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China, Counter-terrorism, and the Uighur’s

I wrote this back in Law School. Sadly, the Uighur’s are still facing many of the same issues. This should give you some background.

Table of Contents

I. Introduction

II. Brief History of the Uighurs and Their Early Treatment Under the PRC

III. Post Cultural Revolution Consequences and the PRC?s Treatment of the Uighurs After 1976

IV. Uighur Concerns

V. Eastern Turkistan Terrorism

VI. Treatment of the Uighurs After September 11th

VII. Terrorism, Separatism, and Extremism

VIII. The PRC?s General Skepticism of the U.S.?s Counterterrorism Policy

IX. U.S. Position on the PRC?s ?Eastern Turkistan Terrorist? Designations.

X. International Cooperation with the PRC?s Eastern Turkistan Terrorist Designations

XI. Conclusion

I. Introduction

September 11th, 2001 (September 11th) fundamentally changed the national security priorities of the United States (U.S.), quickly bringing terrorism to the top of the list.  As a result of either a demonstration of goodwill, or diplomatic pressure from the U.S., the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) began to prioritize its fight against terrorism as well.  The PRC?s definition of terrorism, however, was slightly more expansive than that of the U.S.  The PRC has continually linked terrorism with both separatism, and extremism.  This is central to why the PRC?s counterterrorism efforts against a number of Uighur organizations have been exceedingly controversial.  

The Uighur people have a long history of oppression under the PRC.  Although the PRC claims its counterterrorism efforts against Uighur separatists are merely for the purpose of keeping order, the ill-treatment of the entire Uighur population has accelerated post September 11th under the flag of counterterrorism.  

The PRC likely abused the post September 11th counterterrorism environment to further its own agenda against the Uighur people.  The PRC has also designated the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM) and other similar Uighur organizations as terrorist organizations, but it publicly targets all ?Eastern Turkistan Terrorists? in counterterrorism efforts. Also, the PRC identifies suspected Uighur terrorists as members of these organizations, often without sufficient evidence and procedure.   

Additionally, the designations of these Uighur organizations are highly disputed by the international community.  In regards to the U.S., it has confirmed these designations, but there is strong dissent within Congress.  Also, the U.S. State Department has an indecisive history on this issue. These objections have been displayed on the international stage in PRC dealings in South Asia, and with the U.S. and its allies.  

II. Brief History of the Uighurs and Their Early Treatment Under the PRC

The ETIM (East Turkistan Liberation Organization (ETLO)), the World Uyghur Youth Congress, and the East Turkistan Information Center are Uighur organizations that are centered on the creation of an independent Uighur Islamic state. These organizational objectives, and corresponding actions, have driven the PRC to designate these groups as terrorist organizations. To further understand both the PRC?s classifications of these organizations, and the organization?s objectives, it is important to understand some history of the Uighur people under the PRC.  

The Uighurs are a group of ethnically Turkish people who practice a mild form of Islam. The Uighurs are primarily located in Central Asia, which incorporates countries such as Russia, Kazakhstan, and northwestern China. Id.? The Uighurs refer to this region as ?East Turkistan.? Most of ?East Turkistan? was initially brought under Chinese control during the Qing dynasty. For a time, during the turbulent Chinese civil wars, the Uighurs enjoyed independence as the Republic of East Turkestan. Id. This was short lived, however, and the current occupation of this region by the PRC dates back to when the Communist Party of China established the PRC in

1949.? The PRC refers to this region as the ?Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region? (Xinjiang).? After the Chinese civil war, the Communist Party deployed People?s Liberation Army (PLA) troops to occupy Xinjiang. Xinjiang has been under PRC control ever since, and it makes up about one-sixth of the country.??

The treatment of the Uighurs by the PRC has been extraordinarily controversial, and often oppressive.? The first major account of the PRC?s oppressive policies against ethnic minorities was in 1957 as a result of the Anti Rightist Policy.? In order to enlist the cooperation of Chinese intellectuals to spawn economic growth, in 1957 Mao Zedong (Mao) formulated the ?Hundred Flowers Policy?, and allowed these intellectuals to vent their criticism of the first ten years of rule by the Communist Party.? Mao, however, underestimated the intellectual?s resolve.? These intellectuals began to sway public opinion against the Communist regime, so as a result, the ?anti-rightist movement? was enacted by the communist party in order to force a mass re-education of ?dissenters?.? Among the outspoken, were Uighur intellectuals who were calling for a greater role in the governance of Xinjiang.? In order to address these intellectuals a subsidiary movement spawned called the ?anti-local nationalist? movement. The mass re-education of ?dissenters? consisted of lost jobs, criminal punishment, executions, and hard

labor. An additional consequence of the ?anti-rightist movement? and Mao?s ?Great Leap Forward? in 1958, was a push for homogenization.? Ethnicity itself became the target, and the Uighur?s Islamic customs were considered an ?obstacle to progress? and often attacked. Id.?

 This attack on intellectuals, and cultural and ethnic autonomy, continued throughout the early 1960?s, but peaked during the Cultural Revolution from 1966-1976.  Continuing dissent (and numerous other economic, social, political, and international issues) drove Mao to try and restore order by forcefully quelling uprisings and dissenters.  This of course included intellectuals and different ethnic minority groups such as the Uighurs.  During the Cultural Revolution, thousands of Uighur intellectuals were imprisoned and killed (including those educated in the Soviet Union). Also; Uighur writings, the Koran, and Mosques were burnt; Muslim travel (including pilgrimages to Mecca) outside of the PRC was restricted; Imams were not allowed to be trained; and Muslims were generally forced into raising pigs. 

In the early days of the PRC, the Uighur people were treated as second class citizens and often persecuted.  It is precisely this treatment and the history of China?s rule over ?East Turkistan? that spawned a push for either separation from the PRC, or Autonomy under the PRC.  It is also these motivations that the PRC later cites in using questionable methods to bring order to Xinjiang.  

III. Post Cultural Revolution Consequences and the PRC?s Treatment of the Uighurs After 1976

After the Cultural Revolution (and Mao?s death in 1976), cultural and intellectual restrictions began to loosen, free market economic solutions were slowly implemented, and elements of the rule of law began to be embraced.  This is known as the Reform Era. During this time in Xinjiang, Mosques were reopened, pilgrimages to Mecca were again allowed, and Imams were once again permitted to be trained.  Although there was a lack of public polling and uncensored media, at least some citizens of Xinjiang began to buy into the government?s plan of a developed and modernized Xinjiang.  

This loyalty, however, was somewhat short lived, and dissent against the government among Uighurs began to grow in the late 1980?s.  This growing unrest resulted in a number of public demonstrations, and the formation of many of the prominent Uighur organizations.  In response, in 1998 National People Congress passed a Criminal Law that made ?counter-revolutionary? crimes ?crimes against the state?.  These ?crimes against the state? included actions involving ?ethnic discrimination? or ?stirring up anti-ethnic sentiment?.  The ambiguous language of these crimes allows for broad interpretation.  The law was enforced with severe crackdowns through long prison sentences and executions.  The scope of the enforcement, however, is difficult to quantitate due to the secrecy of the government’s actions.

IV. Uighur Concerns

The outspoken Uighur dissenters have presented a number of issues regarding the treatment of Uighurs in Xinjiang.  These issues included economic disadvantages, and human rights violations.  Below is a review of the validity of their concerns.  

Education ? The Cultural Revolution produced a less educated Uighur population.  This was the result of the execution of a large number of Uighur intellectuals, and language barriers to the Uighur people (Who speak a different language than the majority Han Chinese population).  In 1982, the illiteracy rate among Uighurs was 45%, and only 37% of Uighurs had attended primary school.  Since then, Uighur education has substantially improved.  As of 1990, only 26.6% of Uighurs were illiterate, and 43% had attended primary school.  Although these numbers are still staggering, this is a significant improvement within an eight year timeframe.  Considering the major setback back the Cultural Revolution was to the Uighur people, it appears that the late 1980?s dissatisfaction with Xinjiang Uighur education is slightly premature.  

Unemployment ? Unemployment and education in Xinjiang are linked.  Like the United States, High School and College graduates have a better chance of employment in China then do the undereducated.  The Cultural Revolution similarly affected unemployment, but like education it has seen significant improvement.  Today 8% of Uighurs in Xinjiang are unemployed, whereas 3.4% of Han Chinese in Xinjiang are unemployed.  In comparison, the U.S. Black unemployment rate was16.6% in August of 2011, and white unemployment rate was 8%.

One possible explanation for the PRC?s successes in the treatment of Uighurs in the areas of education and employment, could simply be a matter of priorities.  The PRC seems to put an emphasis on social and economic rights, rather than civil and political rights.  Although the issue of quality has not been reviewed here, these numbers tend to reflect this emphasis.  

Han Migration ? Much of the Uighurs economic frustrations come from the perceived advantages of the Han Chinese over the Uighurs in Xinjiang.  Since the beginning of the PRC, there has been a huge population influx of Han Chinese into Xinjiang.  In the 1940?s, the Han?s made up 5% of the Xinjiang population, and today that number is up to 40%. The Congressional-Executive Commission on China has also stated that the Chinese government provided incentives to move to Xinjiang from elsewhere in China.  In addition to the later discussion of forced sterilizations of Uighur women, this Han migration has put pressure on the growth of the Uighur population.  The Han Chinese also tend to be more educated, therefore, they possess an obvious advantage on the job market. 

Economic Success of Uighurs in Xinjiang vs. the Hans and the Greater PRC ? The primary reason for the civil unrest among Uighurs in Xinjiang, is the perceived economic discrepancy between Xinjiang and the rest of China, and between the Uighurs and the Hans in Xinjiang.  The massive Han migration only exacerbates this unrest.  Much of the discrepancy can be attributed to the economic revitalization of the cities, as opposed to the rural areas.  Almost 80% of Uighurs live in the rural areas of Xinjiang, whereas most Han Chinese live in and around the cities.  The rural communities are largely agricultural and still primarily government controlled.  Because of this, their economic development has been far less robust.  There is also a barrier to entry for the Uighurs to move to the urban areas and acquire jobs, because they are far less educated then the Han citizens and migrants.  Economic restrictions and Han migration seem to be rational concerns of the Uighur demonstrators.  

Forced Sterilizations ? These forced Uighur sterilizations are not within the parameters of the one-child policy.  In fact, ethnic groups are often granted exceptions for this policy.  Uighurs are legally permitted to have two children, because their population is under 10 million.  There is room, however, for the discretion of local governments. Article 18 of the Law on Population and Birth Planning allows autonomous regions to stipulate the specific measures for the practice of birth planning among minorities.  This has resulted in forced sterilizations and abortions for Uighur women. Evidence of this can only be retrieved from stories from Xinjiang.  For example, a Han Chinese woman who worked at a family planning clinic reported that in order to meet quotas, officials would sanction the abortion of Uighur children, rather than Han children. These were obviously against the will of the families.  Further, in an effort to prevent Uighur women from having children, it has been reported that Uighur women from Xinjiang have been recruited to work in factories in the urban areas of China. 

These and other human rights issues are far less quantitative.  There is little objection to whether or not they occur, but the overall impact is indeterminable because of the lack of objective information coming out of the PRC. 

The outspoken Uighur demonstrators may have been impatient on the issues of education and unemployment, but their concerns overall are clearly not without merit.  Although the condition of the Uighur people significantly improved after the Cultural Revolution, there were still a number of issues that were unaddressed by the PRC.  Unfortunately, rather than producing a successful ethic minority rights movement, the Uighur cries have only resulted in further repression by the PRC.  In 2001, this repression was bolstered through counterterrorism response.  

V. Eastern Turkistan Terrorism

Chinese Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan addressed the U.N. on November 11, 2001 and said ?China also suffered from the terrorist threat. ?Eastern Turkistan? terrorist forces were trained, armed, and financially aided by international terrorist organizations.  Fighting ?Eastern Turkistan? is an important dimension of the international campaign against terrorism.?  Soon after this statement, the PRC amended the Criminal Law to strengthen its anti-terrorism laws.  In doing so, the PRC designated ETIM as a terrorist organization in 2001.  In 2003, the PRC similarly designated the ETLO, the ETIC, and the World Uyghur Youth Congress as terrorist organizations.  All of these organizations either advocate for the independence of ?East Turkistan?, or for autonomy and a stronger presence in the government of Xinjiang. The U.N. and the U.S. soon followed the PRC, and designated the ETIM as a terrorist organization.  As discussed later, however, the U.S. designation was extremely conflicted, and was accompanied by human rights objections from members of Congress.  

The PRC states that there have been over 200 terrorist incidents in Xinjiang from 1990 to 2001, that were the responsibility of ?East Turkistan? terrorist forces.  They also claim that the ETIM specifically, had close ties to Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda.  In furtherance of this claim, in 2000 a Russian newspaper reported that Osama Bin Laden met with members of the ETIM and agreed to give them funds.  The leader of the ETIM (Hasan Mahsum, who refers to his organization as the East Turkistan Islamic Party), however, said that his organization had not received any funds from Al Qaeda, and that they had no involvement with the organization.  A number of Uighurs (who have been labeled as members of the ETIM by the PRC without hearings) have been captured in Afghanistan and taken to Guantanamo Bay as terrorist suspects.  Most all of them have been released and their charges have been completely absolved.  In fact in 2008, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia overturned a Combatant Status Review Tribunal decision, which stated that Huzaifa Parhat (A Uighur Guantanamo Bay detainee) was an enemy combatant.  The court held that the mere fact that the Uighur camp, where Parhat lived, received training on a rifle and pistol by an ETIM leader was insufficient to identify him as a member of the ETIM.  It is this kind of vague information that makes it difficult to support these organizational connections.  

The PRC has reported violent incidents inside Xinjiang by ?East Turkistan Terrorists?, though none have been reported outside of this region.  One of the incidents the reports mentioned, is a series of bombings from February to April of 1998 that allegedly killed 11 people, and was tied to Uighur separatists.  No media, however, reported on the incident. Id. In fact, in the PRC?s official journal stated that there were no bombings reported in 1998. Additionally, prior to these incidents, in February of 1997 three bombings occurred in Urumqi, Xinjiang. These bombings were confirmed, but they occurred during the national anti-crime ?Strike Hard? campaign by the PRC, in Tibet and Xingjiang, to crack down on ?separatists?. There were a number of similarly violent bombings by resistance movements during the same period. These bombings could have just as easily been the product of worker discontent.  They were also not labeled as ?terrorist incidents? by the PRC.  Following these incidents, no bombings occurred from 1997 to 2008. Then in August of 2008, just prior to the Olympics, two men were accused of attacking a military police unit in Xinjiang killing sixteen people.  The Chinese government described these men as Uighurs, but refused to release their names.  Id. To contradict this, these men were also seen by three tourists. These tourists heard no explosions, and they describe the men as having been wearing paramilitary uniforms.  Conflicting reports question the evidence of specific terrorist incidents by Uighur organizations, and no evidence is offered as to the specific organizational ties.  The evidence of terrorist activity on the part of the mentioned Uighur organizations, is vague and questionable at best.  In fact, of 140 publicly reported ?terrorist? incidents from 1990-2000, only 17 of them have any connection to Xinjiang or Uighur separatists.  There is also a lack of evidence as to exactly which Uighur organizations are responsible.  Most of the incidents are cases of worker discontent or civil unrest.  The incidents, the PRC claims to have Uighur separatist connections, are questionably emphasized in the PRC?s anti-terrorism campaign.  

VI. Treatment of the Uighurs After September 11th

As stated, the Uighur people have been subjected to a long history of oppression under the PRC.  Generally, however, the treatment of the Uighurs improved in the years after the Cultural Revolution.  Although since the late 1980?s, a growing dissent among the Uighur people about economic and human rights issues resulted in a crackdown by the PRC in Xinjiang.  Now, after September 11th, it appears that the PRC is not only implementing a harsher response to dissenters, but they are also reverting to some of the heavy-handed restrictions of the Cultural Revolution.  The PRC specifically designated only certain Uighur organizations as terrorist organizations after September 11th, but the freedoms of the Uighurs people generally have suffered.  

Language, Religion, and Culture ? Similarly to the restrictions of the Cultural Revolution, after September 11th the PRC has limited the ability of the Uighur people to practice their faith. The PRC restricted the amount they can make pilgrimages to Mecca by restricting travel outside of China.  Local authorities appoint the Imams at the Mosques, and sometimes decide which sermons will be preached during Friday prayers. The PRC has also reduced the use of the Arabic language in schools in Xinjiang.  In 2008 and 2009, there have been additional reports of extreme measures taken against Muslims during the month of Ramadan.  Teachers and students are prevented from observing Ramadan, large prayer groups are prohibited from forming, the spreading of any Muslim religious materials has been outlawed, and government employees are not permitted to fast.  Also, there has been a campaign for Muslim men to shave their beards, and for Muslim women to remove their veils.  The PRC continually states that these measures are for the purpose of preventing social unrest and violent protests, but this reasoning is inconsistent with the fact that these measures have been taken against the entire ethnic and religious group. 

Treatment of ?Separatists? ? The most public Uighur protest occurred in July of 2009 when a few thousand Uighur demonstrators gathered to protest the death of two Uighur men who died in a brawl between Han and Uighur factory workers.  When the demonstrators refused to disperse, police reportedly attacked the demonstrators and provoked a riot. In response, acts of violence were committed against Han residents and shops.  The PRC blamed Uighur ?separatist? groups for the riot, and as a result 26 people (all but three of them Uighurs) were sentenced to death.  The Xinjiang government then restricted all communications in the Uighur region following the event.  These restricted communications included restricting speech, religious activity, and internet access for ten months.  In January of 2001, the execution of two young Uighur men was reported by Amnesty International.  These men were charged with ?splittism? and ?illegally carrying and keeping arms, ammunition and explosives?, but their conviction was based on a confession that only came after severe torture.  The accuracy of such admissions is highly disputed after that kind of torture.  As with forced sterilizations, it is impossible to quantitate the increase in Uighur executions and lengthy prison sentences after September 11th, but the above reports (and numerous others) allow us to make reasonable inferences.  There are simply more reports of harsh Uighur treatment after September 11th, then there were before.  

VII. Terrorism, Separatism, and Extremism

The PRC?s post September 11th counterterrorism efforts have always been publicly linked to Separatism and Extremism.  In 1996, the PRC started a multilateral institution called the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).  The SCO stemmed from the ?Shanghai 5?, and was initially founded to coordinate border issues between China and ex-soviet nations (Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan) in Central Asia.  After September 11th, the organization adjusted its primary goal to fight separatism, extremism, and terrorism.  

The link of separatism, extremism, and terrorism is largely due to the kind of perceived terrorist threat by the PRC.  As stated, the organizations (in particular the Uighur organizations) that have been designated as terrorist organizations have the same ?separatist? agenda that the PRC has been cracking down on since its inception.  There appears to be little difference between the PRC?s counterterrorism efforts, and their efforts to prevent social unrest.   

VIII. The PRC?s General Skepticism of the U.S.?s Counterterrorism Policy

In the aftermath of the Al Qaeda terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City, the United States solicited support for counterterrorism efforts from various nations around the world, including the People Republic of China (PRC).  In a phone call with President George W. Bush on September 12, 2001, then PRC President Jiang Zemin promised counterterrorism cooperation with the United States.  In addition, on September 12th, the PRC voted for U.N. Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 1368, to combat worldwide terrorism.  Other public commitments, to both the U.S. and its allies, soon followed. 

The PRC?s commitment to U.S. counterterrorism efforts was coupled with a certain amount of skepticism about U.S. military action.  This skepticism likely stemmed from a pre-September 11th U.S. assessment of primary national security threats.  In a pre-September 11th drafted report, the U.S. Department of Defense stated that ??Asia is gradually emerging as a region susceptible to large-scale military competition?Maintaining a stable balance in Asia will be a complex task. The possibility exists that a military competitor with a formidable resource base will emerge.?  After September 11th the primary perceived threat of the United States changed to the fight against terrorism and terrorist possession of Weapons of Mass Destruction.  Terrorism was not a new threat to the U.S., but it was now viewed as a more urgent task than balancing emerging powers.  The PRC, however, remained skeptical of U.S. intentions even after September 11th.  The idea that the U.S. would try and contain the emerging power of China was still prevalent among some Chinese scholars.  Much of this fear arises from the U.S. continued counterterrorism interaction with neighbors of China, and the likely reintroduction of U.S. preemption to deal with various terrorist harboring rogue states.  For instance, when the SCO adjusted its goal to fight separatism, extremism, and terrorism, in an effort to form strategic alliances in Central Asia to combat terrorism, the U.S. formed closer ties with many SCO member nations.  The U.S. stationed troops in the region, and even performed military exercises. Id. Because of perceived unpredictability of the United States, the PRC advocated a UNSC oversight for antiterrorism efforts, and expressed their concern with close allies of the U.S. 

Much of the skepticism of the U.S. counterterrorism policy has arisen out of the fear of preemption, through both the U.S. interaction with the SCO, and the U.S. campaign in Iraq.  At the onset of the war in Iraq in 2003, the PRCs foreign ministry and the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National People Congress, came out with statements opposing military action.  President George Bush related the War in Iraq (which was ultimately initiated due to the threat of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons under the control Saddam Hussein and his regime), to the U.S. counterterrorism campaign by stating that the terrorist in Iraq have much in common with the other Islamic terrorist networks around the world.  While this may be true, it is well known that the primary enemy of the U.S. in Iraq was to be the military of Saddam Hussein and his loyalists, and the primary focus of the war on terror was to be those responsible for the destruction of the World Trade Center.

While the PRC?s skepticism of the US?s counterterrorism action is not without merit, and even identifies some similarities to the PRC?s motives in a greater struggle for power in the world; it does not appear that the PRC?s objections were in any way related to human rights objections.  This is something that cannot be said for the skepticism of the U.S. and its allies.   

IX. U.S. Position on the PRC?s ?Eastern Turkistan Terrorist? Designations.

The U.S. is similarly skeptical of Chinese counterterrorism motives and tactics.  U.S. concern has both to do with the broader balance of power in the world, and an advocacy for human rights. The U.S. has an extremely conflicted approach, and it is those in the U.S. that support these designations that seem to be motivated by U.S. positioning in the world.  In response to the PRC?s designation in 2001, Francis Taylor (the U.S. State Department?s Coordinator for Counter-Terrorism) recognized the fact that there were some people affiliated with Al Qaeda and involved in terrorist activities in Afghanistan from western China, but he rejected the idea that all western Chinese were terrorists.  He also stated that the U.S. did not agree with the notion that ?East Turkestan? forces were terrorists.  This policy statement, however, was later reversed as the U.S. State Department designated ETIM as a terrorist organization.  Additionally, in 2004 they included ETIM in the ?Terrorist Exclusion List (TEL)? in order to exclude foreign aliens from entering the U.S.  Also, soon after the U.S. designation, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) correspondingly designated the ETIM as a terrorist organization.  Adversely, many in the U.S. Congress had become increasingly suspect of this designation.  A staff delegation of the House International Relations Committee reported a heightened concern about the Bush Administration?s designation of the ETIM as a terrorist organization.  Soon after, the House and Senate passed similar resolutions (H.Res.497 and S.Res. 574) urging the PRC to protect the rights of the Uighurs, and stated that the PRC has manipulated its campaign against terrorism to oppress the Uighur people. 

Without speculating the reasoning behind the U.S. State Departments decision to support the designation, it does seem as though the policy demonstrates some good will in seeking Chinese support for counterterrorism activity.  After analyzing these designations, and Congressional opposition to them, it seems problematic to infer anything else.  

X. International Cooperation with the PRC?s Eastern Turkistan Terrorist Designations

In designating the ETIM and other Uighurs organizations as terrorist organizations, the PRC has often asked for international cooperation.  Like the reluctance of the United States, however, the PRC?s international support for their designations has been contentious.  

Many of the border issues of the SCO occurred because of the location of the Uighur population, and so the focus of the organization had largely been to deal with Uighur related issues.  When the focus of the organization became terrorism, each member nation routinely participated in cooperative counterterrorism activities.  Like the previous focus, much of the counterterrorism activity has been centered on the Uighurs, because the PRC has designated so many Uighur organizations as terrorist organizations, and because each member of the SCO possesses a Uighur population.  This counterterrorism activity includes the push for extradition of suspected Uighur terrorists to the PRC.  For example, on June 14, 2011 Kazakhstan extradited a school teacher (who had previously won refugee status) based on terror charges by the PRC.  The PRC has also been successful in convincing some neighboring countries outside the SCO (such as Cambodia) to turn over Uighur prisoners.  

Conversely, most western nations refuse to cooperate with the PRC?s requests for extradition, because both the U.S. and the U.N. are opposed to it, even though they support the terrorist designations.  This is partially due to the fact that the PRC has often requested the extradition of suspected terrorists, whose charges have been absolved. Although these nations oppose the extraditions, many are also unwilling to grant asylum to these former suspected terrorists.  This obviously makes for conflicted foreign relational scenarios.  For instance, in 2001 the U.S. captured 22 Uighurs in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and sent them to Guantanamo Bay to be interrogated.  Most of them were absolved of their charges by the U.S. (including four of them who were said to simply be in the wrong place at the wrong time), but the PRC requested that they still be extradited to China.  Although the U.S. refused the PRC?s request, they are also unwilling to grant the Uighurs asylum. Also, while the Uighurs were detained at Guantanamo, Amnesty International disclosed ?credible allegations? that the U.S. allowed PRC officials into Guantanamo to interrogate these Uighur prisoners.  These Uighurs alleged that during those interrogations the U.S. turned over personal files on them and their families to the PRC officials.  It was then necessary to find a safe haven for them, because the Uighurs were not granted asylum in the U.S., and because the U.S. refused to turn them over to the PRC.  Among the nations willing to accept some of the detainees (including Albania, Sweden, and Bermuda) was Palau, which accepted 17 of them due to their close relationship with the U.S.  The fight to keep these Uighurs in Palau, however, has continued ever since.  On June 11th, 2009, Representatives Delahunt and Rohrabacher wrote a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder urging him to oppose the PRC?s demand to take Uighurs detainees back to China.  On the other hand, Representative Bordallo of Guam wrote a letter to the President of the U.S. about the dangers to Guam or Palau holding these detainees, because the Free Compact of Associated allows them to freely travel into Guam. The PRC has also put economic pressure on Palau by stopping construction on a Chinese-backed hotel, which has detrimentally impacted Palau?s economy.  The PRC only branded these detainees as members of the ETIM in 2009 without any custody or proceedings.  This either alerts us to the dysfunctional nature of the Chinese legal system, or it demonstrates a supplementary motive to these international counterterrorism endeavors.  

XI. Conclusion

The Uighur people have longed for either independence, or regional autonomy since the PLA invasion of Xinjiang in 1949.  The PRC has typically dealt with this kind of ?separatism? with violent and often oppressive enforcement methods.  At times, the PRC has loosened their restrictions on the Uighurs, allowing for greater religious, cultural, and expressive freedoms. Unfortunately, the post September 11th counterterrorism efforts by the PRC have resulted in a significant degradation of those previously mentioned freedoms, and a reversion back to many of the PRC?s despotic behaviors during the Cultural Revolution.   The PRC has usually tied this treatment directly to large scale Uighur protests, or possible Uighur terrorist activity.

The PRC has publicly acknowledged a number of Uighur organizations as terrorist organizations, but only generally links potential terrorist activity to ?East Turkistan? terrorism.  The organizations that have been designated by the PRC (such as the ETIM) have questionably been connected to world wide terrorist networks, such as Al Qaeda.  In addition, the terrorist incidents that have been tied to these Uighur organizations have either been highly disputed, or insignificant in number, as compared to the mass amount of violent incidents that have occurred in China since 2001. 

The PRC has also sought enforcement of these designations internationally, but has received a mixed response.  The PRC?s partners in the region have been generally responsive to requests for the extradition of suspected Uighur terrorists, while western powers have not.  Although the U.S. has also designated the ETIM as a terrorist organization, this designation constitutes a significant change in policy, and has been publicly and legislatively fought by numerous Congressional Members.  

The PRC?s designations of specific Uighur organizations as terrorist organizations have had a detrimental impact on the Uighur people as a whole.? The PRC has abused the post September 11th counterterrorism environment to further its own agenda against the Uighur people.?

  1. Thomas Lum, Cong. Research Serv., RL34729, Human Rights in China and U.S. Policy 21 (2011).
  2. Id.
  3. Id.
  4. Id.
  5. ?Ishaan Tharoor, A Brief History of the Uighurs, Time, July 9, 2009.
  6. Shirley A. Kan, Cong. Research Serv., RL33001, U.S. ? China Counterterrorism Cooperation: Issues for U.S. Policy 6 (2010).
  7. Id.
  8. Id.
  9. Id.
  10. Elizabeth Van Wie Davis, Uyghur Muslim Ethnic Separatism in Xinjiang, China, Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, 2 (2008).
  11. Jerome A Cohen, ?Rightist? Wrongs, Wall Street Journal (June 26, 2007), http://www.cfr.org/china/rightist-wrongs/p13688.
  12. Id.
  13. Id.
  14. Gardner Bovingdon, Autonomy in Xinjiang: Han Nationalist Imperatives and Uyghur Discontent, East-West Center, 2004, at 19.
  15. Id.
  16. Cohen, supra note 11.
  17. Bovingdon, supra note 14.
  18. Jonathan Spence, Introduction to the Cultural Revolution, Spice Digest (2001), http://iis-db.stanford.edu/docs/115/CRintro.pdf.?
  19. Spence, supra note 18.
  20. Id.
  21. Id.
  22. Dru C. Gladney, Paper prepared for the U.S.-China Economic & Security Review Commission Hearing, China?s ?Uyghur Problem? and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization 3-4 (2006).?
  23. Id.
  24. Gladney, supra note 22.
  25. Id at 7.
  26. Id.
  27. Id.
  28. Timothy A Grose, Educating Xinjiang?s Uyghurs: Achieving Success or Creating Unrest, University of Virginia, 124 (after 2006).?
  29. Id.
  30. Grose, supra note 28, at 129.
  31. Annalyn Censky, Black Unemployment: Highest in 27 years, CNN Money (Sept. 2, 2011, 3:13 PM), http://money.cnn.com/2011/09/02/news/economy/black_unemployment_rate/index.htm.
  32. Information Office of the State Council, Assessment Report on the Human Rights Action Plan of China, The Peoples Republic of China (July 14, 2011).
  33. Preeti Bhattacharji, Uighurs and China?s Xinjiang Region, Council on Foreign Relations (July 6, 2009), http://www.cfr.org/china/uighurs-chinas-xinjiang-region/p16870.
  34. Annual Report, Congressional-Executive Commission on China 94 (2007).?
  35. Grose, supra note 28, at 124.
  36. Gladney, supra note 22, at 6.
  37. Tyler Harlan, Private Sector Development in Xinjiang, China: A Comparison between Uyghur and Han, Univ. of Melbourne, 3 Espace, Populations, Societies 407, 413 (2009).?
  38. Id.
  39. Id.
  40. Id.
  41. Rebiya Kadeer, An Evaluation of 30-Years of the One-Child Policy in China: Hearing of the Tom Lanto Human Rights Commission, Uyghur-American Association (2009)
  42. Id.
  43. Kadeer, supra note 41, at 5.
  44. Id.
  45. Uyghur Human Rights Project, Deception, pressure, and threats, the transfer of young Uighur women to Eastern China, Uyghur Human Rights Project (Feb. 8, 2008) http://www.forcedmigration.org/podcast-videos-photos/podcasts/uyghur-women.?
  46. Wu Xinbo, The Promise and Limitations of a Sino-U.S. Partnership, The Washington Quarterly, 116 (2004).
  47. Randall Peerenboom, Assessing Human Rights in China: Why the Double Standard?, 38 Cornell Int?l L.J. 71, 94 (2005).?
  48. Id.
  49. Id.
  50. Id.
  51. Xinbo, supra note 46.
  52. Id.
  53. Shirley A. Kan, Cong. Research Serv., RL33001, U.S. ? China Counterterrorism Cooperation: Issues for U.S. Policy 7 (2010).?
  54. Id at 8.
  55. Shirley A. Kan, Cong. Research Serv., RL33001, U.S. ? China Counterterrorism Cooperation: Issues for U.S. Policy 8 (2010).?
  56. Parhat v. Gates, 532 F.3d. 834 (D.C. Cir. 2008).
  57. Id at 838.
  58. Shirley A. Kan, Cong. Research Serv., RL33001, U.S. ? China Counterterrorism Cooperation: Issues for U.S. Policy 9 (2010).?
  59. Id.
  60. Id.
  61. Id.
  62. Id.
  63. Id.
  64. Id.
  65. Shirley A. Kan, Cong. Research Serv., RL33001, U.S. ? China Counterterrorism Cooperation: Issues for U.S. Policy 9 (2010).?
  66. Andrew Jacobs, Ambush in China Raises Concerns as Olympics Near, The New York Times (Aug. 5, 2008), http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/05/world/asia/05china.html?pagewanted=1&hp.?
  67. Edward Wong, Doubt Arises in Account of an Attack in China, The New York Time (Sept. 28, 2008), http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/29/world/asia/29kashgar.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&ref=world.?
  68. Gladney, supra note 22, at 7.
  69. Id.
  70. Gladney, supra note 22, at 7.
  71. Id.
  72. Tharoor, supra note 5.
  73. TMO, China Launches Ramadan Crackdown in Muslim Northwest, The Muslim Observer (Sept. 11, 2008), http://muslimmedianetwork.com/mmn/?p=2873.
  74. Id.
  75. ?AFP, China imposes Ramadan security crackdown in Muslim Northwest, AFP (Sep. 4, 2008), http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5hdEdZru3e81VgdC0jbXbfR0mKfhg.?
  76. Thomas Lum, Cong. Research Serv., RL34729, Human Rights in China and U.S. Policy 21 (2011).?
  77. Id.
  78. Id.
  79. Id.
  80. Id.
  81. Id.
  82. Uighur Human Rights Project, Amnesty International expresses concern over Uyghur refugees, Uighur Human Rights Project (Jul. 24, 2004), http://www.uhrp.org/articles/30/1/Amnesty-International-expresses-concern-over-Uyghur-refugees/Amnesty-International-expresses-concern-over-Uyghur-refugees.html.?
  83. Id.
  84. Id.
  85. Gladney, supra note 22, at 3-4.
  86. Id.
  87. Id.
  88. Shirley A. Kan, Cong. Research Serv., RL33001, U.S. ? China Counterterrorism Cooperation: Issues for U.S. Policy 1 (2010).
  89. Id at 2.
  90. Id.
  91. Id.
  92. Id.
  93. U.S. Department of Defense, Quadrennial Defense Review Report 4 (2001).?
  94. Xinbo, supra note 46, at 121.
  95. Id.
  96. Michael Chase, Chinese suspicion over US intentions, (Oct. 5, 2011), http://www.atimes.com/atimes/China/MJ05Ad02.html.?
  97. Xinbo, supra note 46, at 117, 121.
  98. Gladney, supra note 22, at 3-4.
  99. Shirley A. Kan, Cong. Research Serv., RL33001, U.S. ? China Counterterrorism Cooperation: Issues for U.S. Policy 2 (2010).?
  100. China?s Position on the US War in Iraq, Permanent Mission of the People?s Republic of China to the UN (Mar. 26, 2003), http://www.china-un.org/eng/chinaandun/securitycouncil/regionalhotspots/mideast/ylk/t537117.htm.
  101. David Stout, Bush Say Iraq Was Is Part of a Larger Fight, The New York Times (Aug. 31, 2006), http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/31/washington/31cnd-bush.html.?
  102. Shirley A. Kan, Cong. Research Serv., RL33001, U.S. ? China Counterterrorism Cooperation: Issues for U.S. Policy 6 (2010).?
  103. Id.
  104. Id.
  105. Id at 7.
  106. Peerenboom, supra note 47.
  107. Shirley A. Kan, Cong. Research Serv., RL33001, U.S. ? China Counterterrorism Cooperation: Issues for U.S. Policy 10 (2010).?
  108. Id.
  109. Shirley A. Kan, Cong. Research Serv., RL33001, U.S. ? China Counterterrorism Cooperation: Issues for U.S. Policy 10 (2010).
  110. Id at 4-5.
  111. ?Id at 6.
  112. Chris Buckley, China confirm extradited Uighur facing terror charges, Reuters (June 14, 2011, 4:49pm), http://uhrp.org/articles/5128/1/China-confirms-extradited-Uighur-facing-terror-charges-/index.html.
  113. Shirley A. Kan, Cong. Research Serv., RL33001, U.S. ? China Counterterrorism Cooperation: Issues for U.S. Policy 12 (2010).
  114. Id.
  115. ?Id at 14.
  116. Shirley A. Kan, Cong. Research Serv., RL33001, U.S. ? China Counterterrorism Cooperation: Issues for U.S. Policy 14 (2010).
  117. Id.
  118. Id.
  119. Id.
  120. Id.
  121. Id.
  122. Id at 16.
  123. Id.
  124. Shirley A. Kan, Cong. Research Serv., RL33001, U.S. ? China Counterterrorism Cooperation: Issues for U.S. Policy 16 (2010).
  125. China pressures Palau over Uighurs, Asia Pacific News (July 19, 2011, 4:39pm), http://abcasiapacificnews.com/stories/201107/3273013.htm?desktop.?
  126. Shirley A. Kan, Cong. Research Serv., RL33001, U.S. ? China Counterterrorism Cooperation: Issues for U.S. Policy 13 (2010).