Xinjiang is located in the Northwest of China. It is one of the largest administrative unit of China. Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region was an independent nation until China began occupying and colonising it in 1949. It is home to a number of ethnic groups, including the Uyghur, Han, Kazakhs, Tibetans, Hui, Tajiks, Kyrgyz, Mongols and Russians.
In this article, I will shed light on why Chinese government has imprisoned millions of Uyghur muslims in the name of “de-extremification”
Xinjiang has played pivotal role for Chinese economy. It is gateway for China to Central Asia. Xinjiang is near to Mongolia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India. China has found minerals, abundant oil and gas reserves in Xinjiang. Currently, it is China’s largest gas producing region.
China has strategic issues at stake in Xinjiang. Xinjing is a key route for Chinese commerce: The silk route. In the modern era, the importance of Silk route faded. Sea commerce became dominated in the world. Now China looks more and more to the seas for its economic lifelines. Therefore, China has given more emphasis on naval development. But the fact remains that seas are vast and U.S is patrolling them. It indicates that U.S has posed a threat to Chinese import and export market.
Chinese experts and strategists start focusing on the silk route again in order to preserve economic security. Now China doesn’t have to send oil and gas by ships. Instead, it is easily moved by pipelines to Central Asia. The Xinjing is gateway for Central Asia.
China has started building roads and pipelines in the last few decades in order to expand their market to Central Asia. Xinjiang offers low-cost trading opportunities that’s why China is heavily investing money in the linkages between Xinjiang and Central Asia. It serves as transit hub for China.
The question arises here about the fate of Uyghur Muslims?
The future of 10 million Uyghur million in China, is looking grim and bleak. Men and women have been sent to camps where they are indoctrinated and re-educated. Thousands of internment camps are set up where prisoners are compelled to renounce their faith and embrace the Chinese communist doctrine. In the month of Ramadan, fasting are banned. Muslims are being forced to eat pork. Those who disobey reportedly subject to torture, deprivation of food and water. The silence of Muslim world over the horrific treatment of Uyghur is shocking and surprising. The Rohingya genocide rightly attracted world’s attention. Why there has been little noise on behalf of Uyghur Muslims. Most Islamic countries Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Pakistan and Indonesia haven’t released notable public statements on the clampdown of Uyghur Muslims. The fact remains that China has invested billions of dollars in these countries. The Muslim countries fear economic retribution from China.
The Chinese policy in Xinjiang is completely wrong and incorrect as violence is not solution in fact it will exaggerate the problem. Torturing and discriminating people in pretext of “fighting extremism” will backfire Chinese policy and it will impact their economic security in the future. The better option for China is to win the hearts of people. The work is monumental but not impossible.
Penulis: Aqib Farooq Mir