According to a 2004 report by Human Rights Watch, Beijing’s Strike Hard campaigns, tasked with combating terror and dissent, have put down more than 12 rebellions in Xinjiang. While real numbers are hard to isolate, the death toll from 1997’s Ghulja Uprising, in the Xinjiang city the Han Chinese call Yining, is thought to be somewhere between hundreds and thousands. Post–September 11, despite evidence to the contrary, Beijing has managed to connect armed Uighur rebel groups to Al Qaeda, even though little evidence exists to support this conflation. One of those groups, the East Turkistan Independence Movement, has been blamed for this past Monday’s attack that killed 16 Chinese military police in Kashgar, an ancient city on the border of Xinjiang and Kyrgyzstan where China’s largest mosque exists uneasily with a 79-foot statue of Chairman Mao.
As it does with other minority groups throughout China, the CCP uses both so-called modernization efforts and environmental legislation in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region (IMAR) to colonize the natives. As part of the Ecological Migration Project (EMP), traditionally nomadic Mongolian herders are being relocated to cities and towns. The CCP claims it is in fact the Mongolians’ livestock grazing — not the rapid expansion of coal-fired power plants and full-scale Chinese industrial revolution — that is causing the massive expansion of the Gobi desert and the blinding sandstorms that now reach as far away as Japan. Because of the EMP, thousands of herders are losing their animals and homes. But don’t worry about the poor nomads — once they relocate, they are rewarded by the Chinese government’s fair-market value for their property and livestock, which is the equivalent of, er, $1100 US or, for those who decline the payment, a $550 US mud hut. In other words: jack shit. Plus, many of the urbanized Mongols are unable to function in a Han-dominated society that relies on Mandarin fluency.
As in Xinjiang, the Chinese have also encouraged Han migration to the IMAR. Since China’s annexation of the region in 1947, the Han-to-Mongol ratio has jumped from 1:5 to 6:1. A recent European Parliament resolution also detailed more extreme measures of population control, such as “sterilization and abortion by the Chinese authorities.”
That same resolution castigated Beijing’s treatment of Mongol political prisoners, including the singly named Hada, who heads the Southern Mongolian Democratic Alliance. After protesting the mass killings, destruction of the Mongol Religious system, and migration of Han Chinese, he was arrested in 1995 at his bookstore and charged with separatism and espionage (for Mongolia, of course). Despite international outcry, he is serving the remainder of his 15-year sentence in an IMAR prison.
In April 1999, 10 years after the Tiananmen Square massacre, 10,000 Falun Gong followers commemorated the protest that no one in China talks about anymore. Approximately 200 of its adherents were subsequently detained and beaten. Shortly after this, the government banned the group, labeled them as a cult, and accused them of “spreading fallacies, hoodwinking people, inciting and creating disturbances, and jeopardizing social stability.”
Since then, Beijing has classified Falun Gong as a threat to Chinese sovereignty and erected a Web site in its honor. Onwww.facts.org.cn (which makes subjective use of the word “facts”), users learn from the Chinese government how Falun Gong, which is also known as Falun Dafa, is an evil mind-controlling cult that, despite the claims of its founder, Li Hongzhi, cannot cure cancer through meditation. (Probably true dat on the last charge, comrades.)