Terror in East Turkestan
One of the lesser known ethnic conflicts that is still ongoing is that of the Uighur people of East Turkestan. The Chinese occupation of East Turkistan began in 1949.
On August 27, 1949, a plane carrying the leadership of the Republic of East Turkestan was on its way to Beijing for talks with Mao Zedong. In circumstances that can be euphemistically called suspicious, the plane crashed, killing everyone on board. Upon hearing the news, Mao sent in the Communist military, and the occupation of East Turkestan began.
In the years since Uighurs have been brutally persecuted. Mosques have been razed to the ground. Political prisoners have been shot after show trials in which they are branded as terrorists. The Communists have sent wave upon wave of Han Chinese to East Turkestan to reduce the Uighur majority there. For nearly four decades, Communist China has conducted nuclear testing in East Turkestan. Most of these tests were conducted above ground, in open air, with no concern for those who would suffer from the nuclear fallout. Over 200,000 have died, and tens of thousands more have fallen ill with cancer.
The Chinese have followed the same tactics that they have used in Tibet, only Tibet has had a powerful spokesman in the person of the Dalai Lama. "Free Tibet" bumper stickers can be seen in the U.S. but never a "Free East Turkestan" bumper sticker.
In a cruelly ironic twist, the Chinese government has used the 9/11 attacks in the U.S. as an excuse for their terror in East Turkestan because the Uighurs are Moslems (just as the Russians have used the war on terror to win sympathy for their genocide against the Chechyans who are also Muslim.)
For over five decades, Communist China desperately tried to keep secret any evidence of resistance to the occupation in East Turkestan. On September 11, 2001, that all changed. While America licked its wounds, and the Uighur people loudly expressed their sympathy and support for the United States, Communist China saw an opportunity, an opportunity to smear an entire people for the regime’s benefit. Suddenly, resistance to Communism in East Turkestan was supposedly everywhere, and according to Beijing, all of it was tied to and supported by Osama bin Laden. Never mind that bin Laden himself never uttered one word about East Turkestan. Never mind that bin Laden himself was allowed to use Communist Chinese front companies on stock exchanges around the world to launder drug money for his terrorist operations. Never mind that Uighurs in this country and throughout the world have shown themselves to be the most pro-American Muslims on Earth.
Great powers are innately cynical and will use even the most horrendous of human tragedies to further their geopolitical goals.
Thanks to The China Letter for posting this article.