The Uyghur population of Xinjiang is among the largest and most oppressed minorities in China. In the latest series of events, the Chinese government has confiscated religious icons, books, holy mats that Uyghurs owned, banned passports, prohibited Uyghur cultural activities on account of being separatist, threatened families and forced international students to return to the home country. The Chinese government has also prevented journalists from giving attention to the plight of Uyghurs and discussing their predicaments. The state claims that terrorists from Middle East have settled in China and are responsible for the riots.
Nevertheless, China wants to join hands with USA in the war against terrorism. The US should refuse because China’s subjugation of Uyghurs is grounded in vested interests to expand military base, advance industrialization and become a world superpower. However, even if China employs draconian tactics to acquire international domination, the efforts are, at best futile.
The government has violated Uyghurs’ right to freedom by restricting their activities, repressing their identities and disallowing specific names to maintain social stability. In fact, Xinjiang’s struggle has been on-going since 1949 and conflicts have intensified. Uyghurs have fought for Independence since the 18th century. China took over the region during 18th century and regained it again after the Soviet collapse.
Events such as the independence of Soviet Republics in 1990’s, attack on police check-post in 2008 and knife attack on a train in 2014 have worsened hostilities in the region. Even though the state held East Turkestan Islamic Movement responsible for the attack, no evidence was found.
The government has taken away their privileges and restricted access to educational or job opportunities. When China claims that it is taking measures to combat terrorism, it is actually concealing the roots of Xinjiang ethnic conflict.
Furthermore, there are economic and political interests that explain China’s repressive policies towards Uyghurs. China is a major trading partner for Sudan and Iran. China has already invested billions in China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and now, One Belt One Road (OBOR). The Xinjiang province is rich in mineral resources, particularly gold and uranium and currently has 40% oil reserves of China.
The Chinese government is also expanding its energy projects in the step forward, for which the Hans have been taking over most of the government jobs and farmlands for development in wind, solar and nuclear energy. These factors explain the Chinese Communist Party’s control over Uyghurs to increase industrialization and maintain territorial powers.
Chinese government considers these investments as integral to foreign policies and diplomacy. The Uyghurs are marginalized because they do not converse in Chinese language, follow a different religion and have struggled against Chinese imperialism for years.
Nonetheless, there are economic factors that explain why China can’t be the next superpower. This is due to factors that Chinese financial industries do not yield high returns, the military is not as well-established as US military and economic growth has been slow due to its redundant policies. There are other countries that are growing at a faster rate, including Japan, Korea and Indonesia.