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Uighurs Beleaguered

Asia tries a different approach to the problem that is Islam.

By Hobbes  |  December 9, 2018

The United States is far from the only nation that has problems with misbehaving Muslims.  The Madrid train and Bali nightclub bombers, the Mumbai and Bombay attackers, and the Achille Lauro cruise ship hijackers were Muslims - to but scratch the surface.

These problems, as infuriating as they are and as devastating to those involved in them, seem minor compared to the problems Muslims impose on the Soviet Union and on China.  Consider the Second Chechen War:

On 9 August 1999, Islamist fighters from Chechnya infiltrated Russia's Dagestan region, declaring it an independent state and calling for a jihad until "all unbelievers had been driven out". On 1 October, Russian troops entered Chechnya. The campaign ended the de facto independence of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria and restored Russian federal control over the territory. ...

The exact death toll from this conflict is unknown. Unofficial sources estimate a range from 25,000 to 50,000 dead or missing, mostly civilians in Chechnya. Russian casualties are over 5,200 (official Russian casualty figures) and are about 11,000 according to the Committee of Soldiers' Mothers.

We lost perhaps 2,996 people during the 9/11 attacks.  That's a bit over half the official Russian figure for the Chechen war and far less than the unofficial, but reasonably credible figure of 11,000 which comes from polling soldiers' relatives.

Mr. Putin, the President of Russia, got his start in public life as head of the KGB, much as President Bush I got his start as head of our CIA.  Mr. Putin's major claim to fame was earned by his handling their "spot of bother in Chechnya."  He is well aware of the potential of Islam both to cause great trouble and to serve as a useful enemy which can be used as an argument for cooperating with the government's efforts to protect citizens from attack.

President Putin's approach to the dangers of Islam may be brisk by Western standards, but at least it isn't ludicrous.  Knife-wielding savages whose motivations could not be discerned despite their shouts of "Allah!" recently murdered enough Londoners that London Mayor Sadiq Khan... announced a crackdown on knives:

"No excuses: there is never a reason to carry a knife," Khan tweeted. "Anyone who does will be caught, and they will feel the full force of the law."

No doubt it is but a coincidence that Mayor Khan is, himself, a Muslim.

The Yellow Man's Burden

Having spent the last few thousand years fighting off occasional barbarian hordes from the North and building the Great Wall to help keep them out, the Chinese are well aware of the negative potential of large foreign populations with incompatible beliefs - and, in Xinjiang in far northwestern China, they have just such a Muslim population.

Chinese officials agree with Mayor Khan about the necessity of restricting access to knives in areas which, like London, have significant Muslim populations.  By law, butcher knives and cleavers in restaurants and butcher shops in such high-risk areas must be chained to the wall to discourage forbidden use.  Smaller kitchen knives remain portable, but they must have the purchaser's ID burned into a QR code so they can be traced if necessary.

Being somewhat more accustomed to long-term thinking than Western politicians whose planning rarely extends beyond the next election, the Chinese have recently begun taking active measures to minimize the long-term Muslim threat to public order.  Reuters reports:

A United Nations panel has accused China of turning its far-flung western region of Xinjiang "into something that resembled a massive internment camp shrouded in secrecy, a 'no rights zone'." It estimates that there could be as many as one million Muslims who have been detained there. ...

Most of those who have been rounded up by the security forces are Uighurs, a Muslim ethnic minority that numbers some 10 million. Muslims from other ethnic groups, including Kazakhs, have also been detained.

China rejects the increasing chorus of accusation of abusing Muslims:

The facilities, it says, are vocational training centers that emphasize "rehabilitation and redemption" and are part of its efforts to combat terrorism and religious extremism[emphasis added]

Despite appearances and the lessons of history, these camps don't seem to be specifically a reaction either to the Chinese history of suffering invasion or from knowing about other nations' difficulties with Islam.  Instead, they seem to be a direct response to recent events in China itself:

They [Uighurs] have faced periodic crackdowns, which intensified after riots in the regional capital in Urumqi in 2009 killed nearly 200 people[emphasis added] ...

Bombings in Xinjiang and attacks allegedly carried out by Uighur separatists, including a mass stabbing in the city of Kunming in China's southwest in 2014 that killed 31 people, led to further restrictions. In recent years, under Chen Quanguo, the Communist Party secretary in Xinjiang and a loyalist of President Xi Jinping, measures against Uighurs have included a ban on "abnormal" beards for men and restrictions on religious pilgrimages to Mecca.

The Chinese don't want potential jihadis going abroad to be radicalized.  They aren't particularly concerned about Western criticism of what their critics call "concentration camps" and they call "re-education centers."  They describe calls to close their detention centers as "not factual" and "politically driven."

"If you do not say it's the best way, maybe it's the necessary way to deal with Islamic or religious extremism, because the West has failed in doing so," said Li Xiaojun, the director of publicity at the Bureau of Human Rights Affairs of the State Council Information Office.  [emphasis added]

In at least half their opinion, the Chinese are not alone: the New York Times reports that Hillary seems to agree with the Chinese view that "the West has failed in doing so".

Europe's leaders need to send a much stronger message that they will no longer offer "refuge and support" to migrants if they want to curb the right-wing populism spreading across the Continent, Hillary Clinton warned in an interview published Thursday.

"I admire the very generous and compassionate approaches that were taken particularly by leaders like Angela Merkel, but I think it is fair to say Europe has done its part, and must send a very clear message - 'we are not going to be able to continue provide refuge and support' - because if we don't deal with the migration issue it will continue to roil the body politic," she said.

Hillary's statement that immigration issues will "continue to roil the body politic" is a bit of an understatement given the reaction to thousands of illegals camped in Tijuana awaiting a chance to storm across our border.  At a minimum, Hillary is saying that refugee intake should be dramatically reduced and that some should be sent back.  Unlike the Chinese, however, her reason for limiting immigration is purely pragmatic, because admitting refugees makes voters unhappy and less inclined to vote for Democrats. She doesn't appear to see anything inherently wrong, dangerous, or unwise with sharing a national homeland with a large Muslim population.  The Chinese do.

The Chinese situation is a bit different because they aren't able to handle their problems by reducing Muslim inflow, as Europe partially could and the United States certainly can.  Their Uighurs were born in territory which China regards as part of China.  They can't export them anywhere and they know that the Uighurs won't accept Chinese laws or customs; all they can do is lock 'em up.

They can get away with that in their no-nonsense dictatorship, but is this really a sustainable solution for ever and ever?  It's not, which is why the Chinese are trying an approach never before tried with Islam: The goal is to entirely and permanently eliminate all vestiges of Muslim belief and practice by directly taking over the next generation.

A Final Solution, Without the Bloodshed

The Independent reports that children of detainees are being placed in orphanages even if the parents aren't, strictly speaking, dead:

"It's like my kids are in jail," Meripet said, her voice cracking. "My four children are separated from me and living like orphans." ...

"You have ethnic identity, Uighur identity in particular, being singled out as this kind of pathology."  [emphasis added]

The Chinese know quite well that persuading adult Muslims to stop talking about Islam in public, even if this could be effectively accomplished, is not a long-term solution if the parents are able to pass their ideas on to their children.

Separating children from their parents to keep them from learning their parents' customs and languages has been tried many times in the past.  American Indian, Canadian "indigenous tribes" and Australian aborigines were all subject to having children removed from their parents and put in government-run schools to civilize them.

This didn't work out very well, but then, the United States, Canada, and Australia were all Western democracies which, while imperfect, liked to view themselves as believing in the concept of universal human rights.  Their citizens were soon sickened by the inhumanity of separating children from their natural parents; the various Lost Generations didn't stay lost for long enough to totally lose their native heritage.  The Chinese, suffering under no such ethical restrictions, may be able to be more effective by virtue of being more thorough and coldbloodedly determined.

Have the Chinese found the secret sauce to eliminate undesirable pathologies in one generation?  It seems logical: if all children of Muslims are removed from their parents and brought up in non-Muslim households, Chinese Islam will die out in due time when the last Mohammad keels over from old age.

While this approach would rightly make any Westerner blanch, the various liberal groups which are criticizing the Chinese approach to containing Islam should look on the bright side.  By their own standards, the Chinese are being quite restrained in dealing with their Muslim problem.

They aren't using the solution the Egyptians decreed to solve the problem of their rapidly-increasing population of Hebrew slaves.  The Book of Genesis tells us that Pharaoh ordered the midwives to kill all male babies as soon as they were born.  The midwives wouldn't do it, and the population kept increasing.  Pharaoh's daughter tried the Chinese solution by taking the infant Moses into her home to raise him in an atmosphere of Egyptian values.

This attempt at cultural assimilation failed.  Moses reverted to Hebrew values when he grew up, murdered an Egyptian, and fled for his life.  After spending 40 years having his consciousness raised while keeping sheep on the back of beyond, he returned to Egypt and fomented a rebellion which resulted in the Egyptians driving the Hebrews out of the country.  What if the Chinese government shipped all the Uighurs over the border into Siberia and sealed up the Great Wall behind them?

Here's another alternative: the Chinese could fit Muslim women with IUDs to enforce a zero-child policy.  This isn't that much of a step beyond the one-child policy China spent decades brutally enforcing on its own people, through forced abortions, infanticide, and prison for those pregnant without permission.  This seemingly-obvious approach would bring about the desired result significantly faster, but for reasons unclear, the Chinese aren't choosing to do that either.

Their actual policy is tangible evidence that the Chinese are attempting a minimalist solution: it would cost the Chinese government vastly less to adopt the Genghis Khan approach to dealing with culture clash.  They could simply wipe out the Uighurs and be done with them.  Having killed more than 80 million Chinese during Mao's reign, getting rid of 10 million Uighurs would be simple by comparison and might also send a message to dissident Tibetans and Hong Kongers.

It's somewhat surprising that the modern Communist Chinese government has chosen not to take any of these paths.  They have adopted a kindler, gentler approach despite having practiced mass murder within living memory.  Can it be that the Communist Party is developing a conscience?  Or, perhaps, that the Chinese people are developing the first small drip of a bleeding heart?

This raises another startling question: two hundred years ago, Western cultures were far more willing to repress annoying minorities by any means necessary but they backed off.  Will China retain its hard heart long enough to get the job done?  Or will public opinion, domestic or international, cause them to stop?  The Economist reported that "at least 14 ambassadors from Western countries, led by Canada, have come together to confront China over its mass detentions of Muslims in the far-western region of Xinjiang, most of them ethnic Uighurs" - how much do they, or we, care, and how much does it matter?

Our Path Ahead

It's inconceivable for the moment that any modern Western nation would try anything this brutal... on Muslims.  That doesn't mean it's out of the question entirely: treating Christian beliefs and practices as pathological is a common theme of American liberals.  The difference is that the Chinese government has the power to lock up nonconformists while the American government can't do this, at least not without framing them on perjury charges.

Just before the 2016 election, Hillary made her opposition to the Christian way of life much more explicit and much more threatening than she ever had before.  Even the Washington Post regarded her ideas as a looming threat to religious liberty:

Speaking to the 2015 Women in the World Summit, Clinton declared that "deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed."

Religious beliefs have to be changed? This is perhaps the most radical statement against religious liberty ever uttered by someone seeking the presidency.

Hillary didn't say "have to change," she said "have to be changed."  By definition, this means using force against people who refuse to change their beliefs in favor of government-approved views.

We're sure the Chinese government would not only approve, they'd be happy to sell her the very latest in facial recognition, fingerprint apps, behavior analysis algorithms, and all the trappings of a high-tech surveillance state.  Maybe the far-left Amazon tech snowflakes, protesting against their employer's sales of surveillance software to Western governments, aren't thinking things through realistically?

To revert to reality, however, just what do we do with Islam?  There are roughly a billion Muslims worldwide.  Polls say that around a third of Muslims won't even condemn the 9-11 attacks; roughly the same do not oppose suicide bombings.

Geographic distances, which helped defend Europe from Muslim invasion from both ends during the Middle Ages, are of no use now.  European Muslims who don't care to assimilate can be radicalized via the Internet and their lone-wolf attacks are very hard to stop.  Although the Mayor of London has banned carrying knives, nobody is talking about banning trucks even though one man with a truck can kill a lot more people than one man with a knife.

In all seriousness, what can the world do about Islam?