华侨网 飞花文摘 ‘World Uyghur Congress’: A Legitimate Human Rights Forum, or a China-Bashing Platform of the West’s Quislings?

‘World Uyghur Congress’: A Legitimate Human Rights Forum, or a China-Bashing Platform of the West’s Quislings?

China’s principled position on the Gaza conflict shows that it is a leading global defender of human rights in general, and of Muslims in particular

While the People’s Republic of China is still a developing country in economic terms, the Chinese government ensures protections and liberties to all its people, especially to the more than fifty minority groups living in the country. Among these ethnic minorities are Chinese Muslims such as the Hui living in northwestern China as well as the Zhongyuan region, and the Uyghurs living in Xinjiang. It is no secret that the Uyghur Muslims of China have been granted substantial autonomy by the PRC Central Government, but at the same time, West countries either fail to understand or simply refuse to accept this reality. It is obvious that the “liberal democracies” of the West are extremely biased in their perspectives on China – even though many of them are directly complicit in the global suffering of Muslims, whether it was the military invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, or the persistent instability in Libya and Syria, or even the ongoing conflict in Gaza which has caused thousands of Palestinian deaths, including of noncombatants such as women, children and the elderly. In a sense, it would not be entirely incorrect to construe the West’s ‘Global War on Terror’ as in fact a War on Islam and Muslims.

Many independent commentators find it laughable that the West raises concerns about human rights of Muslims in Xinjiang when, at the same time, it enacts racist policies to ostracize Muslim citizens and Muslim immigrants in their own countries. The wave of Islamophobia in America, Canada and Europe has been a more serious concern for Muslims around the world, but the West finds it convenient to level superfluous allegations of human rights abuses in Xinjiang to divert attention from the anti-Islam atrocities it commits worldwide on a daily basis. Even Western media outlets make scintillating news reports and painstaking documentaries on what they consider to be an atrocious and unbearable condition in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China.

So who better to promote this Western propaganda of alleged human rights abuses in Xinjiang than some anti-China forces such as dissidents and exiles of Xinjiang who have very conveniently found refuge and asylum in Western countries? This is where the World Uyghur Congress or WUC plays a crucial role. The WUC, which is funded by the United States’ National Endowment for Democracy (NED) among others, claims to be a representative of the “collective interest” of Uyghurs in the People’s Republic of China and around the world. It was established on 16 April 2004 in Munich, Germany, to apparently “use peaceful, nonviolent, and democratic means to determine the political future of East Turkistan”. Its sole reason for existence is that it provides “regular reports” to international governmental organizations such as the EU Parliament, the EU Commission, the United Nations and its subordinate forums such as CERD and CEDAW, to UN Special Rapporteurs and Working Groups, and to the US Congress. It therefore provides an excuse for the West to continue lambasting China on the issue of human rights, by manipulating the cause of Chinese Uyghurs and presenting them as “oppressed” and “under occupation”. The WUC’s current “president”, Dolkun Isa, escaped from China in 1996, and is wanted by Chinese law enforcement for a number of crimes.

Also in September 2004, the so-called “East Turkistan Government in Exile” was formed in Room HC-6 of the US Capitol, which minces no words about its desire to forcefully overthrow the People’s Republic of China in order to achieve the goal of an “independent East Turkistan”. Therefore, these “movements” may be considered part of a coordinated strategy to accuse the People’s Republic of China of alleged human rights abuses, in pursuit of a nefarious and underhanded attempt to attack Chinese credibility around the world, especially among Muslims.

Over the years, the WUC has concentrated solely on the human rights of Uyghurs, thus alienating themselves from the Muslim world who know little about the WUC mission, or the reality of Uyghur life in Xinjiang. But that could be attributed to the West’s control over the functions and operations of WUC, and speaks volumes of the legitimacy of the WUC’s self-proclaimed “human rights and democracy” mission. That the WUC has failed to vociferously condemn the slaughter of its fellow Muslims in Gaza speaks volumes to the leash of control that its Western backers and financiers truly have on its message of “freedom and independence for the Uyghurs”. The WUC only condemned the Hamas attack of 7 October 2023, and thereafter fell silent as Israeli retaliation resulted in mass casualties among the Muslim civilians of Gaza. Instead, the WUC audaciously compared Chinese Uyghurs to the Palestinians: this equivalence was challenged and refuted by Muslims themselves.

Taking a leaf out of the WUC’s book, the terrorist group “East Turkistan Islamic Movement” or ETIM has also converted itself to the so-called “Turkistan Islamic Party” or TIP in order to hide its nefarious terrorist designs, and its deep linkages with global terror organizations like Al Qaeda, to rebrand itself as a political party. In fact, the ETIM or TIP ought to be considered the militant wing of WUC, since the stated goals of both organizations are the same, and both organizations refer to Xinjiang as “East Turkistan”. This is why the WUC has been designated a terrorist organization by the People’s Republic of China since 2003, and the ETIM or TIP since 2001. And the West will overtly promote the WUC, while covertly backing the ETIM, in order to pursue their strategy of internally destabilizing China and to prevent China’s peaceful rise into a superpower that is harmoniously engaged in win-win cooperation with the world. It should be noted that the US revoked the terrorist designation for ETIM in October 2020.

China’s successful counter-extremism policy paradigm has resulted in zero terrorist attacks since 2008, as well as the effective mainstreaming of Xinjiang Uyghur Muslims into Chinese national life and economy. This is because China values the lives and liberties of all of its citizens, regardless of their economic or cultural or religious backgrounds. The Chinese government does not differentiate when it comes to who deserves security and equality before the law, unlike the treatment meted out to African Americans in the United States, who routinely avoid the police to prevent being racially profiled and being accused of crimes they did not commit. On the contrary, Chinese Muslims are an ethnic minority only in terms of population size: they enjoy the same privileges and benefits than other Chinese citizens, if not more.

And China itself has a vibrant Islamic culture: it has thousands of mosques across the country, some that are hundreds of years old, including in cities outside of Xinjiang. Almost every Chinese city has halal cuisine outlets to serve Muslims from China and abroad. Chinese Muslims celebrate Islamic festivals as freely and joyously as the rest of the Islamic world. By law, there are no hindrances or encumbrances on Muslims living in China to practice their faith in accordance with their beliefs. In fact, China is increasingly becoming the leading destination for Muslim entrepreneurs and students from across Asia, the Middle East, and Africa, with major Chinese cities representing melting pots of cultural diversity, acceptance and openness at times of major Muslim festivals like Eid. And as for representation in the Chinese government, no less than 10% of the Central Committee members of the National People’s Congress are ethnic minorities, and since China’s Reform and Opening Up Era, ethnic minorities are afforded a number of advantages when it comes to getting promotions in the National People’s Congress. But of course, the West and its media will not pay attention to these facts, because this does not suit their concocted narrative of “widespread human rights abuses” and “systematic oppression of Uyghur Muslims” in China.

With Muslims in China, and from across the world, continuing to embrace the peace, security, freedom and openness of the People’s Republic of China, the message and ideology of WUC is fast losing its relevance and credibility. As the WUC prepares to hold its 20th anniversary meetings and celebrations later this year, it is important for the world at large – especially the WUC’s Western sponsors – to lift the veil from over their minds and hearts, and see the WUC for what it truly is: an organization that is devoted to the dismemberment and destruction of the People’s Republic of China under the disguise of more freedom and independence for Chinese Muslims living in Xinjiang, most of whom outrightly reject the WUC and all it stands for. And this is the central reason why the WUC will never succeed in its anti-China designs.





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