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INFOCUS|CHINA|INTERNAL AFFAIRS

V 7KH &&3 RIIHUHG DQ DWWUDFWLYH economic incentive program called WKH ³%LJ 'HYHORSPHQW RI WKH 1RUWKZHVW´WRWKHSRRU+DQ&KLQHVHDQGWKH Uyghurs were systematically denied opportunities to be a part of the rising SURJUDP 7KH VWDWHœV SROLFLHV DJJUDvated the indigenous Uyghurs against WKH +DQ &KLQHVH VHWWOHUV 7KH ODQJXDJH SROLF\ DGRSWHG VLQFH WKH V E\ WKH &KLQHVH &&3 GHQLHG WKH EDVLF rights for Uyghurs to continue their HGXFDWLRQ LQ WKHLU RZQ ODQJXDJH ,Qdeed, it has also been argued that the long-time central government policy of celebrating the ethnic identity of Uyghurs in an effort to appease them has had the corollary effect of reviviI\LQJ 8\JKXU SROLWLFDO FRQVFLRXVQHVV The rise of ethnic nationalism and HYHQ³WHUURULVP´LQ;LQMLDQJKDVDWLWV core an essential contestation of idenWLWLHVUHÀHFWHGLQWKHVWDWHœVGLVFRXUVH RIGHYHORSPHQWDQGVHFXULW\ 7KH HVVHQFH RI WKH ³;LQMLDQJ SUREOHP´ LV WKDW LWV HFRQRPLF development has come to be seen by many active parts of the indigenous population as a zero-sum game, in which they are not only the losers but will, by losing, also forfeit their culture and homeland and even their YHU\ H[LVWHQFH DV D GLVWLQFW SHRSOH ;LQMLDQJ 7XUNV DV OLNH PLQRULWLHV HYHU\ZKHUH ZKR IHDU ³DVVLPLODWLRQ´ into the culture of a larger ethnic

group, deeply mistrust Chinese talk of a multi-ethnic society and fear their IDWHLVWREHDEVRUEHGLQWRDVSHFLÂżFDOO\ +DQ &KLQHVH ZRUOG +HQFH WKH\ VHH WKHPVHOYHVDVÂżJKWLQJWRSUHVHUYHWKHLU unique historical homeland, language, culture, and traditions from forces WKH\EHOLHYHZRXOGREOLWHUDWHWKHP STATE RESPONSE 7KH UHVSRQVH IURP %HLMLQJ KDV EHHQ RIÂżFLDOO\ UHDVRQDEOH EXW OHVV VR LQ SUDFWLFH ,Q 6HSWHPEHU  ‘National Minorities Policy and Its Practice in China’ was released by WKH 2IÂżFH RI WKH 6WDWH &RXQFLO 7KH policy outlines a fairly generous policy toward minorities, but it was

IS CHINA VICTIMIZING ITS UYGHUR MINORITY, USING TERRORISM AND SEPARATISM AS AN EXCUSE TO VIOLATE THEIR HUMAN RIGHTS? CHINESE LEADERSHIP FEARS THAT XINJIANG SEPARATISM HAS AND WILL CONTINUE TO GAIN SUPPORT FROM TRANSNATIONAL MUSLIM EXTREMISTS

|46| India-China Chronicle ƒ March-April 2015

IDU UHPRYHG IURP SUDFWLFH 2SHQ tolerance of minorities declined IXUWKHULQ;LQMLDQJDIWHU6HSWHPEHU ZKHQ&KLQDIHOWLWZDVQRZERWK LQWHUQDWLRQDOO\ SHUPLVVLEOH WR ÂłFUDFN GRZQ´ RQ VHSDUDWLVWV LQ ;LQMLDQJ DQG nationally more urgent to protect its SRURXV ERUGHUV  &OHDUO\ WKH &KLQHVH government has been cracking down RQ8\JKXUPLOLWDQWV:HVWHUQKXPDQ rights groups are concerned about overall treatment of prisoners and the targeting of minorities, while the Chinese government is concerned that ,VODPLF PLOLWDQW UKHWRULF DQG IXQGLQJ DUH ÂżQGLQJ WKHLU ZD\ LQWR &KLQD 7KH issue then becomes whether China is victimizing the Uyghur minority, using terrorism and separatism as an H[FXVH WR YLRODWH WKHLU KXPDQ ULJKWV or whether China itself is a victim of VHSDUDWLVP7KH&KLQHVHWHQGWRUHIHU to this concern by the three character VORJDQ RI VHSDUDWLVP H[WUHPLVP DQG terrorism, implying a distinct link EHWZHHQ WKH WKUHH FRQFHSWV  )RU LQVWDQFH IRUPHU &KLQHVH 3UHVLGHQW +X-LQWDRVDLGRQ-XQHWKDW Âł:H KDYH WR ÂżJKW DJDLQVW WKH WKUHH HYLOV RI VHSDUDWLVP H[WUHPLVP DQG WHUURULVP´ LQ D VSHHFK DW D VXPPLW PHHWLQJ RI WKH VL[QDWLRQ 6KDQJKDL &RRSHUDWLRQ 2UJDQL]DWLRQ 6&2  adding that terrorism in all forms must be suppressed and double VWDQGDUGVPXVWEHUXOHGRXWLQÂżJKWLQJ what is regarded as a grave threat to ZRUOG SHDFH DQG GHYHORSPHQW ,W LV clear that the Chinese leadership fears WKDW ;LQMLDQJ VHSDUDWLVP KDV DQG will continue to gain support from WUDQVQDWLRQDO0XVOLPH[WUHPLVWV The central government’s policies on separatists include the use of IRUFH IRU H[DPSOH LQ $XJXVW  the Chinese military undertook largeVFDOH H[HUFLVHV LQ ;LQMLDQJ ZLWK DQ imposing parade of military hardware through the center of the city of .DVKJDU $UPHG SROLFH KHOG D ODUJH VFDOH DQWLWHUURU H[HUFLVH LQ ;LQMLDQJ RQ$XJXVW7KHLQLWLDWLRQRI DÂłVWULNHKDUG´FDPSDLJQDJDLQVWFULPH throughout China made Uyghurs and VHSDUDWLVWV LQ ;LQMLDQJ D NH\ WDUJHW $ UHQHZHG QDWLRQDO ÂłVWULNH KDUG´

campaign against crime was initiated LQ $SULO  DQG KDV QHYHU IRUPDOO\ EHHQEURXJKWWRDFORVH Economic incentives, however, may well be the biggest tool in the central JRYHUQPHQWœV SROLFLHV WRZDUG ;LQMLDQJ HVSHFLDOO\ WKH :HVWHUQ 'HYHORSPHQW SROLFLHV 7KH DWWHPSW WR XVH economic tools to address ethnic VHSDUDWLVP LQ ;LQMLDQJ UHÀHFWV WKH Chinese government’s long-standing belief that Uyghurs primarily want a JRRG HFRQRPLF OLIH 7KH FXUUHQW &KLnese government is acutely aware of the challenges and dangers that lesser development in the western UHJLRQV OLNH ;LQMLDQJ PHDQV QRW RQO\ for China’s overall continued prosperity, but also for political stability, WKH SRVVLEOH HQWLFHPHQWV RI ,VODPLF H[WUHPLVP DQG WKH FDOOV IRU HWKQLF VHSDUDWLVP 7KH XQGHUO\LQJ LGHD LV that if the western regions, most notaEO\ ;LQMLDQJ KDYH VXI¿FLHQW GHYHORSment, then the minorities will prosper, be less restive, give less support for VHSDUDWLVWDFWLYLWLHV 'RPHVWLFDOO\ WKH XQUHVW VXJJHVWV that China’s longstanding approach WR ;LQMLDQJ LV DW ULVN RI IDLOXUH GXH to the contradictions inherent in the ORJLFWKDWXQGHUSLQV%HLMLQJœVVWUDWHJ\ )URP %HLMLQJœV SHUVSHFWLYH FRQWURO RI ;LQMLDQJ VLQFH WKH HDUO\ V KDV been built upon accelerating economic growth and development in order to

MUSLIMS IN XINJIANG HAVE A LONG LIST OF GRIEVANCES WITH THE GOVERNMENT. BEIJINGâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S ECONOMIC POLICIES HAVE FAVOURED THE COASTAL REGIONS AND THE HAN NATIONALITY, CONTRIBUTING TO RELATIVE ECONOMIC DEPRIVATION FOR UYGHURS AND OTHER MINORITIES placate the regionâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s non-Han ethnic JURXSV <HW WKLV KDV RQO\ EHHQ DEOH to occur, in the authoritiesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; view, so long as security and control has been UHVROXWHO\PDLQWDLQHG Regionally, throughout the last two GHFDGHV WKH ;LQMLDQJ DQG 8\JKXU LVsues have been of increasing salience LQ &KLQDÂśV GLSORPDF\ LQ &HQWUDO $VLD ,Q SDUWLFXODU WKH\ ZHUH LPSRUWDQW drivers of Chinaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s efforts in estabOLVKLQJ WKH Âľ6KDQJKDL )LYHÂś JURXSLQJ of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, KyrJ\]VWDQ DQG 7DMLNLVWDQ LQ  DQG the evolution of this grouping into the 6&2LQ&KLQDKDVXVHGLWVJURZing strategic and economic weight in Central Asia to persuade the governments of the Central Asian states, both bilaterally and multilaterally through

WKH 6&2 WR VXSSRUW LWV SRVLWLRQ RQ ;LQMLDQJDQGWKH8\JKXULVVXH+RZever, the growth of Chinese power DQGLQĂ&#x20AC;XHQFHLQ&HQWUDO$VLDKDVDOVR been coupled with an increasingly ambivalent and even negative perception of China amongst the public of the various Central Asian states and this has been reinforced by the recent unUHVW LQ ;LQMLDQJ 7KXV %HLMLQJ IDFHV a contradiction between its growLQJ LQĂ&#x20AC;XHQFH ZLWK WKH JRYHUQPHQWV of Central Asia and the simultaneous tarnishing of its image in the wider SRSXODWLRQRIWKHUHJLRQ While a number of geopolitical changes in the international system over the past three decades have contributed to internationalisation of the Uyghur issue, it has arguably EHHQ %HLMLQJÂśV RZQ DSSURDFK WR ;LQMLDQJ GRPHVWLFDOO\ DQG LWV KDQGOLQJ of the Uyghur issue in its diplomacy, that have contributed to the internaWLRQDOLVDWLRQ RI WKH LVVXH ,Q SDUWLFXlar, Chinaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s portrayal of Uyghurs as ÂľWHUURULVWVÂś VLQFH WKH DWWDFNV RI  and the demonising of Rebiya Kadeer in more recent times have resulted in the generation of a much higher inWHUQDWLRQDOSURÂżOHIRUWKH8\JKXUDQG ;LQMLDQJLVVXHVÂ&#x2030;

Shagun Sharma is doctoral candidate at Center for East Asian Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi

March-April 2015 Â&#x192; India-China Chronicle |47|

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