"Police shot and killed two suspected lawbreakers and injured one suspected lawbreaker using legal means," said a statement released by government officials in the city.
Britain's Times reported that this incident was the first time that Chinese authorities had admitted the use of firearms to quell the violence. The rioting reportedly started on July 5 when angry Uighurs rampaged through the city attacking Han Chinese, China's dominant majority group. The British newspaper reported that, subsequently, vigilante mobs of angry Han Chinese carrying metal pipes, wooden staves, and knives took to the streets on July 7 and 8 seeking revenge against the Uighurs. In response, tens of thousands of paramilitary police have been sent to Urumqi to restore order and to separate the two ethnic groups.
Chinese President Hu Jintao cut short a trip to the Group of Eight summit in Italy last week to deal with the civil unrest in Xinjiang.
A report posted on the website of Xinhua, the Chinese government's official news agency, quoted from an article entitled "Unity is deep in China's blood" by Fu Ying, China's ambassador to the United Kingdom, published by Britain's Guardian newspaper on July 13. In the article, Fu asserted that though the violence in Urumqi has been horrific, it is wrong to frame it as an ethnic conflict, stating that different ethnic groups in Xinjiang region have lived side by side for centuries like one big family. Of the 47 ethnic groups in the region, which has 21 million people, the Uygurs — who are Turkic by ancestry and predominantly Muslim — comprise 45.7 percent of the population. The Han, who are numerically second in the region, are by far the largest ethnic group in the People's Republic of China, making up 92 percent of the population nationwide.
In her article, Ambassador Fu wrote: "We call such frictions 'problems among people,' meaning they can be solved through coordination and are not a life-or-death struggle. That is why the violence in Urumqi on July 5, leaving more than 180 people dead and more than 1,000 injured, came as a shock."
The ambassador speculated openly that there may have been external incitement and organization behind the recent turmoil, and that it was wrong to label it as "ethnic conflict." She said, "The incident was reminiscent of terrorist violence in Urumqi and other cities in Xinjiang in the past decade or more. Some of these terrorists were sent to train and fight in Afghanistan. A few ended up in Guantanamo Bay. Investigation into the July 5 incident is ongoing and those who committed crimes will face the law."
While this writer naturally views any statement made by a Chinese communist government official with skepticism, world events in recent years have not always revolved around the historical East-West axis and are often contrary to what one might suspect at first glance. Consider the Chinese government's claim that the riots had been planned from abroad by the World Uyghur Congress (WUC), which China has designated as a "terrorist organization."
Of course, communists have traditionally been masters of using a type of Newspeak that seldom has borne any resemblance to actual truth. Yet, what about the WUC? It was formed in mid-April 2004 at a meeting in Munich, Germany, to consolidate the efforts of various exiled Uyghur groups. An article in Asia-Pacific News for Apr 3, 2008 quoted Rebiya Kadeer, the exiled president of the WUC, who accused China of enforcing "policies of cultural assimilation and political persecution in Tibet and East Turkestan" — (the name still given to Xinjiang by many Uighurs.)
"Because of our shared experience under the Chinese regime, Uighurs stand in solidarity with the Tibetan people and support their legitimate aspirations for genuine autonomy," Kadeer previously wrote in the Washington Post. "To Beijing, any Tibetan or Uighur who is unhappy with China's harsh rule is a 'separatist,'" Kadeer said, adding that "Uighurs are also labelled 'terrorists.'"
Given the brutal history of Chinese communists, who are by some estimates guilty of killing over 60 million of their own people since their takeover in the 1950s, Kadeer's assertion seems quite reasonable.
A little digging, however, raises some very curious questions. Several points worthy of consideration were discussed in "Washington is Playing a Deeper Game with China" — an article written by F. William Engdahl (the author of Full Spectrum Dominance: Totalitarian Democracy in the New World Order) for the Montreal-based Centre for Research on Globalisation (CRG). Engdahl suggests that in view of the recent turmoil in Xinjiang, "It would be useful to look more closely into the actual role of the US Government's 'independent' NGO, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). All indications are that the US Government, once more acting through its 'private' Non-Governmental Organization, the NED, is massively intervening into the internal politics of China."
The reason for this close inspection, says, Engdahl, is to determine where the World Uyghur Congress (WUC) gets its operating capital from. Lo and behold, notes Engdahl: "According to published reports by the NED itself, the World Uyghur Congress receives $215,000.00 annually from the National Endowment for Democracy for 'human rights research and advocacy projects.' "
The NED is supposedly a private, non-government, non-profit foundation, but it receives a yearly appropriation for its international work from the US Congress. The NED money is channelled through four "core foundations." These are the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, linked to Obama's Democratic Party; the International Republican Institute tied to the Republican Party; the American Center for International Labor Solidarity linked to the AFL-CIO US labor federation as well as the US State Department; and the Center for International Private Enterprise linked to the US Chamber of Commerce.
And, making his point, Engdahl asks: "The salient question is what has the NED been actively doing that might have encouraged the unrest in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, and what is the Obama Administration policy in terms of supporting or denouncing such NED-financed intervention into sovereign politics of states which Washington deems a target for pressure?"
In investigating the background of the government-funded NED, we found that financing operations abroad is not new business for the organization. For example:
- In an article entitled "The Involvement of the US Government in South Africa," in the Winter 1986 issue of America Review, Ansophie M. Joubert noted that the funds to fuel the [communist African National Congress'] South African revolution "are channelled through a number of public and private entities, including the Agency for International Development (AID), the United States Information Agency (USIA), the African-American Institute (AAI), the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and the United States Department of Commerce." (Emphasis added.)
- An article in The New American magazine for May 30, 1994 by William F. Jasper cited a 1986 comprehensive study by Rand Africaans University's Institute for American Studies provided details concerning the funneling of hundreds of millions of U.S. tax dollars by the Reagan State Department into the coffers of radical, pro-Soviet, pro-ANC groups in South Africa. Some $200 to $300 million were channeled through the U.S. Agency for International Development, the U.S. Information Agency, the National Endowment for Democracy, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and other agencies. (Emphasis added.)
- Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr. wrote in The New American magazine for January 29, 1990: "And despite the talk about the U.S.-anointed Guillermo Endara being the popular, democratic, and legitimate president of Panama, the Panamanian people know — says foreign policy analyst Jonathan Marshall — that he received $10 million in covert CIA funds for his election campaign, and open cash from the National Endowment for Democracy." (Emphasis added.)
- Rockwell also reported in July 1991, after returning from a tour of Poland and the Baltic republics, that the much-touted "free-market" reforms were largely an illusion. He also found that "Keynesian economists and the [U.S.] National Endowment for Democracy, as well as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, have been promoting that other name for democratic socialism, 'social democracy.'" (Emphasis added.)
- The NED also helped fund the candidacy of Violetta Chamorro — an original member of the revolutionary Sandinista junta in Nicaragua — in the Nicaraguan election of February 25, 1990.
If we can learn a lesson from this history of U.S. government funding of overseas operations by the NED, it is that such operations often produce very undesirable "blowback." Just consider the result of our government's assistance to what seemed at the time to be a very noble guerilla operation against the Soviet occupation of a helpless country. The name of the chief recipient of that aid will be long remembered — Osama bin Laden.
Photo: AP Images