By Gulnaz Uyghur
The Land of the Dragon, propaganda and ulterior motives, China, has always been a part of discussions among countries across the globe. Some of these nations are rapidly becoming its ‘economical’ partners and a few of them like USA, India, Japan and nowadays Australia (after knowing that Beijing is trying to influence their politicians) are speaking against it. The others are still deciding, the policies of Trump have shaken their faith in the US but they do not trust Xi Jinping either. Speculations are rife that China is on the verge of becoming a global force able to change the world order. However, is this road made by supporting Dictorians and using the blood of innocents? To find the answer we first need to peek inside China itself. Let’s start with its Achilles’ heel, East Turkestan.
There is a famous Chinese proverb, ‘a diamond with a flaw is worth more than a pebble without imperfections’. East Turkestan is just that for the PRC, an imperfect diamond. East Turkistan was occupied by China in October 1949. This realm is home to millions of Uyghurs who are a Turkic ethnic group. Alas, its name was changed to Xinjiang meaning ‘new territory’. Uyghurs never liked the communist regime and after their nation’s accession. There was nothing common between both the regions. From the Turkish traditions to their belief in the Quran. From the songs they sung to the pictures they painted. From their food to the clothes they wore. Even their names, language and games were different from that of the Chinese. One can understand these disparities by a single fact that the Uyghurs have a religion while China believes in atheism.
The above dissimilarities were always dealt with in a harsh manner. The PRC put unthinkable restrictions on the Uyghur people. No one was allowed to practice Islam or study Quran. Their farmlands and ancestral homes were being snatched away. The influential leaders, nationalist scholars and artists were all being hanged to death. People even came out on the streets to save East Turkestan but they were butchered by the military. Basically, anyone who uttered a single word against China was put behind bars. Then came the Cultural Revolution by Mao, only the mention of this incident and one can recall all the horrors of that time. During this incident too, Uyghurs remained the main targets of Maoists. In spite of being poles apart and its unlikeliness for the people, China occupied East Turkestan.
Till this day, Uyghurs are suffering in the hands of the communist regime as it desperately tries to hold on to this territory, but why?
At present, East Turkestan is the largest Chinese occupied division and the eighth largest country subdivision in the world, spanning over 1.6 million km2. Not only this, the most well-known route of the historical Silk Road ran through the territory from the east to its northwestern border. In recent decades, abundant oil and mineral reserves have been found here, and it is the largest natural gas-producing region for Beijing. Traditionally an agricultural region, East Turkestan also has large deposits of minerals and oil including abundant reserves of coal, crude oil, and natural gas.
Stripping the Uyghur land of its resources, the oil and gas extraction industry in Aksu and Karamay is booming, with the West–East Gas Pipeline connecting to Shanghai. Over a fifth of China's coal, natural gas and oil resources came due to the invasion of East Turkestan and today it plays a vital role in Xi Jinping’s ‘One Belt One Road’ initiative. He is leaving no stone unturned to exploit Uyghurs and suppress their voice of freedom.
However, it is not only the people of East Turkestan who are being punished for their natural wealth. If we take a look at the countries who think China as their ally, we will find that those Governments are themselves wolves in sheep's clothing. A large number of investments made by Beijing have been in conflicted zones with an authoritarian Government. Countries like the Maldives, Philippines, Cambodia, parts of Africa, Myanmar, Saudi Arabia, Egypt etc. have one thing in common and that is lack of freedom. The common people in these countries are already suffering and by filling the pockets of corrupt politicians, China is making sure that the situation remains the same.
“This attitude of a wannabe super power is due to one reason, economy. China wants to increase and expand its economy by hook or crook.”
The economic interests of Beijing have always overshadowed the Humanitarian issues all over the world and the recent Rohingya crisis is a testimony to this fact. China’s reaction to it has uncovered its true intentions. Millions of Rohingyas were left without homes, many died and children were orphaned but the PRC supported the Myanmar Government. All of this because of a pipeline which will let Beijing acquire 200,000 barrels of crude oil a day. It is no coincidence that the areas of the pipeline passing through Myanmar’s Rakhine states includes ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya.
Same is the case in other countries. Beijing’s giant state corporations have invested billions of dollars in dams, oilfields and mines to dominate the Cambodian investment landscape. In the Maldives, it has given huge loans to the corrupt PPM Government and investing in infrastructure projects like Hulhumale Housing schemes, bridges etc. It has influenced the Philippine President Rodrigo Roa Duterte so well that he is supporting Xi Jinping in claiming most of the South China Sea. China has also set up funds with the UAE and Qatar worth a total of $20 billion to invest in conventional energy. It extended its contracts to buy oil and half of Beijing’s oil imports originate from the Middle East. The Governments of these countries are either too weak or draconian in nature.
According to Xi Jinping or any Dragon leader it isn’t worth one’s while if millions of people are dying or living in a horrible condition. They will keep ignoring the Rohingyan Genocide, imprisonment of Human Rights activists and journalists, murders of politicians, bloggers being flogged 100 times or millions forced to step on land mines until they hinder China’s growth. They will keep flourishing an economy on the cost of human lives and pave its way amid corpses. It’s been more than 60 years since Uyghurs are suffering and now the Dragon is trapping other countries too.
According to Mao Zedong, political power grew out of the barrel of the gun. Following his leader, Xi Jinping is growing economic power too from that same barrel of the gun.