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China’s approach to its ethnic diaspora and neighborhood

In these interesting times, where China is the biggest advocate for globalism and the open market access concept, the biggest eyewash has been China’s domestic and foreign economic policy. Readers and government policymakers across the world can easily find a common narrative in sync with the old colonialist concept of ‘uplifting the downtrodden’. Even if it means using the most coarse and unacceptable means to browbeat their own ethnic or non-Han citizens, China, for all its claim as a rising superpower, will have to and will pay for the mistakes of its own thug-like (read Xi) policies trying to ensure that it sustains its economic and political clout at all costs.

 A great nation does not try to step on its minorities but uplifts and engages them willingly, on an equal footing with responsibly to achieve a sustainable growth. Else, as history has proved, it will fail either because of widespread resistance to the national cause or because of the surety of forced insurgency against a state that does not respect the minorities. The handling of China’s Uighurs in the so-called autonomous region of Xinxiang is a classic example where the actions of China Communist Party (CCP) minions will and is already propelling ethnic Uighurs to take up arms to protect their dignity, beliefs and natural resources.

Why is China handling the Uighur issue so immaturely?

Communist China is no different from erstwhile Imperial China. The oft-discussed ‘Middle Kingdom Complex’ has been carried on by the Communists, with the hope of regaining China’s so-called ‘lost glory’ and to rewrite the narrative on pre-Communist China’s ‘Century of Humiliation”. To them, Tibet and Xinxiang are not an integral part of mainland China but still the ‘Western Areas’ inhabited by barbarians, who are duty bound, to provide China with natural resources and raw materials for the benefit of the majority Han.

Why is China handling the Uighur issue so immaturely?

In other words, China is visibly but unconsciously considering itself as an Occupation Force in Tibet and Xinxiang, much like Imperial Japan treated Western China during the pre-World War II era.

They are not able to or are unwilling to understand the change of age, awareness levels of the common netizen or the concept of the global community. As a result, even their diplomatic rebuttals are resounding echoes of Imperial Japanese diplomatic retorts… coarse, shrill, extremely unsophisticated and desperate.

 China needs to realize that in spite of being having only selected gates for outside world access, it is increasingly leaving itself open to attacks from within. No human community, irrespective of region, will surrender their identity and dignity. Trying to suppress it will only increase their determination to defeat their suppressors even with meager resources. This is amply reflected in the rise of the East Turkestan movement and their increased connections to any help they can get including Al Qaeda and the politically powerful terror outfits rampant within China’s own all-weather ally, Pakistan.

This is a dangerous threat that cannot be ignored by both China and the global community because the downtrodden do not care whom they hurt in their fight for their very existence. They naturally become willing fodder for extremists in the hope of gaining recognition for their cause. No amount of forced ‘re-education’ in Chinese concentration camps will deter them. They are aware that unlike the Middle Ages, you can no longer wipe out their documented culture and rightful inheritance, thanks to the Internet and oriental scholars who are no longer limited to China.

The Only Way Forward

China, as a nation, needs to introspect. There is no longer a ‘Middle Kingdom’ nor are there any more barbarians. The actions were taken as a result of China’s domestic and foreign needs to be validated by the global fraternity. They may not like it but in reality, this is the only way forward for sustaining China’s image and reputation. China is a great civilization with some of the most brilliant and hardworking population in the world.

But ignoring this aspect will slowly eat up China from within and subsequently leave them open to inimical forces from without. Free the Uighurs, respect them and engage them as equals and include them as an integral aspect of Resurgent China. This will enable growth, national pride and sustained development in Xinxiang.

Similarly, China needs to discard their neo colonist foreign policy of “what is our is ours… what is yours, we are willing to discuss!”. This discriminatory approach backed by increasingly hegemonistic military growth (read the South China Sea and CPEC through Pakistan Occupied Kashmir) will backfire. If not now, then certainly at a time when China cannot afford it. Corrective policy decisions taken and executed now will propel China to the forefront of global powers where the world is looking for a guiding light. Else, it will remain a rogue in see-through gentlemen’s clothing!


14 Nov 18/Wednesday                                                             Written by Fahd Khan

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