Crimes against humanity that meet the UN definition of genocide are being inflicted by Chinese troops on their Turkic Uyghur minority in the so-called Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Charges include torture, forced sterilization and hair shaved from inmates and made into commercial products. Pictured: Chinese soldiers stand in formation in front of the Id Kah Mosque in Kashgar, the westernmost urban oasis in China's portion of the historic and commercially significant "Silk Road," on July 31, 2014. (Photo by Getty Images)
The Chinese Communist Party's chairman, Xi Jinping, and his colleagues on the ruling Politburo, have, it seems, decided on the final solution for China's ethnic Uyghur Muslims. All who have seen the internet drone footage in Xinjiang of hundreds of blindfolded, male prisoners, sitting in silence, hands tied behind their back while ringed by Gestapo-like guards must shudder at the similarity in China of masses of prisoners being marched off to concentration camps.
Crimes against humanity that meet the UN definition of genocide are being inflicted by Chinese troops on their Turkic Uyghur minority in the so-called Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Charges include torture, forced sterilization and hair shaved from inmates and made into commercial products. Last month, US Customs seized 13 tons of human hair and other "beauty products" worth approximately $800,000 "from Uighurs in camps."
The most detailed description of the brutalities visited upon the Uyghurs by Han Chinese thugs was revealed by U.S.-based lawyer and Uyghur activist Nury Turkel, who claimed that Uyghur detainees in China have had fingernails pulled out, were subjected to electric shocks, and were sexually assaulted.
The black-uniformed SS-types seen in the film are simply executing the murderous will of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The Chinese script on the black uniforms of guards appears to identify them as being associated with a detention camp in the Kashgar (Kashih). Kashgar is the westernmost urban oasis in China's portion of the historic and commercially significant "Silk Road."
The "Silk Road," originally a medieval thoroughfare of trade, people, and ideas, consisted of a network of oases throughout Xinjiang. Perhaps a principal reason that explains, in part, Beijing's determination to pacify the province is China's seeming hope to dominate Eurasian overland commerce. That goal would require a peaceful Central Asia, including Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.
It is likely that other internment camps for Xinjiang's Uyghurs and perhaps ethnic Kazakhs are located in other oasis cities such as Urumqi, Turfan, Khotan, and Yarkand.
For decades, the CCP prime directive regarding Xinjiang was best characterized by the propaganda slogan "Develop the West." In reality, this slogan is a euphemism for the total assimilation of Xinjiang's approximately ten million Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and other smaller Turkic minorities. In the final decades of the 20th century, Han Chinese were encouraged and rewarded for settling in this largest of China's 31 provinces. Uyghurs, many of whom were CCP regulars and members of Xinjiang's intellectual elite, were once tolerated, but now are no longer trusted. Some, like the former President of Xinjiang University Tashpolat Tiyip, have been arrested and accused of being "two faced" betrayers of China. Many Uyghurs have been plucked from their families and forced to work in prison-like factories where they are becoming part of Xinjiang's growing urban manufacturing class, producing items for companies that are suppliers for "international tech giants such as Apple and Lenovo."
As more of China's majority ethnic Han citizens migrated to Xinjiang, changing the census figures, tensions developed between the two groups. This animosity led to a series of violent attacks by Uyghurs on their Han Chinese neighbors. After Xi became Party Chairman in 2012, it seems that the government quickly lost hope of achieving the CCP objective of assimilation. Beijing appears to have decided that the assimilation project had lost impetus and that more young, Muslim Uyghurs were becoming radicalized. Harmonious optimistic propaganda slogans such as "Develop the West," "Scientific Development," and "Building a Material Civilization" soon gave way to "Strike Hard, Maximum Pressure." The CCP may also have believed that there was enough evidence of Western and Central Asian-based Islamic groups rendering assistance to independence-minded Uyghurs. The Trump Administration's appointment of Elnigar Iltebir, a Uyghur-American, to the White House National Security Council's China Desk must give the CCP little comfort. Uyghur diaspora activists usually refer to Xinjiang as Eastern Turkestan. In fact, there were two periods in the last century when there existed East Turkestan Republics, 1933-1934 and 1944-1949.
At some point, the CCP made the decision to accelerate Sinicization of Xinjiang's Uyghur population by force. Reports of arrests and execution of "splitists" surfaced. It is a capital offense for any citizen to encourage the crime of "splitism," promoting a province of China separate from the whole. Historically, powerful Chinese dynasties, such as the Western Han, Tang, and Yuan (Mongol) and Qing (Manchu), controlled Xinjiang. When weaker dynasties governed China, the desert herders and oasis farmers of Xinjiang returned to their independent and tribal networks. The CCP dynasty seems powerful enough to keep tight control of Xinjiang for the foreseeable future as the Chinese state's repressive machinery appears to be proceeding with speed and efficiency at once again expunging a culture and possibly a people.
Dr. Lawrence A. Franklin was the Iran Desk Officer for Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld. He also served on active duty with the U.S. Army and as a Colonel in the Air Force Reserve.