Xinjiang is the leverage for China’s future strategic destabilization.
In fact, while we can see a shift of the US strategic interest from the Middle East to East Asia, we must also note that the United States use the tension between China and Japan, in addition to using the North Korean nuclear issue in its relations with China, to isolate the Middle Kingdom and force it into a new state of insecurity.
However, both the small Asian nations and China itself, have made this US project very difficult.
Obviously this great destabilization operation regards also Xinjiang.
China views the Muslim minority of “East Turkistan” as a possible base for two major strategic operations: the start of the splitting up of the Chinese territory with subsequent ethnic “rank-and-file rebellions” and the related penetration of enemy powers into the Chinese territory through these rebellions.
For Xinjiang the “end users” would be the United States but, above all, Turkey, which is a NATO member – albeit anomalous.
Obviously there would also be interests of the Islamic Central Asian countries.
Therefore, the Chinese reaction towards the internal “ethnic” and religious rebellions is particularly careful and it is a central point of China’s domestic policy.
It is worth recalling that China has 21 million Muslims, many of whom from the Ningxia region and the South-Western area of Yunnan.
The Islamist fire could be extremely dangerous for China.
President Xi Jinping has recently warned the Islamic Chinese against the danger of an illegal religious infiltration, but the penetration line is so broad that it is hard – if not impossible – to fully control it effectively.
Either the regular Islam is separated from the jihadist Islam, even within the same community of believers – and this also applies to the West – or China, but also the West, shall face huge threats.
It is exactly in this context that the Uyghur issue must be placed.
The new Silk Road, the axis of the new Chinese geopolitical and economic project, passes and is made safe through Xinjiang.
Currently, however, the Uyghur world is recording great upheavals.
And the political and religious pressures on it takes place both inside the Chinese Islam and from abroad.
In fact China accuses the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) and the organization which succeeded to it, namely the Turkestan Islamic Party, of having always been linked to the Afghan Taliban and the “Uzbekistan Islamic Movement”.
An internationalization of the Uyghur struggle capable of definitely pushing China into the most powerful arc of the Asian crisis.
We know all too well, however, that the internationalization of conflicts also has to do with the soft power and propaganda actions abroad, designed to saturate the value of China’s counter-information and carry out defamation against China.
This is the case of the World Uyghur Congress (WUC), which is based in Munich.
We cannot understand why the Federal Republic of Germany hosts this organization.
Is it blackmail and threat vis-à-vis China, also at commercial level? Or is it an act of friendship towards the great American ally?
Is it a use of the WUC for penetrating the Turkish workers networks and hence also the Uyghurs “hosted” by Germany?
All the options to which we have referred are equally valid.
The WUC is now led by a German citizen, Dolkun Isa, an Uyghur resident in Akesu, in the Keping district of Xinjiang, even though we do not know whether this is still the case.
Besides being WUC Secretary, he is also vice-President and co-founder of the East Turkestan Liberation Organization (ETLO), founded in Istanbul in 1996, although the organization has also offices in Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, the areas from which the anti-Chinese guerrilla warfare is supposed to be developed so as to slow down and then stop the “Silk Road”.
ETLO is explicitly an Islamist and fundamentalist organization and it is likely to have participated in terrorist operations jointly with similar groups outside China.
Furthermore ETLO has operated in China with terrorist attacks and other crimes, such as smuggling of weapons and explosions directed towards vulnerable targets of the Chinese power.
According to our sources, however, in October 2000 Dolkun Isa ordered two militants to build a training base in Nepal.
Once one of the two was arrested by the local police in the Himalayan kingdom, Isa sent a huge amount of funds to free the ETLO militant and his new comrades.
Immediately after the liberation, they fled to a Uyghur training camp which was already in South Asia.
Again on the basis of our sources, which we deem highly reliable, Isa made the two militants obtain political asylum in Yemen.
While Isa himself is constantly putting pressure on European countries and Germany, in particular, to accept as refugees ETLO militants or Uyghurs who are probably jihadist militants undercover.
It is always the very useful lesson of the Third International: the revolutionary armed group and the “humanitarian” network, which serves as cover and propaganda for the cause, are established at the same time.
Since the Vietnam war until the recent humanitarian crises, the West has not yet learnt this lesson.
However, with the US support, Isa is putting pressure on European nations to accept – again as refugees – the Uyghurs detained in the prison of Guantanamo.
Hence, if these data and information are fully reliable, the WUC dual role in Munich, both as a basis for propaganda and as an organizational hub, is clarified.
Moreover, the Turkish intelligence service (MIT) supports the military Uyghur insurgency also at local level – and Turkey is a NATO country.
Currently, however, the Atlantic Alliance seems to us an option à la carte.
In fact, Turkey wants to support its old Panturanic project and hence provides aid and support to all Turkmen communities from Anatolia up to Xinjiang.
Furthermore, Turkey does not want China’s expansion to Central Asia, which it believes it can hegemonize and dominate.
And this does not displease the United States, which view this Atlantic country’s activity as an attempt to “seal” China and possibly destabilize it, waiting for bringing the famous “democracy” there, namely a US-controlled government.
With specific reference to propaganda, some considerations are appropriate on the European supporters of the WUC Uyghurs, who think that China is always wrong, on the basis of the somehow fanciful theory of “human rights,” which can never be the basis of foreign policy.
As to “human rights”, even Western free countries may have some flaws.
Furthermore, the now remote Isis-Daesh successes could create an emulation attempt in Xinjiang, in particular, by trying to isolate the Chinese Islamic region there and creating a kind of pseudo-state, as precisely done by Al Baghdadi’s Caliphate.
Nevertheless Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey itself will not decide to take such an action, very similar to the one already organized in Syria precisely with Daesh, unless there is the express agreement of major Western powers.
The second version of the “Caliphate” in China shall avoid the geopolitical mistakes of the first version, so as to better work as a stable way to control the region of another country.
After all, both considering its strategic position and its resources, Xinjiang, which borders on eight countries, namely Russia, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India, is an essential asset for China.
Xinjiang accounts for 40% of China’s coal, 22% of oil and 20% of natural gas reserves.
There are 17 areas of oil and natural gas extraction in Xinjiang.
And in Karamai, besides oil, there is a large amount of coal, silver, copper, nitrates, gold and zinc.
Moreover, besides being an extraordinary deposit of raw materials and gold, Xinjiang is the necessary economic and energy passageway between mainland China and its coast.
The various pipelines already operating from or through Xinjiang are crucial to the activities along the coast and the Chinese government has already launched the project of the Central Asia Gas Pipeline, which crosses the various Central Asian countries up to Horgos, Xinjiang.
Hence vulnerable borders, but utmost strategic and economic importance for Xinjiang China.
Therefore these are the two primary factors to understand the Uyghur issue.
Said issue is the constant conceptual and polical reference for the Munich WUC, with Isa who has recently toured throughout Europe, particularly France (Paris) at the beginning of November and Italy (Milan) in mid-November.
Certainly this is propaganda, but also the management of a network which could prove to be useful, as a mechanism to put pressure on European governments if China were to further repress Uyghur militants.
And, hence, dangerously isolate China.
GIANCARLO ELIA VALORI
Honorable de l’Académie des Sciences de l’Institut de France