Uyghur-Xinjiang Explained in Four Minutes

The extremely complex and controversial topic of Uyghurs in China is quickly demystified:

  1. The crux of the matter is about separatism
    • Some, not all, Uyghurs want their own country. They call it “Turkistan” (or “Turkestan”) and it will be composed of what is now the region/province of Xinjiang.
    • China obviously doesn’t want this to happen. Heck, has there been any country in world history that has tolerated separatism or secession?
  2. Separatist demands are not so reasonable
    • Uyghurs are 0.7% of China’s population. And the separatists want Xinjiang, which is four times the size of Germany or 16% of China’s land area!
    • Also, Uyghurs are only 40% of the population in Xinjiang. What happens to other ethnic people?
    • Uyghurs in urban areas like Urumqi are secular and they definitely don’t want to live in an Islamic state run by religious extremists.
  3. The US bombs Uyghurs, while demonizing China
    • There are many Uyghur terrorists in Afghanistan. Guess what the U.S. does to them? Bombs and kills them! And that’s better than China sending the jihadists to education and job-training programs???
    • BTW, the World Bank and 50+ Muslim countries have sent representatives to evaluate the re-education programs and are satisfied.
  4. Good Jihadists, Bad Jihadists
    • Uyghur jihadists in Afghanistan or Syria are bad when they threaten NATO/U.S. military. However, when these jihadists go back to China, they turn into freedom fighters or innocent victims. This is the western hypocrisy.
  5. U.S. role in creating Uyghur jihadists
    • In the 1980s, the U.S. recruited, funded, trained, and armed militants from all over the world to fight the USSR in Afghanistan. Not surprisingly, thousands of Uyghurs joined the Mujahideens, since Afghanistan shares a border with Xinjiang.
  6. Uyghur terrorism in China gets whitewashed by western media
    • Uyghur Mujahideens have carried out hundreds of terrorist attacks in China since 1990. These vary from small-scale knife attacks to massive riots and terrifying suicide bombings.
    • Tens of thousands of Uyghurs have gone to Syria and joined ISIS and Al Qaeda. They want to come back to China and destabilize the country.
    • However, the only current narrative in the West is that China, the big bad wolf, oppresses Uyghurs for no reason.
  7. China’s anti-terrorism methods are working
    • After 25 years of struggling, China went big and cracked down on Uyghur separatists and terrorists. The result is that there hasn’t been a terrorist attack since 2017.
  8. Combating jihadism is not easy
    • No country has found an easy solution to combat jihadism. From Muslim countries like Afghanistan and Syria to western countries, nobody has figured out how to change the minds of radicalized jihadists.
    • While China could do a better job with due process and transparency, the overall efforts are reasonable.
  9. Muslims and Islam are not oppressed in China
    • Xinjiang alone has 20,000+ mosques; and all major cities in China have large mosques, some built thousand years ago. There are also 20 million Hui Muslims in China, and they don’t feel oppressed. (See video at the end of this article).
    • The U.S. spent $6 trillion bombing Muslim countries and creating 50 million Muslim refugees over the last 20 years. And it’s crying crocodile tears for Uyghurs in China??
  10. Uyghurs are moderate Muslims
    • Uyghurs have traditionally followed Sufism, a very moderate version of Islam that’s totally different from Saudi Arabia’s Wahhabism.
    • Uyghur women wear beautiful colorful clothes, love dancing and singing, and don’t wear burqas. Uyghur tradition even includes mild alcoholic drinks (called Museles).
    • But if you watch the Uyghur separatist women, they are always covered up like the ultra-orthodox sects. That tells you who’s funding these radicals.
  11. China has helped Uyghurs prosper
    • Uyghur population has doubled in the last 40 years.
    • Xinjiang’s GDP has grown 10 times in the last 20 years.
    • China wants Uyghurs to be happy, prosperous, and loyal citizens.
  12. This is all about geopolitics
    • Xinjiang is a crucial part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative. Every month, more than 1,000 freight trains go through Xinjiang while transferring goods between China and Europe. Disrupting Xinjiang means disrupting Chinese economy.
    • The U.S. just wants to contain the rise of China and thus is waging hybrid wars. From stirring up internal chaos in Hong Kong and Xinjiang to external chaos via Taiwan and India and to stifling Chinese tech companies like Huawei and TikTok, America’s playbook is just ruthless geopolitics.

For more in-depth analysis of this matter, check out the the blog post Xinjiang and Uyghurs — What You’re Not Being Told.”

There’s also a blog post with a slideshow of Uyghur and Xinjiang.

And here’s the video of Chinese Muslims celebrating Eid Mubarak:

Dongguan Mosque in Qinghai Province, China. Eid celebration.