China Hides the Truth About the Uyghurs

Some time ago, in a previous blogging identity, I raised the problems of the Uyghurs in East Turkistan (known as Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region by the occupying Chinese). I noted how the Chinese government was using the fact that the Uyghurs are Muslim to build up resentment against them in the West. It is much easier to do this with regard to East Turkistan than it is with Tibet, because nobody hates Tibetan Buddhists just for being Buddhists.

After all, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region is only autonomous to the transplanted ethnic Han population who rule it. For the Uyghurs, complete autonomy from Beijing is exactly what they want. Outside communist doublespeak, “complete autonomy” is another term for independence. Yet Xinjiang has long been one of the most tightly controlled regions claimed by the Chinese government.

Here’s how things work in East Turkistan. Chinese officials claim that 156 died in violence that erupted from protests (originally about how Uyghur workers had been killed in a toy factory in Guangdong province) on Sunday and that most of those killed were Han. Chinese officials – never a very trustworthy lot – then arrested 1400 Uyghurs. About 200 Uyghur women, understandably unhappy about the 1400 arrests, decided to protest to appeal for the freedom of the detainees. They were confronted with riot police.

On Tuesday, some of the Han population in Urumqi (the capital of East Turkistan) then rampaged through the Uyghur parts of the city with clubs and machetes, smashing up businesses.

As is their common practice, the Chinese authorities don’t want the outside world to get unfiltered information. They shut down internet service and international telephone service in Urumqi. I think it is a good idea to fear a government that fears the truth.

The only just resolution to the current violence and more importantly to the suppression of the Uyghur people is true autonomy. They should have the right of self-determination.  When the left in the US and elsewhere complain about what they perceive to be right-wing American imperialism I marvel at the short-sightedness of not seeing the true imperialism of their fellow socialists, the Chinese government. I am also ashamed of the governments of other nations in the world (especially the US and UK) for not taking a stronger stand. No one wants to offend the Chinese government.

Pearls Before Swine

I was discussing the number of Christians in the world with one of my classes and one boy questioned the number of worldwide believers. He doubted that the number was accurate. I agreed with him.

I explained that while demographic experts used a variety of data, that data was not always accurate. I explained that the Chinese government says there are 100 million Christians in China, while researchers at Shanghai University estimate the number is closer to 300 million, because most Christians in China worship in underground churches and are not recognised in the government’s figures. That would put the number of Christians in the world closer to 2.3 billion instead of 2.1 billion.

Then I made the mistake of explaining that many Christians in China and elsewhere are persecuted for their faith. Some kids, including the boy that questioned the numbers, thought that was pretty funny.

I don’t know why I then mentioned that they might have seen in the news that a British Christian who was working with handicapped children in Afghanistan was murdered just a couple of days ago. One girl laughed quite openly. I wanted to cry.

Justice for the Uighurs – The Least They Can Do

A number of readers who can imagine that I do anything other than support any Republican policy will be happy to know that I have long been very troubled by use of Guantanamo Bay for holding prisoners. Beyond the problems I have with using Gitmo because it serves a useful loophole purpose by keeping prisoners of the Administration off of American soil, I have trouble with the policy of completely ignoring the power of judiciary. On top of that, I have a big problem with the extreme reluctance to release prisoners even if they pose no threat to the United States.

This is an extraodinary abuse of Executive power. Like most of the expansion of the Executive in the past seven years, no one has dared to attempt to check it, because it is shielded in the patriotism and fear of the War on Terror.

I was particularly disturbed to read about the 17 Uighur prisonser who were taken captive on the basis bounty money offered in Pakistan. I’m not suggesting that all Pakistanis will sell out their mothers for the right price, but some were willing to sell out Uighur refugees from China for $5,000 each.

They were sent to Guantanamo six years ago. It took the military two years to recognise that they posed no threat whatsoever. What happened to the other four years? Well, I suppose it doesn’t matter, since they don’t look like us and talk like us, and after all, they are Muslims. That seems to be the reason they are sitting in prison. I can’t imagine a government lawyer would like to give up six years of his own life for no reason in a foreign country – or actually a military outpost because the laws of that foreign country would not allow him to be held without trial. (That’s why I’ve always said it was 95% of lawyers who gave the rest of us a bad name.)

But then again that government lawyer wouldn’t be there because he didn’t have to flee his own country which had been taken over by another ethnic group who treated him as a second class and suspect citizen because of the way he looks and his religion. And that lawyer didn’t have to flee to the country of other ethnic groups who had no particular sympathy for him and who were willing to sell him out for cash.

But even though the Supreme Court has ruled that judges can release prisoners (not exactly a novel idea) and the Court of Appeal has ruled that there is no basis for holding Huzaifa Parhat, one of the Uighurs, the Administration will not let them go.

The problem seems to be that no country will take them, except for China of course. Chinese officials already have 17 bullets ready, with stamped envelopes addressed to their families ready for the spent cartridges. The one thing the government can’t bear to do is allow them to settle in the United States. Sure they settled them on US-leased land in Cuba for six years, but that doesn’t count. There are 20 churches in Tallahassee willing to help re-home them, amongst other religious and social groups.

The unbelievable and virtually admitted injustice that has been imposed upon these refugees is payment enough to bump them to the head of the queue for a Green Card. In addition to their immediate release, I hope U.S. District Judge Ricardo Urbina will further order the Department of Homeland Security to do just that.

Maoist in Parliament

Some Labour MPs are very definitely still Marxist Old Labour, or at least pine after the good ol’ days. A few moments ago on the BBC News commentary programme This Week, I listened to the following exchange between former Tory MP and cabinet minister Michael Portillo, current Labour MP Diane Abbott, and moderator Andrew Neil. There was a discussion about dictators.

Portillo: Mao Zedong killed 30 million, 60 million. People still wear Mao t-shirts; people still carry Mao Little Red Books and if you go to China there’s still a huge picture of Mao Zedong in Tiananmen Square. It’s absolutely bizarre. When a royal prince dressed in an SS uniform he was absolutely condemned. Had he worn a Mao outfit, nobody would have blinked.

Neil: Why is that? Why is it right to wear a Maoist t-shirt but obviously wrong, as it is, to wear a Hitler t-shirt?

Abbott: I suppose that some people would judge that on balance, Mao did more good than wrong. We can’t say that about the Nazis.

Portillo: What!?!?!

Neil: Remind me what the good was.

Abbott: Well, it’s funny I just had this debate with my son.

Neil: Mao killed tens of millions of people.

Portillo: Just tell me what was the good thing that he did that made up for the 60 million people he murdered?

Abbott: He led his country from feudalism, he helped to defeat the Japanese, and he left his country on the verge of the great economic success they are having now.

Portillo (to Neil): You call Stalin the greatest [in terms of despotism] ever dictator. In terms of mass murder he isn’t on the same page as Mao, that Dianne apparently supports.

Yes, isn’t it nice to know that we have Maoists sitting on the Government’s backbenches in the British Parliament?