Xinjiang region of Western China
The Chinese province of Xinjiang has recently become the site of an episode of violent terrorism. A suicide bombing has killed 39 Chinese people in a market place, and in addition, 29 were stabbed to death at a train station. The response of the Chinese government has been swift, with 113 people being sent to prison.
As the world watches China’s noble attempt to keep this violence from spreading, a question remains unanswered: Is the United States involved, this time?Currently, the United States is sponsoring terrorists all over the world. The violent insurgents in Syria, who behead, torture, and murder on a daily basis, are receiving US funding and support. These terrorists have bombed schools and hospitals. In addition, they actively recruit children as young as 11 and 12 to join their ranks. Despite these activities that fit any basic definition of “terrorism”, these terrorists, many of them being imported to Syria from other countries, are receiving direct US support.
The US is also supporting terrorists in Venezuela, who seek to remove the elected government led by the United Socialist Party (PSUV). The US is coddling the People’s Mujahadeen, a group violent extremists who seek to overthrow the Islamic Republic of Iran.
US funding of violent extremists takes place in order to destabilize, weaken, or overturn regimes that are not obedient servants of Washington. The US has sponsored terrorism in China for over fifty years. While this track record is largely unknown or unacknowledged in the US, the Chinese people know it very well....
This is the opening of Workers World Party leader Caleb Maupin's article "Terrorism in China: Is the US involved, this time?" published on the website New Eastern Outlook.
It might seem strange for a Marxist-Leninist defender of Sam Marcy, Kim Jong Un, Raphael Correa, Dilma Rousseff, and Nicholas Maduro to have their articles appear in such a venue. New Eastern Outlook is a bourgeois website that supports capitalist regimes in countries like Russia and Iran. But NEO can also be seen as a new and slick headquarters for what Workers World Party leaders call the "global class war." Hence its appeal as an outlet for Maupin.
What is "global class war"? It is a post-World War 2 ideological rationalization for Popular Front and social democratic middle class left politics in countries around the world. Its purpose was and is to deflect, disorient, and demobilize struggles for independent class political action by workers and farmers. Our class was led to countless defeats before and after World War 2 as a consequence of this treacherous politics.
Support for regimes and organizations that work to shut down political space for independent working class political action is the sine qua non of Popular Front and "global class warfare" politics.
In the fun-house mirror worldview promoted by these forces, it is not just the promotion of particular social democratic leaders as worthy of our trust. It is the deliberate support of governments in capitalist states like Iran and Russia, and in workers states like China and North Korea, that use cop methods to shut down workers struggles. They brand protests and militancy by workers as fascist cabals organized by NATO, the International Monetary Fund, the "neocon conspiracy" and the CIA. They then let loose their dogs of war.
One prop in this process is the punditry of left figures like Maupin, who seek to speak with authority in the name of communism. Across a variety of new and old media, Maupin brands supporters of Ukraine's national struggle as fascists, and confidently proclaims Bashar Assad's poison gas attacks against Damascus workers districts as a "false flag" provocation perpetrated by US-backed Muslim extremists.
No smear of workers and farmers is too outrageous when it comes to discrediting our struggles.
Maupin deliberately obscures the fact that workers and farmers, be they in the imperialist countries or the countries oppressed by imperialism, are the biggest enemies of imperialism.
The "terrorism crisis" in China
It is interesting to note that the terrorist campaign in Xinjiang, that has already resulted in scores of deaths, is reported to be led by Sunni muslim extremists. The US has funded Sunni Muslim extremists in Syria in an ongoing attempt to overthrow the Syrian Arab Republic. In addition, the US funded Sunni Muslim extremists in Libya to overthrow Gaddafi, and dismantle the top oil producer on the African continent. Currently, the US is indirectly funding the Sunni Muslim extremist ISIS organization in Iraq, through the proxy regime in Saudi Arabia.
The US has a long record of funding extremists and terrorists who seek to overthrow the Chinese Communist Party. The US is currently funding extremists of the same variety as in Syria and elsewhere, as those just arrested in China. The question before us now is: What role is the United States playing the current unrest in China?
Are the Anti-Chinese terrorists the same as the terrorists in Syria, Libya, and Iraq, and who are receiving the backing of Washington and London?
The deal for a natural gas pipeline between Russia and China is the latest event, in the gradual changing of the geo-political landscape. The US and European billionaires seek to have the world economy centered around them, and to have all the peoples and natural resources of Africa, Asia, and Latin America as theirs for the taking. The want no viable competitors, and they want scarcity of resources, in order to keep the prices high.
This kind of reductive obscurantism is deliberately dishonest. The abstraction called "terrorism " has been used by bourgeois political commentators to discredit every political action and organization of the working class since the French Revolution, and Maupin knows this all too well.
Who are the "Muslim extremists" Maupin insinuates are a bought-and-paid-for Fifth column of the CIA in Xinjiang province? Maupin refuses to name them. He refuses to apply the apparatus of scientific socialism to explain their motivations. His inexhaustible store super-historical abstractions and the-enemy-of-my-friend-is-a-terrorist justifications fall into line with the authors of books like Fighting Terrorism: How Democracies Can Defeat Domestic and International Terrorism.
In 2009 U.S. communist Cindy Jaquith did explore the question:
....Uighurs are an oppressed nationality in China and also exist in some Central Asian countries. There are large Uighur concentrations in China’s westernmost province, Xinjiang. They speak a Turkic language, written with Arabic script, and are predominately Muslim. Most Uighurs are farmers living in rural areas.
Following the fall of the Qing dynasty in China in 1911, there were several attempts to form independent Uighur republics. Uighurs fought for independence and in 1933-34 an Islamic Republic of East Turkistan existed. In 1944 Uighurs favoring independence, backed by the Soviet Union, established the Second East Turkistan Republic.
After the 1949 Chinese revolution, the Chinese Communist Party came to power and Beijing declared Xinjiang a Chinese province. It was later classified as an “autonomous region” in 1955. Although the Chinese constitution identifies Uighurs as an official ethnic group whose language and religious rights are protected, discrimination against Uighurs by employers, the government, cops, and the courts has persisted.
Uighur students began organizing in the 1980s as part of the rising struggles among youth in China for democratic rights and against corruption. In the 1990s small groups of Uighurs, including some favoring secession, carried out armed attacks on Chinese government targets.
The Beijing bureaucrats initially labeled Uighurs who oppose their policies “splitists,” although not all favored independence. Today dissidents are more likely to be branded “terrorists,” based on alleged ties between a Uighur organization called the East Turkistan Islamic Movement and al-Qaeda.
In the 1990s Beijing went on a major campaign to develop the resources of, which contains a third of the country’s oil and natural gas and 40 percent of its coal. This was part of the deepening evolution of the Stalinist regime’s course, from bureaucratic state ownership and planning, and forced collectivization, toward promoting privately owned capitalist enterprises and foreign investment....
Today Beijing forbids Uighurs from practicing their religion, and has outlawed fasting at Ramadan. In service to such affronts, Uighurs are forbidden even the right to be called Uighurs in Maupin's article.
Beijing's statements blaming Uighur terrorists for attacks this year in Xinjiang Province echo smears from 2009.
Again, Jaquith in 2009:
....The latest round of fighting was sparked by rumors that Uighurs were stabbing Hans with syringes filled with poison or HIV virus. On September 3, 10,000 Hans demonstrated in the city of Urumqi, the provincial capital, saying they were not getting police protection and demanding the firing of the provincial Communist Party chief. Five people were killed.
....Hans are the dominant nationality in China. But they are relative newcomers in Xinjiang Province, a traditional homeland of the Uighurs, a Turkic-speaking people who practice Islam.
Most Hans have migrated to Xinjiang in the last 50 years for jobs in the oil, natural gas, and coal industries and on state-run farms, where they are favored over Uighurs for employment. A similar migration of Hans to Lhasa, Tibet, has been encouraged by the Stalinist bureaucracy in Beijing with the aim of ensuring its control there.
In Urumqi, Hans now outnumber Uighurs by three to one. As Beijing has developed the western region, increasingly by capitalist methods over the last two decades, the inequality between Hans and Uighurs has become more glaring. Most Uighurs are farmers in the countryside. Their average “disposable income” is about one-third that of residents of Urumqi, who earn about $1,800 a year, according to Reuters.
The government has announced that 25 people are charged with syringe attacks. Police have threatened to impose the death penalty for those convicted, reported the Chinese news agency Xinhua. The report added that those who “deliberately concoct and spread false information” about needle stabbings risk five years in jail.
But many questions remain about what actually happened and to what degree the alleged needle incidents were political in nature. According to Xinhua, one of those arrested was a Uighur drug addict who allegedly fought off arrest with a syringe. Two others are accused of attempting to rob a taxi driver, threatening him with a needle.
“Days after reports of the attacks in the state media, credible evidence seems in short supply,” wrote the September 8 Toronto Star. “The government said more than 500 people claimed to have been attacked, but only 170 show any signs of injury.”
“Some of those who said they had been stabbed actually suffered from mosquito stings,” reported Xinhua.
....Beijing routinely accuses Uighurs who protest their oppression of having connections to a small Uighur organization called the East Turkistan Islamic Movement, which Beijing says has ties to al-Qaeda.
In June a rumor that Uighur factory workers in Guandong Province had raped a Han woman led to an attack by Han workers. Two Uighurs were killed. The rape story turned out to be false.
When Uighur students organized a march in Urumqi to condemn the factory killings it turned into several days of fighting between Hans and Uighurs, leaving at least 186 dead. More than two hundred people, mostly Uighurs, are awaiting trial on charges stemming from that incident.
More has surfaced on the programs begun in 2002 that send Uighurs from Xinjiang to factory jobs in Guandong Province and other industrial areas. Beijing presents these programs as a kind of affirmative action, promising Uighurs they will earn much more than they can farming in Xinjiang. The July 15 Washington Post reported that the program is not voluntary, however. In the villages around the city of Kashgar in Xinjiang, “residents said each family was forced to send at least one child to the program—or pay a hefty fine,” wrote reporter Ariana Eunjung Cha.
Cha interviewed Liu Guolin, the Han owner of a textile plant in Hebei Province that has been hiring Uighurs. The 143 women workers sent to his plant were accompanied by a cop from Xinjiang Province, who kept the women from praying in the factory or wearing headscarves. “Without the policeman, I assume they would have run away from the very beginning,” Liu said.
Meanwhile, Beijing has stepped up joint military exercises with Moscow supposedly aimed at “terrorists” in Central Asia.
US imperialism is trying to curb China's rising power. At the same time, both the U.S. and China continue their efforts to curb the growing militancy of workers and oppressed nationalities within their borders.
* * *
Uighurs once held at Guantanamo as terrorists
Maupin's course as an expert anti-terrorist is leading him to a convergence with bourgeois politics. Rationalizing China's oppression of the Uighurs by labelling Uighurs as Muslim terrorists is on a parallel track with Washington labelling its working class opponents terrorists as well. These actions all flow from use of national oppression to divide and disorient workers and farmers.
There is a concrete convergence today between Maupin, New Eastern Order, and Washington in smearing Uighurs as terrorists and Muslim extremists. Until 2013 Washington had Uighur "terrorists" imprisoned without charge in Guantanamo. They have now been dispatched by the U.S. to Albania. I'm sure Beijing appreciates this, and if Maupin is not careful, he will soon approve of it, too.
Anti-terrorists make strange bedfellows.