Muslims should know whose interests Uygur separatists serve
By Md Enamul Hassan
People's Daily Online

A family spends time together in Bachu county, Kashgar prefecture, Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, on July 21, 2020. (Photo: Xinhua)

Western media outlets have long been abuzz with the stories of “human rights violations, mass incarceration of Uygur Muslims in concentration camps, and destruction of mosques and other Islamic sites” in northwest China’s Xinjiang. Many gullible Muslims around the world sometimes get upset when they hear the plight of their fellow Muslims in Xinjiang. In many cases, they express angry reactions against China in protest against those allegations.

However people, particularly Muslims, seem not to have the impartial narrative of what the actual situation prevailing in Xinjiang is. If they could have credible information and know the facts, their reactions would be different. It is imperative that they must know the full truth about what is happening in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. It is now a well-known fact that there are separatist elements operating there. Muslims, as such, need to understand whose interests the Uygur separatists are in reality serving.

The Uygurs have historically been living together with many other ethnic groups in Xinjiang. In the past, the Uygurs have never accused China of violating any of their rights or of any discrimination with respect to their religious identity. However, a group of Uygur Muslims in the recent past started a separatist movement to establish an independent East Turkestan in Xinjiang. Here it should be noted that never has Xinjiang been referred to as East Turkestan and there is no such state as East Turkestan in recorded history.

The Chinese government has been successful in bringing peace and stability in Xinjiang by employing a prudent policy against the separatists. China's policy of undertaking vast development and beefing up security in the region have earned massive and visible successes in curbing terrorism and separatism. As a result, in Xinjiang the last terrorist attack was committed in 2014, with the separatist movement in the region now under full control in China.

However, a number of separatists have continued their activities beyond the borders of China, especially in the United States (US) and its allies in the West. It appears that they are backed by the US and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), which is reportedly spending millions of US dollars to promote the separatist movement under the pretense of raising awareness of and advocating for Uygur human rights in Xinjiang.

According to its website, the NED has granted the World Uygur Congress (WUC) an international umbrella organization of exiled Uygur groups, and other organizations, about $3,000,000 from 2016 to 2019.

This kind of practice is a sheer violation of the non-interference principle of the International Law and the UN Charter, which prohibits any state to directly or indirectly interfere in the internal affairs of another state.

Many around the world are, therefore, very critical of the activities of the NED. The Russian government declared it to be an 'undesirable' NGO and banned its activities in Russia in 2015. Russia blamed the organization for funding the Euromaidan mass protests that forced out Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych from power in the same year.

The Chinese government also sanctioned the NED last year. The government asserted that the organization acted as a US intelligence front and funded separatist movements across China. The governments of Venezuela and Egypt have also objected to the activities of the NED in their countries.

Given the information, it's not unnatural to ask why the US is spending such a large amount of money in Xinjiang and whose interests are the separatists serving. Analysts think the superpower is investing the money for serving its own interests, due to the work of the separatists the US can make false allegations of Muslim persecution, violation of human rights against China.

Many are of the view that the US is using the separatists as its pawns, which helps it kill two birds with one stone. On one hand, through using the separatists, the US is first trying to destabilize and finally divide China. On the other hand, it is working to isolate the East Asian nation from Muslims around the world, under the pretense of Muslim persecution in Xinjiang, hoping to stall the rise of China and maintain its domination across the globe.

Muslims around the world should realize this fact and not support the Uygur separatists as the victims of Chinese oppression. They should be aware of the fact that the US has a long history of its involvement in destroying many achievements of Islamic civilization and killing millions of Muslims around the world. Muslims also need to be cautious so that no country can play with their sacred religious sentiment and divide the Muslim fraternity for its own interests.