China’s ‘repressed’ Muslims all of a sudden obtained dragged again into the sunshine

46 China’s ‘repressed’ Muslims all of a sudden obtained dragged again into the sunshine

A report on Beijing’s crackdown on mosques got here out proper after Muslim nations turned to the Asian big for mediation within the Gaza conflict

By Timur Fomenko, political analyst

At first of this week, overseas ministers from a gaggle of Muslim-majority nations, together with Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, the Palestinian Nationwide Authority, and Indonesia travelled to China with the intention to search assist for a ceasefire within the ongoing Gaza conflict.

The unconditional backing of Israel by the USA and its allies has tanked their credibility throughout the Islamic world, and Beijing has positioned itself as an advocate of peace when others will not be keen to take up that function.

It’s curious that inside the next few days, a report was launched by Human Rights Watch, accusing China of increasing its alleged marketing campaign of closing down and repurposing mosques into areas apart from Xinjiang – which had to this point been the main target of accusations that Beijing is cracking down on the predominantly Muslim Uyghur minority. Even these allegations had been considerably on the backburner within the institution media currently, however the HRW report was shortly picked up and amplified.

Though relations between the US and China have considerably calmed down, it’s apparent that Washington doesn’t wish to see Beijing improve its affect within the Muslim world, as that will inevitably come on the expense of American clout. The try to attract consideration again to China’s alleged repression of its Muslim inhabitants, whereas underreporting Israel’s devastating assault on the (additionally Muslim) inhabitants of Gaza, is an train in deflection and a part of the continuing narrative conflict between China and the US. Be it about Muslims or not, the Xinjiang difficulty has lengthy been a key part of that battle for affect.

The Uyghur minority has, since 2018, been a instrument of “atrocity propaganda” used to wage public relations offensives in opposition to China. It’s a means to an finish, which frequently disappears and resurfaces within the media, coinciding with the ebb and movement of anti-Beijing rhetoric coming from the US administration or the State Division. This contains utilizing it to show public opinion in opposition to Beijing in chosen nations, together with allies, or to fabricate consent for insurance policies aimed toward provide chain shifts or “decoupling,” by way of the accusation of pressured labor, particularly within the fields of key agricultural items, polysilicon and photo voltaic panels, or to try to embarrass China diplomatically on the UN, or to push for boycotting occasions such because the Winter Olympics.

That is an extremely opportunistic angle to one thing Beijing’s detractors declare is a “genocide.” Since late 2021, the Biden administration has largely ignored the difficulty and it has fallen off the worldwide agenda, exactly as a result of Washington had gotten the sanctions they wished from it on the time. Nevertheless, the Israel-Gaza battle introduces a brand new dynamic whereby the US and its allies are dramatically shedding face and credibility amongst Muslim nations as a result of they’re backing Israel unconditionally within the wholesale slaughter of Palestinians. From a geopolitical standpoint, such a coverage pathway is definitely strategically disastrous as a result of it alienates the whole World South, serves as a beacon in projecting US hypocrisy and worse nonetheless, instantly empowers China as a competitor.

So when you find yourself confronted with a state of affairs whereby Beijing is gaining diplomatic capital over your personal failures, what do you do? You desperately intention to deflect by making an attempt to attract consideration to a different difficulty within the try to smear Beijing: Xinjiang and the Uyghurs. Now because it occurs, Muslim nations largely ignore US-led propaganda over the Xinjiang difficulty, as a result of they see it for what it’s and likewise share a standard norm of respect for nationwide sovereignty with Beijing, which is politically useful for them. The one Muslim nation who has ever made public remark about it’s Türkiye, as a result of Uyghurs are a Turkic ethnic group and the problems is seen by way of the lens of Ankara’s Pan-Turk ideology. Nevertheless, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan continues to be prone to ignore the difficulty, or solely contain himself in it primarily based on what he can achieve.

Alternatively, the Gulf States, the important thing US allies within the Center East, corresponding to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, assist China’s place, and the Gaza difficulty is placing them beneath strain relating to their relations with the US and the choice to normalize relations with Israel. So all of a sudden we’re seeing a resurgence of Xinjiang materials as a result of the US, even when it can’t sway their governments, desires to kindle the anger of Muslim populations about one other difficulty as a substitute and diminish China’s credibility. Though that is much less possible in Arab States, it may trigger public opinion ruptures in key Asian Islamic nations corresponding to Indonesia and Malaysia, the place vital sources had been positioned by organizations such because the BBC in relaying Xinjiang-related content material of their respective languages.

However the query is, will this marketing campaign succeed? It is likely to be value remembering that Xinjiang is an artificially imposed difficulty pushed “top-down” by governments and the media, whereas Palestine is a grassroots difficulty pushing from the underside up, features of which media and politicians endeavor to selectively ignore. China’s heavy-handed administration of Uyghurs in Xinjiang shouldn’t be actually a genocide, and it’ll by no means rank on the identical degree of severity because the outright bombardment and mass killing of Palestinians, irrespective of how arduous you strive.

The statements, views and opinions expressed on this column are solely these of the creator and don’t essentially signify these of RT.

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