Question: According to Al Jazeera.net 2/3/2017, there is news of large Chinese military build-up inside East Turkistan Xinjiang province in western China, according to the report: “The Chinese authorities have deployed, two days ago, more than ten thousand soldiers in the city of Urumqi in Xinjiang province, northwest of the country, which is inhabited by ethnic Muslim Uyghurs which has been experiencing rising tensions for years. The security forces organized a military display attended by dozens of tanks and armored cars, and coincided with a heavy helicopter hovering above. This was the largest military display of its kind in the region, which has seen during the current year three similar displays in the areas of Hotan, Kashgar, and Aksu.” So is China preparing for new massacres for this Muslim region? Thank you.
Answer: In order to unravel the details of the Chinese intentions it is preparing for Muslims in this region, we must look briefly at the background of the conflict between China and the Muslim Uyghurs in the region:
1- The conflict between China and the Muslims in this region is not new, especially since 1863, Eastern Turkistan which is at the furthest east of the Muslim countries, it has been subjected to campaigns of Chinese massacres, more than one million Uyghur Muslims died in the clashes that took place in the year 1949 when the Chinese Communist regime led by Mao Zedong took over and abolished the independence of the territory, and annexed it to the Republic of China, the region was emptied of its population Muslims and were distributed to the inner provinces in China. But Uyghur Muslims (of strong resolve) did not surrender to the Chinese, they erupted in revolution in 1933 and 1944, and the revolutions continue in the region against the uprisings Chinese occupation as it was in 2009.
2- Islam is the main reason for the intense hatred of the Chinese towards the Uyghur Muslims, mosques is where China spouts its venom against Islam, it has demolished an estimated 25 thousand mosque in 1949, and only about 500 mosques were left in this vast territory. Today, after China abandoned half of the communism in “economy,” but it still hunts down of any manifestations of religiousness, especially among young people, this has been the actual policy practiced by China in the region.
3- Because of the presence of natural resources, especially oil in the region, which China calls Xinjiang, i.e. the new colony, China proceeded to empty the territory of its population of Uyghurs and push them to the inland areas in China, and bring Chinese of the Hun ethnicity to settle in the region, until the Uyghurs today (10 million people) make up only 40% of its population, and their concentration increases in the south of the province and rural areas. The region is strongly characterized by poverty, especially in the south where there is a concentration of Muslims, as well as in the rural areas where there is less or no ethnic Hun Chinese.
4- In spite of all that, the vitality of Muslims continued in East Turkistan that enabled the return of the manifestations of Islam to life especially in the countryside, and unrest plaguing the region continued every now and then, and making it a territory distinguished by instability because of the bombings and acts of violence against the state and the fixed position of seeking secession from China, it became the weakest spot of the state from the inside. In contrast, China is watching the details of the lives of Uyghur Muslims, and prevent the media from monitoring the executions and arrests it carries out in the darkness forcibly on the region, and it tracks down the Uyghur Muslims who fled and have a voice outside, and under the pretext of “terrorism” it has been able to arrest many of them through international security channels, particularly from Central Asia countries and Pakistan.
5- And because Islam is alive in the hearts of Uyghurs, this have struck terror into the hearts of tyrants of China. China showed its fears, the biggest Chinese official for religious affairs, Wang Xuan, head of the Department of Religious Affairs in China, said to the National Conference of the Islamic Chinese League: (That the extremist ideology is infiltrating now to the « Interior regions. »the President Xi Jinping urged the Chinese Muslims to resist the religious illegal« infiltration »(Al Misry Al Youm, 29/11/2016, quoting the official newspaper China daily). This fear is confirmed in Russia today’s report, 1/3/ 2017: (China has repeatedly warned that extremist forces from abroad are behind the idea of carrying out terrorist operations in Xinjiang and other regions of the country, prompting authorities to launch harsh raids campaign.)
6- Due to the enthusiasm of Muslims that have emerged in the construction of thousands of mosques again in the region, and the spread of Islamic ideas, China started to bring back its “cultural revolution” to the region, and stresses in preventing the Islamic manifestations, and it prepares for a new terrorizing campaign of against Muslims, the manifestations of this campaign until now as follows:
A- withholding of passports: the BBC reported 24/11/2016: (Chinese authorities have asked all the citizens of Xinjiang, thw vast territory of the Muslim-majority located in the west of the country to surrender their passports to the police, … Stefan McDonnell the BBC correspondent in China said that the handing over of passports request was through the official announcement by the police on the Internet, and all citizens in Xinjiang must now surrender their passports, the police retain the passports in their possession. This means that from now all the citizens of the region must apply for a request if they want to travel!)
B- Harassing Muslims in their worships: France 24 reported on 6/6/2016: (the Chinese authorities issued a decree on Monday to prevent the public-sector employees and students from fasting during Ramadan in the Muslim Xinjiang region. Also it has imposed on restaurants to keep their doors open). A procedure that was practiced by the government since 2015, i24 news reported on 18/6/2015: (Chinese authorities prevented civilian employees, students and teachers in the Xinjiang region of fasting in the month of Ramadan … and that “restaurants will operate normally during the time of Ramadan.” Officials in Paul province were notified that, “during Ramadan they must not participate in fasting and other religious rites,” according to a report posted on the local government website after a meeting this week.)
C- The pursuit and arrest of anyone who shows Islamic manifestations: Under the headline “China is pursuing the Muslims…an approval of the financial reward for those who report the bearded and (face) veiled” Ad-Diyar newspaper website cited on 23/02/2017 from a local newspaper in China: (China has set a reward of thousand yuan (275 euros ) for the one who reports a bearded young man or veiled woman in Xinjiang province, located north-west of the country, and there is tension between the Chinese Huns and Uyghur Muslims., according to local daily newspaper “Hotan”, that the town of Hotan authorities, which have recently experienced political unrest, have allocated a fund worth 100 million yuan (13.7 million euros) to finance the rewards of “fighting terrorism.” It added that the rewards can be up to five million yuan, in the event of detection a plan of attack, or those who “hit or kills or injure or control the rioters”)
7- Due to all the things mentioned above, the Chinese crackdown campaign on the Uyghur Muslims in East “Xinjiang” Turkistan may be under preparation and processing, and that their implementation may be at any given moment, the justification China can use is that the region is witnessing a lot of violence against the state, and can invoke a massive campaign, after mobilizing in the region thousands of soldiers and armored vehicles, and armored cars and helicopters, (the Communist party secretary of Xinjiang, Chen Chuan Jo, said that the military deployment in the region is aimed at ensuring security and stabilization, after the recent strikes that took place in several areas during the current year). (Al Jazeera Net, 2/3/2017)
8- The painful fact is that these Chinese atrocities against the Uyghur Muslims are taking place under the eyes and ears of millions of Muslims in the world without them putting pressure in removing these atrocities, this is because millions of Muslims are scattered and are not unified together by the state, the state of the Ummah, the state of Islam, the absent righteous Khilafah (caliphate) that must every Muslim who is able must work to bring it back, and to find a Khalifah, the imam, who takes care of affairs rightfully who protects and is fought from behind him, as stated in Sahih Al-Bukhari from Abu Huraira may Allah be pleased with him that he said: the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: «وَإِنَّمَا الإِمَامُ جُنَّةٌ يُقَاتَلُ مِنْ وَرَائِهِ وَيُتَّقَى بِهِ» “Verily the Imam is but a shield who is fought from behind and is protected by” and then China and other than China will not dare to hurt a Muslim because it realizes that its aggression will be met with double in retaliation, Allah is strong and powerful.