(Column by Ghulam Osman, President of East Turkistan Government-in-Exile )
When European or Western nations colonized parts of Asia and Africa, some of them had a sense of justice and sympathized with the colonized natives. There was a clear difference in attitude between the dominant group representing their government and the ordinary masses. Some people felt ashamed of the colonial behavior of their government and tried to stop it as much as they could.
Since the political system of these countries was predominantly monarchies back then, instead of the symbolic monarchy nowadays, the implementation of the political will of the dominant minority occurred, despite the political views and expectations of the majority who opposed the invasion of other nations.
In 1939, the leader of Uyghurs, Mr Isa Yusuf Alptekin, went on a mission overseas to gather public opinions of Islamic countries for the then Nationalist Government in Nanjing. He came to India, where he saw that the Indian independence movement was on the rise and strong political parties could openly rally thousands of people to attend big gatherings and conferences. In one such conference, surprisingly, he saw many English people as organizers of the event. Surprised, he praised their conscientious and humanistic spirit while stating he thought it would be unbelievable to see a similar scene in the Chinese nation. Actually, whenever Alptekin mentioned Zhu Jiahua, the Minister of Communications for the Nationalist Government in Nanjing, he always praised Jiahua with gratitude saying “he is our friend and ally who understands our pain better than anybody else.” However, despite being a close friend for more than a half century, he never heard Jiahua say, “your case is genuine, but it is beyond my capacity to resolve” even for the sake of paying lip service.
Movies created in the West portray the atrocities committed against Indians, Africans, and others truthfully. Even the cruel punishment and painful death of some white people as traitors for showing sympathy towards locals and the colonized, is also portrayed truthfully. Reflecting on these topics through movies shows an acceptance of the consequences of their actions, and their sense of remorse and shame for committing those heinous acts.
When it comes to Han Chinese, they never admit the persecution and massacres that their ancestors inflicted upon colonized people. For them, they were the cruel rulers, suppressors, or an improper infrastructure to be overthrown, or an enemy to be eliminated. Therefore, all the resistance movements of the people against all governments were considered as rightful and just and were called people’s uprising against tyranny. But when the ethnic minority rose against Chinese rulers, it was categorized as wrong, unjust, and revisionary, unilaterally, and categorically being defined by the Chinese media as a “riot.” The action of the rulers, who cracked down on the uprising in a brutal way, was described as “suppression of a riot.” They are not ashamed of the double standard that they have created.
Throughout history there is not a single example of a Han Chinese, whether it is a noble or a garbage collector, showing sympathy towards an ethnic minority. A Uyghur and Han Chinese, for instance, can complain together about the Chinese regime or an oppressed person can express a grudge against the same regime with Han Chinese person. However, the basis of these complaints and grudges must be based on a principle of “three inseparables” to oppose the existing political system and government. If a Uyghur complainant expresses the goals of independence, the Chinese person, who has just opposed the same government, immediately takes side with their government, and refutes such goals, and even may turn this Uyghur person in to punish him.
We have borne witness to Han Chinese in the free world, in democratic countries, showing the same inherent colonial mindset. It is an observed fact that even if they can see the undistorted and uncensored evidence in the West, thanks to the availability of free information, they avoid the attitude that this land was occupied by their ancestors. Even Chinese dissidents pretending to be Chinese democrats do not hide their colonial mentality. It is evidence that Han Chinese, even in the West, lack a conscience and a sense of justice.
In movies about WW2, we can see some German soldiers showing sympathy for prisoners of war and even Jews, helping them out. Given these movies are made to criticize the inhumane policies of Nazis, we cannot help but imagine the possibility that there might have been more soldiers who helped detainees than was portrayed. Even some movies made by China about the anti-Japanese resistance show some Japanese who stand with Han Chinese and oppose their government’s inhumane policies against them.
However, in our entire colonial history, we have never heard of a Han Chinese who sympathized or felt sorry for Uyghurs or assisted them in any form. Even today, we have not heard of a Han Chinese helping or showing their heart-felt sympathy for Uyghurs locked up in camps worse than the camps created by Nazis during WW2. They have no sympathy for Uyghurs subjected to inhumane torture, Uyghur children being taken to somewhere unknown – separated indefinitely from their parents—or for poor Uyghurs who lose their inner organs forcibly on sedative tables as lucrative trade goods. There is no criticism of their government who send them into Uyghur families without a husband (who is absent due to being forced into a camp), as a “relative” as part of China’s “Pair Up and Become Family” program.
Some of the Han Chinese, who escaped from the suppression of communists to the free world, may have partially admitted the atrocities, to which Uyghurs are being subject. However, they will immediately become the devil’s advocate when the true extent of the inhumanity of these atrocities is exposed. Even those who sympathize with Uyghurs based on their apposition of the communist regime, paradoxically share the perspective with their ancestors that East Turkistan is not an occupied land. Furthermore, they are oversensitive to utilizing the name East Turkistan.
Living with Han Chinese in the same building and sharing a gate for thirty years, you never get along with them well at a deeper level. They become friendlier at a time when they want something from you. At other times, they show their excessive arrogance, without responding to your greetings. Still worse, there is no friendship, simple and not attached to any interests and strings, between Uyghurs and their Chinese colleagues and neighbors, no matter how long they have lived or worked together. They never interact with your children out of kindness, say nice words to them out of courtesy and carry them as a sign of care.
Then how can we compare them with Russians? As part of political unity, Russians were perceived as invaders and hence enemies, but as individuals they were, like others, ordinary human beings, with whom you could communicate and befriend, and who had feelings of love and hatred. However, even as individuals, the Han Chinese are racists, full of totalitarian colonial ambitions, and it is hard to form a close personal relationship with them, perhaps the reason China is implementing “Pair Up and Become Family” program.
In addition, some Russians learned the language of the locals out of admiration and curiosity and studied their culture. Whereas Han Chinese look down on Uyghurs, finding out their weak points to rule them more easily and effectively, with no genuine interest in either their language or in their culture. There are some faculties and departments at few universities in China for Han Chinese students to learn Uyghur literature. Those who studied there do not like speaking Uyghur, and some of them learn Uyghur in a clandestine way, as if they did a shameful thing, concealing the fact that they know the Uyghur language. This can be understood in two ways—either they disdain the Uyghur language from their guts, or they hide their proficiency of the Uyghur language to hide their identity as secret Chinese agents monitoring Uyghurs.
I came to Canada after having been subject to Chinese propaganda for over half a century, propagating that white people abuse black people. I was provided with accommodation by the Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada, where I saw to my surprise the white women were playing with children of refugees from Africa by putting them on their laps. You would not see this from a Chinese neighbor, colleague or even “friend” of 40 years. This scene also refuted the false communist propaganda that whites and blacks could only be equal under the rule of socialism.
To ignore the fundamental difference between Europeans and Westerners in comparison to Han Chinese in terms of their colonial mindset led not only us, but also the whole world in the wrong direction. It is important to understand the Chinese mindset prior to making any policies on China. Some politicians and political analysts have said that “The USA tries to only spread its culture all around the world, whereas China tries only to do the business with the world well with no intention to impose its culture upon others.” I was shocked to read these words. This is a dangerous mindset that will mislead people. Our life experiences refute it vehemently. China never reveals its true intentions until it is sure to rule everything. The USA may impose its own way of life and values of freedom and democracy upon others. However, China imposes only two options upon others—assimilation or elimination.
Around 2000s, China published a book entitled “National interest is above anything: observations and thoughts about the stability issue of Xinjiang (国家利益高于一切: 新疆稳定问题的观察与思考)” written by Ma Dazheng, endorsing what we have described above. In some parts of the book, the author expressed his shock over the way Uyghurs recognized Han Chinese as invaders, and he mentioned this as unacceptable slander. What is surprising to me is that they are surprised that we recognize them as invaders as if they did not invade our nation. For the Chinese, it is unthinkable for ethnic minorities to want independence under their rule.
For them, to be under Chinese rule is better than being independent, attempting to break away from their rule is foreign to their mind—it is almost a sign of a psychological disorder. Another “shocking” point expressed in this book was Uyghurs considering their fellow Uyghurs who sacrificed their life for the independence of East Turkistan as heroes, instead of hating them. For the Chinese, Uyghurs should have showed their hatred against these “rioters and enemies of the people!” as Han Chinese do. China is imposing this absurd and sick mindset upon the Uyghurs.