“Is There a Massacre in Eastern Turkistan? What is happening in Xinjiang-Uyghur?
As you know, there are lots of photos circulating especially on social media, claimed to be taken during an on-going massacre against Uyghur Turks. Usually these photos are leaked without mentioning a proper source. In other words, it is impossible to prove the authenticity of these photos in a medium like social media where false information spreads easily.
Firstly lets point out this: Fake photography doesn’t indicate that everything is smooth in China. There are 56 different ethnic groups living in China where neo-liberal practices increase gradually. Besides the capitalist pressure with intense exploitation, we also witness the oppression of these ethnic groups. Within these, Uyghurs hold a special place with Tibetians. Uyghur region was conquered by Chinese Empire in the second half of 19th century. Since then, policy of sinification was carried out step by step in the region. Because of this policy, local native Uyghur population have became minority. The oppression of Uyghur turks lead to other tragedies. Uyghur opposition fell into the hands of religious fanatics and USA.
Desperate times call for desperate measures. USA’s only goal is to hit its rival, China , below the belt. However, the Uyghur Turks suffers the most in this war. Things are not that bright for the Turkey as well. Religious and fascist organizations abuses the misery of Uyghur people to create an action for themselves. The latest false news are part of this abusement. However, neither religious radicals nor USA is in favor of the Uyghur people. It is clear that the only way out for them is to unite with the Chinese working class against exploitation. Instead of hating the Han Chinese because of the oppression and assimilation, Uyghurs should unite with workers and the peasants with whom they share the same fate. Apparently, if there is future for the Uyghurs, it doesn’t lie in the hands of USA or Salafi’s. They should look for this future in a socialist revolution and internationalism.
Result of Neo-Liberal Policies: Etnic Hatred Instead of Class Solidarity!
In China where neo-liberal policies are implemented excessively ethnic hatred can increase from time to time. The most recent example of this hatred happened in 2009. As it can be remembered, through the conflict in the Xinjiang-Uyghur Autonomous Region between the Hans (which constitute 20% of world population and 92% of China) and Uyghurs, 200 poeple died and nearly 1721 people were wounded. The allegation that 2 Han female workers working in a toy factory being raped by Uyghur workers marked the starting point of these incidents. Although the allegation has never been proved, it was enough to ignite the wick of the conflict. The events increased as the Chinese police treated fiercely the people on streets. Some of them have lost their lives by the deliberate fire of the Chinese police.
What was the real reason behind the conflicts in 2009? In fact, they were the result of the accumulation. The Chinese policies based on the labor exploitation and inducing the ethnic hatred among working class, constituted the primary reason of the conflicts. This is because the extensive labor exploitation in China seriously increases the population transitivity. Chinese laborers migrate to different regions within the country or to Europe for better living conditions. These lines from Chinese Reality, a book of Deniz Tacku, reveal the extension of labor exploitation: “This is a corporate factory where in its 15 plants, 250 laborers work. They work nearly 50-54 hours in a week. Their monthly wages are around 1000 Yuan (100 Euro) and a certain part of this wage is determined by the working pace, quality and by the goods they produce. The legal 27-day allowance is switched with working hours. Most workers are immigrants or peasants. They come from rural regions, not from Pekin. There is an extensive domestic migration wave in China that drags millions of people from rural regions to cities to find jobs. They live in the cities within the scope of a special right of establishment called Hukou. Their status resembles the status of immigrants in Germany whose asylum application is not acknowledged but allowed to live within the borders. In China one can only legally live in the birth place. If one leave the birth place without permission, he stays illegal wherever he goes. You can not send your children to school. You don’t have the right to vote in Communal People’s congress and you don’t have social secuirty. As a mobile/immigrant laborer you are highly dependent to your boss. Besides the deprivation of social rights, your wage right is also rests with your boss. Despite the citizenship, illegal people don’t have any rights.
This is the situation in China. We should evaluate the root cause of the 2009 Urumqi conflicts in this context. Immigrant laborers from Uyghur were angry to the local Han laborers. They wanted to have same rights and status as the Han laborers. Chinese government, let alone preventing this hatred, didn’t even made any imrpovements for the status of immigrant laborers. This attitude fueled the slaughter between the two ethnic groups. As a result, while the labor exploitation went on intensely in China, working class seperated on the basis of ethnicity.
Events in 2009 showed that the working class turned against each other and the Chinese government did nothing but used police force as a precaution. In ‘employers’ heaven’ China, working class experienced the real hell.
What Happened Recently?
This is the situation in China. Now let’s analyze the recent events. Is there a massacre against Uyghurs in China? In fact, a similar manipulation was made in 2009. Fake provocative photos were leaked to the press via World Uyghur Congress. Most of the photographs were suspicious. Photos were leaked to social media without mentioning a source. They were spreading easily while increasing the ethnic hatred.
So, what kind of an organization is World Uyghur Congress? Its founding declaration states that the main cause of the organization is to protect the rights of all Uyghurs living in the Xinjiang-Uyghur Autuonomous region and in other places. However, this organization manifested nothing for the Uyghur laborers crushed under exploitation. For the most part, the organization critisized the assimilation politics of China against Uyghurs and because of that it was oppressed by the Chinese government. As a result of this oppression, an outstanding member, Rabia Kadir, had to flee to USA. After Rabia Kadir’s escape to the USA, the organization’s discourse against China became rougher. Also, television programmes like ‘Voice of America’ were used as a tool to show the assimilation politics of China. At this point, we should again point out that there are malevolent approaches. After the banishment of Rabia Kadir from China, World Uyghur Congress’s provocative discourse and actions increased. The organization served such photos and videos that even they were suspicious, they fueled the ethnic hatred. Today, much more is being made than in 2009.
Photos of injured people in car accidents are served as the cruelty against Uyghurs. Or photos of people belonging to different religions are showed as muslim Uyghurs. For example, photographs related with the torments against the people who have the Falun Gong belief are served as the cruelty Uyghurs experience.
We should lay emphasis on that this provocative photographs arenot only served by World Uyghur Congress. Islamic Movement of Eastern Turkistan who are known to be related with Salafi organizations also serves photos like that.
Similar provocative photos served also in Turkey. For example, the photo on the right is said to be taken in Xinjiang-Uyghur region but actually it is taken in 1950’s in Southern Vietnam during the conservative government period. (On the photo it says: God save him! Our brother from Eastern Turkistan is executed by the cruel Chinese for fasting)
Finally, we should not ignore the fact that there is an ethnic hatred in China. Events in 2009 is the solid example of this hatred. In every place where capitalism reigns this barbarism will continue to happen. However, we should not forget that especially recently there are a lot of misinformation. News related with China and Uyghurs are mostly served from two opposite sides. News are either make a fuss that there is an ongoing massacre in Eastern Turkistan or try to make masses believe that China is innocent. The source and authenticity of information should be checkhed thoroughly.
Translation: Anıl Ersoy