Tuesday, October 20, 2015

A terrorist massacre in China?

I was disturbed to read a report in the Seattle Times that suggests China is covering up a terrorist attack there, with possible Muslim fundamentalist associations.

Armed with only knives, the assailants struck at the coal mine in the dead of night, first killing the security guards and then setting upon the miners as they slept in their dormitory beds. Before the Sept. 18 rampage was over, more than 50 people were dead, at least five of them police officers, and dozens more had been wounded, according to victims’ relatives and residents.

Most of the victims were Han Chinese who had been lured to this desolate corner of the far west Xinjiang region by the prospect of steady work and decent pay.

The wanted posters displayed later in Baicheng suggest the attackers were ethnic Uighurs, all of whom apparently escaped into the foothills of the Tianshan Mountains, not far from China’s border with Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan.

Even as Baicheng County remains in a state of siege, with an enormous manhunt under way, the Chinese news media have yet to report on the massacre, and local officials, when asked about it, have denied that it even took place.

. . .

Although much of the violence in Xinjiang goes unreported by the Chinese news media, the authorities often find it hard to conceal clashes with large death tolls, or those that provoke serious civil unrest.

Those include a clash in the nearby city of Kashgar in June that left as many as 28 people dead, and a protest near Aksu last year that followed the fatal shooting of a Uighur teenager, who was reportedly gunned down after he failed to stop at a police checkpoint.

The government invariably blames Muslim religious extremists for the violence, though analysts outside China say many attacks have little to do with jihadist ideology.

“The triggers are often locally embedded, whether it be reprisal for a woman who’s been publicly unveiled, and her family shamed, or people striking back after a relative has been detained by police,” said James Leibold, a professor of Asian studies at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia, who is an expert on Xinjiang.

There's more at the link.

The trouble is, the Uighur people have for centuries been Muslims.  The Chinese Communist Party crackdown on religion in any shape or form has affected them as much, if not more than, Christian individuals and churches in that country (see here for a recent example and a good background survey).  Many Christians compromised by attending State-approved churches, which de-emphasize any aspects of the Gospel that conflict with Communist Party ideology;  but Chinese Muslims have had little or nothing to do with any apostate version of their faith, and increasingly appear to be turning to violence to protest efforts to suppress it.

This is how you create terrorists:  by oppressing a people so much that they see no other option but to turn to violence.  It's how the USA created its own terrorist problem in Iraq.  By disbanding the Iraqi army and sending hundreds of thousands of officers and men back to their homes, jobless and penniless, we effectively provided a fertile recruiting ground for Al Qaeda to convert thousands of them into terrorists and supporters.  ISIS is merely picking up where Al Qaeda left off.  The Taliban generated their own opposition by cracking down on less fervently fundamentalist Muslims in Afghanistan, leading to widespread support for the American campaign that drove them out of power;  but the corruption and mendacity of the US-supported 'warlords' that replaced the Taliban eventually generated renewed support for the fundamentalists, leading to the dire situation we currently face in that country.

Let sleeping dogs lie.  It's ancient wisdom . . . yet it's still as true today as ever it was.



Anonymous said...

If history tells us anything it's that the Chinese Communist Party does not tolerate challenges to its authority and is quite willing to go to great lengths to root them out, killing millions and completely disrupting society to get rid of elements they don't want. They also seem quite willing to take as much time and violence as necessary to get rid of undesirables, sometimes replacing entire local populations with millions of ethnic Han. Have they changed? How will the current scenario work out this time? We'll see.

Mike said...

Let sleeping dogs lie. It's ancient wisdom . . . yet it's still as true today as ever it was.

Agreed. The busybody who imagines he has to make the world go around cannot imagine that his efforts may make things even worse, and the chaos in Iraq is one example.

I'm reminded of Richard Weaver's observation about the difference between the worldviews of the urban North and the agrarian South: "The Southerner accepts the irremediability of a certain amount of evil and tries to fence it around instead of trying to stamp it out and thereby spreading it. His is a classical acknowledgment of tragedy and of the limits of power."