Wednesday May 25, 2022

‘US playing ‘Xinjiang Card’ against China, silent on Kashmir’

January 21, 2022

Islamabad : Minister for Human Rights Dr. Shireen Mazari said the United States playing ‘Xinjiang Card’ against China while silent on Kashmir and Palestine.

Pakistan-China Institute (PCI) organized a first-of-its-kind webinar on the ‘New Cold War? Playing the Xinjiang card against China" under its flagship event series, "Friends of Silk Road (FOSR)’. The Webinar was attended by over 35 participants online and featured six speeches, including Dr. Ejaz Akram, Chairman of the Rehmat ul Lil Alameen Authority, Dr. Shireen Mazari, Federal Minister for Human Rights, Professor Li Xiguang, Director of the Center for Pakistan Cultural and Communication at Tsinghua University, Allama Tahir Ashrafi, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Religious Affairs, Sabah Aslam, Founder and Executive Director of the Islamabad Institute of Conflict Resolution, and Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed, Chairman of the Senate Defence Committee and the Pakistan-China Institute.

The panelists discussed how the ‘Xinjiang card’ is used by the Western world, particularly the United States, to achieve their foreign policy objectives of pressuring China. The speakers stressed that laws such as the ‘Uyghur forced labor bill’, and other legislation and policies concerning Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Tibet, are part of a larger ‘China containment’ policy.

A brief video was played which discussed how the US took a politically-motivated decision to remove the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), which is recognized as a terror outfit by the United Nations, from its’ list of terror groups.

It discussed the double standards on the part of the US to demonize China, despite being at war in the Muslim world for a couple of decades. Federal Minister for Human Rights Dr. Shireen Mazari, while speaking in the webinar said that the United States is involved in starting a New Cold War with China, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, which requires greater international cooperation. She asserted that the United States has created laws, such as the Uyghur Forced Labour Prevention Act, to sanction China using the ‘Xinjiang card’. She questioned why the United States failed to take action against the genocide of innocent Kashmiris by the Indian occupation forces.

She asked why the US failed to speak out against the elimination of Palestinians from their homeland by the Israeli regime. She emphasized that the US is losing power internationally due to its imperialist approach. “It also created the military alliance, AUKUS, centred on countering China in the Asia-Pacific region,” she said.

She said efforts to combat China in South Asia include massive military hardware influx and military cooperation. Dr. Shireen Mazari said Pakistan faces a challenge of whether it will move towards economic prosperity, which is now a central norm of Pakistan’s National Security policy, or whether it will be sucked into the militarization being pushed by the United States.

She said the rational route is to support the opening up of the world through international trade via the Silk Route, BRI, and CPEC projects. Dr. Shireen Mazari concluded that Muslims have suffered the consequences of the US War on Terror and of militarization and they cannot afford to go down this route. Chairman Senate’s Defense Committee Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed stated that political and economic power in the world is shifting from the West to the East.

He agreed with Professor Jeffery Sachs who believes that the US has not been able to compete with China economically. He cited a study by Professor Graham Allison of Harvard University that China has displaced the US as the world’s biggest hi-tech manufacturer. He linked this with a recent report that China registered a growth of 8 percent in 2021, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

He highlighted that despite their opposition to the Belt and Road Initiative, the US launched its own copycat project, Built Back Better World. He cited an article by Leslie H. Gelb in The New York Times titled ‘Breaking China Apart’, which stated that the US will ‘kindle separatism in China’ if it doesn’t fall in line and discussed the approach of Demonizing, Damaging, and Destabilizing countries. He highlighted a July 2020 survey by the Ash Centre of Harvard University which found that over 90 percent Chinese support the Communist Party of China, since it has provided the Chinese people with stability, continuity, peace, and stability.

Senator Mushahid Hussain concluded that while the US is engaged in creating cleavages, conflict, and encouraging confrontation, Pakistan will continue to support China on its core national interests such as Xinjiang, Taiwan, Tibet, Hong Kong, South China Sea, and BRI. Special Aide to Prime Minister on Religious Harmony and the Middle East Hafiz Muhammad Tahir Ashrafi stated that bills or statements made by the United States regarding lack of religious freedom in Pakistan, China, and Saudi Arabia are baseless. He suggested that these statements are politically motivated, rather than fact-based.

Dr. Ejaz Akram stated that the issue of Xinjiang is a flashpoint, which is used by Western groups to rally certain parts of the Muslim world against China. Professor Li Xinguang discussed that the West fears the unity between the Confucian and Islamic Civilizations. Ms. Saba Aslam discussed that in international politics, the Western world, which has a colonial mindset, uses narratives and sanctions to demonize others.

Ambassador Masood Khalid commented that the West aims to release a domino effect in those regions of China, such as Xinjiang, which it perceives as vulnerable. Moreover, Gerald Mbanda from Rwanda presented the African perspective and the experience of Africa with colonialism. The dialogue was moderated by Mustafa Hyder Sayed, Executive Director of the Pakistan-China Institute. A diverse audience of students, scholars, and the media took an active part in this webinar.