China: western regions’ growth is key to stability

Originally published by AFP , 08 July 2010

 BEIJING — China said Thursday that development in the country’s restive far western regions was key to nationwide stability, a year after deadly ethnic violence rocked Xinjiang.

 The impoverished west accounts for more than two thirds of China’s land mass and 18,000 kilometres (11,000 miles) of border, and has “complicated” religious problems, said a senior official from the top economic planning agency.

 “The entire country will not be stable if the western areas are not stable,” Du Ying, vice chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), told a news conference.

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A Year since Xinjiang Riots: Regional Consequences

Originally published by EURASIA REVIEW, 07 July 2010

By Avinash Godbole

5 July 2010 marked the first anniversary of the ethnic riots in Urumqi, capital of China’s Xinjiang province that is home to the minority Muslim ethnicity Uighurs. These riots had highlighted the disharmony in the People’s Republic, which has always projected the idea of harmony in every imaginable field. Therefore, the ethnic riot in which about two hundred people lost their lives was a big embarrassment for the leadership of China. Besides the domestic policy implications, the 2009 riots have had serious implications for China’s foreign relations in Asia.

Part of the Chinese strategy in Xinjiang is rapid economic development, which the leadership feels would become the driver of peace and stability in the region. This was clearly articulated in the White Paper on Xinjiang that came out after the riots of July 2009. At the same time, geographically Xinjiang is at a location that is critical for China’s relations with Central Asia and South Asia. These twin long term goals drive Chinese external policy in the region. Within this framework, there are two drivers behind China’s new proactive foreign policy in the region. One of the components of China’s expanding interest in the region has been its quest for energy security; the other is the linkages between the extremist elements in Xinjiang and the Pakistan based Taliban.

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Beijing set to pour in $100B on projects in western regions

Originally published by AFP, 07 July 2010

BEIJING — China has said it will invest more than $100 billion this year in 23 new infrastructure projects in impoverished western regions as part of efforts to boost domestic demand.

The plan was announced Monday after Premier Wen Jiabao said the Chinese economy was facing an “extremely complicated” situation and two purchasing manager surveys showed manufacturing activity had slowed in June.

The 682.2 billion yuan will be used to build railways, roads, airports, coal mines, nuclear power stations and electricity grids, the National Development and Reform Commission said on its Web site.

Construction will start this year to “actively expand domestic demand and promote the fast and healthy development of the western areas,” the top economic planning agency said.

The areas include the northwestern region of Xinjiang, Tibet, Inner Mongolia, Sichuan and Yunnan in the southwest.

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Sharing Is Forbidden

Originally published by Strategy page, 07 July 2010

 July 7, 2010: Officially, China will not criticize North Korea for having one of its subs torpedo a South Korean corvette four months ago. China, is, however, very unhappy about this sort of reckless behavior. So China recently allowed a magazine to publish (on paper and the web) an article agreeing with the widely held view that Russia and North Korea were responsible for starting the Korean war (when the north invaded the south) sixty years ago. For decades, it was communist doctrine that South Korea had invaded first. But Russian documents made public in the early 1990s revealed that Russia and North Korea had planned the war (which Russia ordered). As soon as the Chinese article got some media attention, the government officially recalled it, and insisted that this business about Russia and North Korea starting the war was all a lie. But the message to North Korea was clear. China’s patience with North Korea’s misbehavior was wearing out.

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Lost in the Muqam

Originally published by Aljazeera, 07 July 2010
By Camilla French
“Inside the Twelve Muqam are many myths and stories … the stories of the world are inside the Muqam, it’s not just white paper, it’s something mystical.” Mahmut Mehmet

The Muqam, a traditional form of Uighur music, are large-scale pieces consisting of instrumental sections, sung poetry, stories and dance.

The most famous Twelve Muqam, known as the “Mother of Uighur music,” consists of 360 different melodies and takes over 24 hours to play in full.

It was while studying in Beijing back in 2003 that I first heard local band The Tribesmen perform Uighur music to a small group of foreign students.

Who knew that years later I would be in China’s Northwest Xinjiang province, on the trail of one of the most well known tambur players in the region.

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«BQ» held a picket in front of the Chinese Embassy in Kiev

BIZIM QIRIM, 7 July 2010

July 5, 2010, members and supporters of the International NGO «BIZIM QIRIM» held a picket in front of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China to Ukraine.

The action was dedicated to the anniversary of the tragedy in Urumchi, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China. The members of the Picket expressed their indignation and protest against China’s official policy towards the Uyghur people.

The Meeting began at 11:00. Activists held over an hour posters with slogans “Stop massacring the Uyghur”, “Stop the repression,” “Freedom to political prisoners”, “Stop assimilating the Uyghur” and others. At the end of the picket the President of the NGO «BIZIM QIRIM» Abduraman Egiz handed an appeal letter to the Chinese Embassy addressed to the People’s Republic of China.

Thus, the Crimean youth expressed solidarity with the Uyghur people who just like Crimeans, for many years struggle for their rights.

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Is There Anybody Out There?

Originally published by The Huffington Post, 06 July 2010
By Elcin Poyrazlar

Once upon a time in a far away land there were beatings, arrests, extra judicial executions, murder and oppression. The story went on and on and the whole world kept quiet.

This land is called East Turkestan, also known as the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in China. But beware! If you utter the words “East Turkestan” there you might join the hundreds of Uyghurs who have disappeared. Apparently that’s what it is like to live in Xinjiang right now.

Rebiya Kadeer a political activist and the President of the World Uyghur Congress who is living in exile in the US, is rightfully upset about the worsening situation of Uyghur people, the Turkic Muslim minority in China.

Since the 5th of July last year when Chinese police violently cracked down on a peaceful Uyghur protest in the capital Urumchi with hundreds dead and thousands wounded, there has been no improvement for them but, instead, more oppression.

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China keeps a watchful eye on Uighurs

Originally published by,06 Julay 2010

BEIJING, July 6 (UPI) — Thousands of recently fitted surveillance cameras monitored the people of Urumqi as Chinese riot police checked shoppers’ bags on the anniversary of deadly ethnic riots.

The Beijing government has been careful to be ready for any incidents after nearly 200 people died last year in clashes that rocked Urumqi, the capital of the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region.

 More than 1,700 people were injured as riots stretched across several days starting July 5 in Urumqi, home to mostly Uighur Muslims as well as Han Chinese.

Around 8 million Uighur live in Xinjiang and many are unhappy about the large influx of Han Chinese settlers, whom the Uighurs say increasingly marginalize their interests and culture.

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