Civil Rights Groups and Pro-war Republicans–An unholy Alliance in the Soft War Against China

Last month, Mike Pompeo, amidst his soft war campaign to undermine the governments of Venezuela, Iran, and Lebanon, expressed concern for the ‘abhorrent’ allegations of Chinese Muslim internment.

Pompeo, currently working to destabilize a number of Global South nations and groups, did not suddenly develop a moral consciousness for the plight of Muslims. Rather, his words revealed inclinations by the Trump administration to continue its soft war campaign against any economic or political opponent.

The objective is evidently sanctions against China. This is reflected in recent legislation HR 649; The Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act, sponsored by Republican Chris Smith of New Jersey, aimed at sanctioning China over its “violation of human rights.”

The bill cites the testimonies of a number of individuals and mainstream media news staples Kairat Samarkan, Omir Bekali, and Mihrigul Tursun as evidence of concentration camp-like centers. Each of the unverified testimonies, stories of detainment, torture, indoctrination, and even death were characteristic-most to all taking place 2017 or after, and ending with a thematic call to US congress to ‘take action’ against the Chinese state.

These stories also coincide with media claims that muslims China have been put in concentration camps by the millions, indiscriminately detained, and even forced to drink alcohol and eat pork.

In August 2018, the Greyzone Project confirmed that UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) reported that Chinese “camp” allegations came from a special committee independent of the UN.

The claims, the investigation found, were based on unverified allegations by US-funded interest and China opposition groups. As the investigative report notes, large donations and grants by the NED contributed in part to funding the anti-China soft war. A simple search of “China” in the NED’s database reveals that the group spent $490,000 on grants aimed at “bolstering Chinese human rights activism” between 2014 and 2015.

Most of the allegations have been debunked, including unclaimed reports about detention camps, including the often sourced number of one million detained (a claim that would amount to 10% of the Uyghur population in China is detained).

Yet these stories have also provided the grounds for support of US trade war against China.

It’s no coincidence that the bill also commends the Uyghur language service of Radio Free Asia and Voice of Asia, NATO media agents and “Radio Free Europe” counterpart, as a source and an ally.

A host of organizations and special interest groups, financed and supported by Western think-tanks, foundations, and geopolitical interest groups, have manufactured the support and shaped the narrative that gives ample justification for more soft power, hardline strategies.

Many of the nations most prominent Muslim nonprofits, such as the Council for American Islamic Relations (CAIR), have departed from their usual rhetoric of condemnation against Pompeo, Trump to join the administration in economic warfare against China.

The organization and its chapters have joined Smith in pushing for H.R. 649, and petitioning to sanction China alongside imperialist organizations.

One advocacy organization–”Save the Uighurs” campaign, is one of many initiatives funded and backed by the Reagan-era formed soft power foundation the “National Endowment for Democracy” (NED), founded in 1983 by ex-CIA agents. The NED has been also active in funding and promoting other US-backed Uyghur groups in the US rehashing Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International allegations and testimony to bolster up public support for economic warfare against China. This includes 2004’s Uyghur Human Rights project, a DC based group whose director, Omer Kanat, was a former editor at Radio Free Europe.

More recently has been a shady organization, “SaveUghyrUSA”, formed just more recently. The new group was among those organizing and hosting an April 6 rally to “Save the Uyghurs” in Washington DC alongside the Uyghur Human Rights Project, where warhawk senator Marco Rubio, along with Smith and numerous other senators, were given the chance to issue statements in support of the campaign and of US action against China.

While geopolitical events over the years have resulted in increased scrutiny against the Xinjiang province, both years of US soft war strategies and the proliferation of separatist extremism encouraged by their allies have been largely omitted from these narratives–shaped around the usual sanctions driven soft war cocktail the State Department has served up against Venezuela, Syria, Iraq, and Iran.

Why Uyghurs

The Uyghurs, totalling about 11 million, inhabit the northwest province of Xinjiang. Another 10 million are part of the Hui denomination. Additionally, the Xinjiang province sits on a huge bed of mineral resources, an aspiration for the west that seeks to that is sought after to be an autonomous region of China.

The province holds the nation’s largest coal reserves and gas reserves that, according to 2014 estimates, are expected to generate over 35 million tons of crude oil by next year, a nearly 25% increase from 2012.

In proving a great asset to China’s economic needs, China’s harnessing of its resources have always challenged the imperial ambitions of the West.

With the province housing China’s energy needs, the US is increasingly threatened by China’s contestation of its own economic hegemony.

The import of petrodollar–coming from China’s largest oil importer, Saudi Arabia, have in the past cemented the Saudi alliance with Salafist and other separatist Muslim factions in China. Likewise Turkey, since the mid-90s, took on a natural and political alliance with the Uyghurs.

The effects took hold in Syria, where between 5,000 and 10,000 members of the Turkistan Islamic Party, a group active and represented by Uyghur separatism whose goal it is to establish a global caliphate beginning with Xinjiang, joined other extremist factions in Syria.

Smith’s top donor is Zionist interest group NORPAC, contributing $15,000 during the 2018 election cycle.

NORPAC is a political action committee (PAC) formed in 1982 that primarily aims to lobby congress members to strengthen the US-Israel relationship and lobbies in support of sanctions against Iran.

While geopolitical events over the years have resulted in increased scrutiny against the Xinjiang province, both years of US soft war strategies and the proliferation of separatist extremism encouraged by their allies have been largely omitted from these narratives–shaped around the usual sanctions driven soft war cocktail the State Department has served up against Venezuela, Syria, Iraq, and Iran.

Combined with the tied and true cold war era anti-Communist hysteria, the absurdity of appealing to the moral conscious of US warmongers such as Pompeo or Rubio in the service of human rights as they aggressively back the slaughter and repression of Palestinians and Yemenis reveals a grave misstep in logic and an encouragement of such propaganda. Moreover, it makes US Muslims pawns of the foreign policy objectives of a government that otherwise surveilling, enslaving, and engaging in warfare against them–domestically and globally.

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Julia Kassem is an organizer with USPCN Detroit.

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