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China's Deception On Terrorism

The terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001, brought with them a new strategic order that would change many balances in the world. The United States began a global war against international terrorism, which sees that country as its main target. Some countries, however, took advantage of that struggle and hoped to use it for their own ends. The most important of these was China.


China tried to portray the United States' reaction to terrorism as "a war against Muslims," and issued a message in October, 2001. That message said, in essence, that China wanted to "cooperate with the Western world against the Islamic terrorists in East Turkestan."

Yet that statement by China is a clear contradiction. The people of East Turkestan are waging an entirely justified struggle to protect their own values and culture, live according to their own religion, and speak their own language. For many years now, that struggle has been waged on a purely democratic platform, thanks to the good sense of the East Turkestan leaders. There may be individuals or groups in East Turkestan who are inclined to the use of violence, just as in any other society, but that does not change the fact that the struggle of East Turkestan is justified. The real terrorist force in the region is the Chinese regime, which is waging a long-term campaign of genocide against the innocent Muslims of East Turkestan.

Western commentators were not slow to express this fact. Former U.S. Senator Jesse Helms was one of these. An example is an article titled "Beware China's Ties to the Taliban" in the October 14, 2001, edition of The Washington Times, just after China's propaganda initiative. Helms had served for many years as Republican party senator for North Carolina, and had been a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. In his article, he described how deceptive China's move to gain the support of the United States and the West really was. He stated that there were close links between China and the Taliban regime, and that China was hostile both to Islam and to the West:

The second rationale for working with the Chinese is the weird assumption that China and the United States share a common interest in fighting terrorism. What a naive and dangerous fantasy. The fact is, the Communist Chinese government is in bed with every one of the terrorist and terrorist-supporting rogue regimes of the Middle East... Those who imagine that the U.S. shares common interests with the Chinese in combating terrorism most likely base their assumption on China's fight against supposed Uighur terrorism in Xinjiang Province, formerly known as East Turkestan. But there is an ugly catch to that:If the U.S. should end up receiving any kind of support from Beijing for our anti-terrorist efforts, it will almost certainly come at the price of acquiescing in China's crackdown on the Uighurs. That would be a moral calamity, for there is no justification in lumping the Uighurs with the murderous fanatics who demonstrably mean us harm. The Uighurs are engaged in a just struggle for freedom from Beijing's tyrannical rule, for the most part peacefully. For this, they have been viciously suppressed, with the Chinese government arresting and torturing political prisoners, destroying mosques and opening fire on peaceful demonstrations.

Strategically and morally, the United States cannot and must not assume that China is part of a solution to terrorism. Indeed, Communist China is a very large part of the problem.

As we have seen, Americans are aware of what is happening in Red China and of the terrible oppression of the Muslims of East Turkestan, and therefore regard China, not as a "part of a solution to terrorism," but as a part of terrorism itself.

That view has now come to be shared by many in the West. Various figures are warning of the need to be careful in the face of moves by certain countries that hope to take advantage of the US's fight against terrorism. In a November 5, 2001 article, Thomas Beal, one of the editors of The Asian Wall Street Journal stressed the following:

China's false indignation shows how it is exploiting world-wide revulsion at the attacks on America to justify a nearly 10-year crackdown on ethnic nationalism and religion in Xinjiang, whose Muslim Turkic Uighurs comprise half of the region's 18 million people. For backing, or at least not opposing, the U.S.-led campaign against Osama bin Laden, President Jiang Zemin hopes to milk greater sympathy from Western governments critical of China's human rights record.

The Bush administration must reject China's attempt to equate the attack on America with its separatist problem. It should not give support, tacit or otherwise, to China's abuses of Muslims in Xinjiang...

Later in the article, Beal turned to the Chinese regime's oppression of the people of East Turkestan, and stated that it was still going on. He concluded his article with these words:

... [T]he U.S. must not abet Beijing's abuses against the Uighurs, a people who know all too well why America is waging war on terrorism.

For its part, Turkey needs to keep these facts in mind in its relationship with China, and to use diplomatic channels to support the rightful struggle of its fellow Turks and co-religionists in East Turkestan.



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