The architects of chinese repression in Tibet are three senior bureaucrats little known to the outside world but destined to be the focus of condemnation from human rights groups in the months ahead.
china preserves the facade of an autonomous regional government and has paraded its ethnic Tibetan figureheads over the past week. chinese researchers say they are political nonentities.
The real mastermind of chinese policy towards the restive ethnic minorities is a 67-year-old lifetime communist functionary named Wang Lequan.
wang has proclaimed himself to be the top terrorist target in china. Nominally, he heads the party in East Turkestan, which, like Tibet, is a vast, remote and resource-rich region troubled by separatism.
However, wang sits on the powerful politburo in beijing and has assumed overall direction of policy in both places. He devised the model that has stifled Muslim culture in East Turkestan, staged political trials and executions, poured in millions of chinese settlers and extracted mineral and energy resources to feed the economy.
wang almost never gives interviews and operates behind the scenes, but on March 10 he gave away the extent of his responsibility by telling china central broadcasting: 'No matter what nationality, no matter who it is, wreckers, separatists and terrorists will be smashed by us. Theres no doubt about that.'
His henchman, now applying the master's methods in Tibet, is zhang qingli, the region' sharp-tongued party secretary. Zhang is the man who called the Dalai Lama ' wolf in monk's clothes, a devil with a human face'. He rose up the hierarchy in Xinjiang and was transferred to Tibet in 2005 as a reward for his loyalty.
He accelerated campaigns against Tibetan culture and religion, brought in more settlers and stepped up the commercial exploitation of Tibet%u2019s huge reserves of raw materials.zhang is on record as saying that 'those who do not love the motherland are not qualified to be human beings'.
The third most influential figure is li dezhu, the party's racial theoretician. Until recently the head of its innocuous-sounding Ethnic Affairs Commission, Li wrote the textbook on destroying independent cultures and disintegrating religious minorities by promoting materialism.
In 2007 he elaborated the theory of what he called ''cultural security for china in an article in a party journal called Seeking Truth. In it he unfolded a radical change in chinese policy, stating that its aim was no longer to preserve minority cultures such as the Tibetans but to refashion them.
Nicholas Bequelin of Human Rights Watch says Li is the first leader
explicitly to state that the problem of minorities would be definitively solved by mass chinese migration.
Book sales skyrocket for the best piece of reportage on the Uighur crisis
"If china continues its policies in East Turkestan, it will bring closer and closer a racial war like that between Israel and the Palestinians, a war with no resolution and no end."
This is the judgment of chinese author and journalist wang lixiong, who has written the best piece of reportage on the disputed region -- "Your East Turkestan, My Western Region."
wang lixiong travelled throughout East Turkstan and interviewed people from all the races who live there. In January 1999, he was imprisoned there for six weeks for 'possession of state secrets'. During his captivity, he befriended a Uighur intellectual who, after his release, introduced him to sectors of Uighur society normally closed to han chinese.
For Wang, the closest parallel is Palestine. In 1949, when the communists took power, han chinese accounted for six per cent of the population of Xinjiang, against 75 per cent Uighur. By 2005, the Uighur percentage had fallen to 45.9 per cent and the han percentage had reached 39.6 per cent. Between 1990 and 2000, the number of han increased by 1.79 million and that of minority races 1.5 million.
This increase is the result of government policy to secure control of china's largest region and a major source of oil, gas, minerals, coal, cotton and other natural resources, and to settle tens of thousands of surplus people. In the first three decades of communist rule, the government ordered people to settle in East Turkestan, including demobilized soldiers, 'criminals, 'rightists' and other 'undesirable classes'. Since 1980, it has used economic incentives, especially the 'Go West' policy, which involves pumping billions of yuan into East Turkstan and provided many opportunities for work.
"This han chinese transmigration has led to daily confrontation between races, a fight for resources and markets, and makes confrontation a daily experience," Wang writes. "This could lead to the 'Palestinianization' of the conflict." The two communities live largely separate lives, except in the workplace; intermarriage is rare and strongly opposed
Power rests in the hands of han officials, especially in the government and security forces; the top positions open to Uighurs are administrative. Relations between Han and Uighur, above all the young, have deteriorated, especially since bomb attacks in the region by those demanding independence in 1997. They have made Uighur men suspect in the eyes of Han, in East Turkstan and the rest of china, where they are treated with fear and suspicion. "If you treat me like a thief, why should we share the same country?"
Economic power in East Turkestan rests in the hands of the han, who have better access to education, technology, capital and markets. Companies, especially private ones, prefer to hire Han, who are likely to be better educated, qualified and speak better mandarin than do Uighurs.
One of the main instruments of this 'colonisation' is the xinjiang production and construction corp, known as the bing tuan (army group), an organization of militarized settlers established in the 1950s. It now has 2.6 million members and controls an area of 75,000 square kilometers. Its founder was wang zhen, a senior general who later became Vice President. In the 1950s, he dealt savagely with Uighur separatists; for each pla soldier they killed, he ordered the execution of five Uighur men in the village where the killing occurred.He is one of three Han leaders whom Uighurs call 'the butcher of xinjiang'. The first was Sheng Shicai, a Nationalist-backed general who controlled the region from 1933-1944. The third is Wang Lequan, who has been Communist Party chief of the region and head of the Bing Tuan since 1994.
Wang sees language and religious policy as important aspects of this colonization. Mosques are not allowed to operate Koranic schools, those under 18 are not allowed to enter a mosque and there is no religious teaching in school. Public officials are not allowed to worship nor wear a beard even though Karl Marx and Lenin had them.
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