms of torture on the ethnic minority. The Chinese government, however, claims that the camps are merely vocational and training centers intended to combat extremism and that they are teaching detainees useful and valuable skills. Wang Yi, the foreign minister, made similar arguments.
“This protects the human rights of the vast majority, while also saving these people,” he said. “It’s another important contribution of China’s to the global counter-terror field.”
Xinjiang, where about 10 million Uighurs and a few other Muslim minorities live, is an autonomous region in China’s northwest that borders Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Mongolia. It has been under Chinese control since 1949 when the communist People’s Republic of China was established. Uighurs speak their own language — an Asian Turkic language similar to Uzbek – and most practice a moderate form of Sunni Islam. Some activists, including those who seek independence from China, refer to the region as East Turkestan.
Once situated along the ancient Silk Road trading route, Xinjiang is oil and resource-rich. As it developed along with the rest of China, the region attracted more Han Chinese, a migration encouraged by the Chinese government. The Chinese policy of discrimination and terror against own citizens on a single basis of religion is a horrendous act of state terrorism in the recent era. The Chinese state is governed by Mao Zedong ideology with a modification of Karl Marx’s Communism. The state is ruled by one party which is only legitimate party in the eyes of the government. Since Communism is centered on the concept of social cohesion, therefore, the freedom of life and liberty isn’t expected on liberal lines. The state in recent times has a heavy crackdown on rights activists and social activists on the pretext of national security and territorial integrity. The oft-repeated reports of UNHRC condemn the grave allegations of human rights violation in China that hardly takes note of such condemnation. To shrill rhetoric the ordeal passed on to the Uighurs exclusively on the basis of religion is horrific and dirtiest-ever political opaqueness of China. But the million dollar question is what prompted China to take such ghastly step? What compelled China to establish the Hitler-era camps? Are Muslim really terrorists or is Islam proclaimed as religion of terrorism on false grounds? The answers could only be predicted because the oppression can never be justified as is happening in Xingjiang.
China is on track to attain the pinnacle of state power among fraternity of countries banked on its economic boom after the 1980s. The economic heavyweight guided by supreme ideology of Mao is centered on the belief of strict code of regulations for citizens and whole administrative powers concentrated at the central position. The provincial officers are mere pawns in the chessboard of Xi Jingping. This regulatory procedure disallows liberty as sought in the era of liberalism. Those who criticise albeit logically to policies of government are deemed as anti-national. Now in this backdrop, Uighurs are no exception. However, to a broader analysis the Right to Life of Uighurs is witnessing an onslaught due to a multitude of reasons not to talk of privacy.
The Islamophobia is at full bloom in the West. In aftermath of 9/11, the rhetoric of West has changed as if taking birth as a Muslim is crime. The war on terror and the onslaught in Afghanistan where thousands of innocent people lost their lives have changed the social cohesion towards Muslims. The isolated events as claimed by the so-called ‘Islamic State’ brought a revolutionary attitudinal change towards Muslims. Whenever and wherever the involvement of Muslims is witnessed, the hue and cry take mere seconds across the globe. The discrimination in Iraq on the baseless belief of Weapons of Mass Destruction, human rights violations carried by Israel in Palestine, Syria, Mayanmar , Dagistan, Chechnya and in Kashmir are soon forgotten. This biased and segregated approach has overturned the whole scenario to other extreme. In this backdrop, China views the community with fear and an extremist angle.
The possible causes for Chinese move and the impending need for such a horrible strategy is governed by three pillars. On the first pillar, the marquee One Belt One Road project panned out to revive the ancient Silk Road for linkage of European economies to China starts from the western tail of Xingjiang inhabited by Uighurs. The Chinese government views Uighurs with Islamophobia possibly posing a threat to the ambitious Silk Road project. The basis of such a possibility grows from alienation of this discriminated minority due to the continuous onslaught of the Chinese government. The social cohesion and social solidarity are won through piecemeal engineering grounded in consensus and cooperation rather than extreme sense of discrimination. On the second hand, China views the community on the same lines as that of the western world. They take the Muslims as unique community with a mental of sacrifice for the safeguard and security of religion. They intentionally compare incidents involving the Uzbekistan extremist groups with Uighurs thus culminating any possibility of coordination for one cause. While as the third and most important pillar of such a horrific spate of terror is intensifying due to absence of any strict condemnation in the Muslim world. The neighboring Pakistan could hardly sacrifice their material interests grounded in much hyped CPEC corridor to issue any statement and impress upon China not to unveil such abuse over minority. Saudi Arabia is busy in its own occupations. And the cohesion in IOC and the Arab League isn’t upto the mark for any possible focus towards Uighurs. All these factors enthuse energy into the notorious Chinese strategy to impose more restrictions and ordeals.
The contemporary era is governed by human rights order. The elaborate arrangement of institutional, procedural, legislative, administrative, private and public, global conventions, declarations, United Nations mandate et al have been established for promotion and safeguard of human rights irrespective of caste, creed, colour, religion, and gender. UNHRC, Amnesty International, European Union are but mega institutional framework keeping close eye on human rights violations in every nook and corner of the world. In the recent past, the grave human rights violations against the Muslims occurred in Mayanmar and are underway in China. No doubt UN declared Mayanmar’s approach against its Muslims as ethnic cleansing and issued condemnation statements in shrill notes, why is Aung San Suu Kyi’s government working freely? Can’t it be sued in the ICJ? Can’t there be sanctions on Mayanmar? If North Korea is deemed as vulgar why not Mayanmar? Such incidents become chessboard for big players like China who thereafter take it lightly as a domestic issue. Had there been strict sanctions against Mayanmar on human rights violation irrespective of religion, China would have thought ten times prior to the establishment of the re-education camps. Although the US, European Union, UN, and Amnesty International have issued statements of condemnation against China but the state that decried the ICJ ruling in one go isn’t expected to come to terms. The Chinese government needs to awake from the slumber with knowledge that “ideas can’t be jailed”. The horrific practice needs to be stopped immediately and the Uighurs are provided full civil and political rights like ordinary citizens lest it should fail to save itself from the wrath of extremism. These and other such incidents prepare a ground for extremism.