Literature becomes sabotage
Chinese authorities have not produced extensive evidence of specific activities carried out by what it has termed "terrorist forces" in Xinjiang over the past few years. Instead, Chinese authorities now argue that "separatist thought" is the new approach followed by dissident organizations that previously used violent tactics. This argument allows the authorities to accuse a dissenting writer or a non-violent group advocating minority rights of terrorist intentions and crimes.
The alleged link between terrorist organizations and the ideological content of publications surfaced immediately after September 11:"Xinjiang independence elements have changed their combat tactics since the September 11 incident," stated a high-ranking Xinjiang official. "They have focused on attacking China on the ideological front instead of using their former frequent practice of engaging in violent terrorist operations."19
The official charged that those using "literary means" and "arts and literature" to "distort historical facts" were the same people responsible for "violent terrorist operations" in the past. He accused them of "taking advantage of art and literature to tout the products of opposition to the people and to the masses and of advocating ethnic splittist thinking."
From Uighur leader condemns killing, cautions against crackdown, dated August 5, 2008:
The exiled leader of China's Uighur Muslims condemned Monday the reported killing of 16 policemen in a suspected terrorist attack in the country's Xinjiang region, but urged Beijing not to wage a crackdown on "peaceful Uighurs."
"We condemn all acts of violence," Rebiya Kadeer said in Washington, where she has been living in exile since 2005 after spending six years in a Beijing prison. "The Uighur people do not support acts that engender bloodshed."
In one of the deadliest reported assaults in China in years, at least 16 policemen were killed Monday in Kashgar, a city in Xinjiang region, the Xinhua news agency said, raising security fears four days before the Beijing Olympics.
Two attackers, aged 28 and 33, were arrested immediately, according to the news agency, which identified the men as members of the Muslim ethnic Uighur group.
Police in Kashgar, about 4,000 kilometres (2,500 miles) from Beijing, have imposed a security clampdown in the surrounding areas.
Kadeer's Uighur American Association said it was seeking independent accounts of the incident and urged the international community "to view Chinese government accounts regarding Uighur terrorist acts with caution, as government authorities consistently fail to provide evidence to back up their claims."
She urged the Chinese government "to refrain from using this incident to crack down further upon peaceful Uighurs."
The incident "will only serve to increase suppression of the Uighur people and exacerbate tensions between Uighurs and Han Chinese," she said.
Most of the population in Xinjiang, which borders Afghanistan and central Asia, are Muslim Turkic-speaking Uighurs, many of whom bridle at what they say has been 60 years of repressive communist Chinese rule.
Kadeer was jailed in 1999 for leaking "state secrets" to a US congressional delegation visiting Xinjiang. She was released in March 2005 and went into exile in the United States.
That condemnation of violence by Rebiya Kadeer (seated center in the photo below) is itself an act of terrorism, according to rules in place in China, as explained by Human Rights Watch.
The following quote, and the one that began this post, are from Devastating Blows: Religious Repression of Uighurs in Xinjiang, an April, 2005, Human Rights Watch report (pages 30-31 and page 19, respectively):
Policies Hidden from the Public
While white papers, the constitution, national legislation, and certain national and provincial policy statements are available to the public and reported in newspapers, there is a large and growing category of Chinese regulations and policies that the government and Party deliberately keep hidden.
Two specific regulations—revealed here for the first time—establish a draconian ban against unauthorized disclosure of information regarding almost any national minority or religious matter or policy, even if unrelated to national security. One regulation was jointly promulgated in 1995 by the State Secrets Protection Bureau (Guojia mimi baoshou ju 国家保密局) and the State Council Ethnic Affairs Commission. 61 The other regulation was promulgated at the same time by the State Secrets Protection Bureau and the State Administration of Religious Affairs (formerly the Religious Affairs Bureau).62 Salient information classified as state secrets includes:
1. government analyses of "situations and trends that seriously undermine ethnic relations as well as state unity and social instability caused by ethnic issues" must be classified as "top-secret," as must public security measures "drafted to counter the use of religion in political infiltration and serious illegal activities" or measures taken to manage public security incidents relating to ethnic affairs and religion;
2. draft works classified as "highly confidential" including policies and analyses prepared "in response to religious situations and trends," "important strategies, policies, and measures related to ethnic affairs work," and "proposals and measures drafted to handle ethnic conflicts";
3. foreign affairs matters such as "policies and measures drafted to counter major foreign affairs problems related to religious" and "measures in external propaganda work" that "need to be controlled internally."
The regulations also list matters that must be treated as "internal" (neibu 内部), that is not to be publicized or announced without authorization. These include most documents relating to religious and ethnic policies which would routinely be public information in other countries. Among them are drafts of religious laws and regulations; reports, opinions and suggestions by religious representatives regarding religious affairs; "analyses of developments with overseas religious organizations and their personnel"; "information and statistics unsuitable for the public regarding religious organizations, institutions and activities"; and the "content of state organ meetings unsuitable for the public."
While there is no criminal liability for disclosure of "internal" material, in practice many people in China have been sentenced for doing so because state secret laws allow authorities to classify material retrospectively. Some of the regulations and policies referred to in this report are treated as "internal" or are simply unavailable to the public.
In fact, it was under such a regulation that Rebiya Kadeer was imprisoned in China for several years, as narrated in the article above, until she was released and sent into exile.
Okay, so the government in Beijing is a bunch of oppressive communists -- we knew that.
And, Uighur leaders in exile in the United States publicly condemn the violence, whether terrorist attack or Communist Chinese response.
Who, then, are responsible for the terrorist acts, and what is their agenda?
Or, put another way...
Where's the rat?
Stay tuned to Stop Islamic Conquest as we explore this question in a series entitled The New Frontier!