Xina i l’islam: repressió interior i aliances exteriors

El govern de la República Popular Xina està intensificant la política de control sobre les comunitats religioses dins de les seves fronteres: en el cas dels catòlics doblegant al Vaticà amb un pacte on el règim es reserva la potestat de filtrar els aspirants a bisbe, en el cas dels musulmans, reprimint tota expressió islàmica.

Respecte del món islàmic, fins ara, la Xina ha estat un aliat estratègic d’Iran, de Síria, i defensor de la causa palestina en la seva estratègica general per minar l’hegemonia dels EUA. Les inversions xineses són essencials per molts estats musulmans que callen davant la repressió interior del règim comunista contra el poble uigur i altres grups ètnics de cultura islàmica, un factor que pot canviar a curt termini (cas del Pakistan i Malàisia) i dificultar l’estratègia global xinesa per accedir a la condició de primera potència mundial al 2049.

James M. Dorsey publicà el proppassat 26 de setembre al Perspectives Paper número 959 del Begin Sadat Center for Strategic Studies aqueix report titulat “Turkic Muslims: China’s and the Muslim World Achilles Heel” del qual reprodueixo el resum:

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: A list of 26 predominantly Muslim countries considered sensitive by China reflects Chinese concerns that they could reinforce religious sentiment among the People’s Republic’s Turkic Muslim population with potentially far-reaching consequences if the Islamic world were to take it to task for its crackdown in Xinjiang, the most frontal assault on Islam in recent history.

A list of 26 predominantly Muslim countries considered sensitive by China, which was compiled by Human Rights Watch as part of a just published report on the crackdown in China’s strategic northwestern province, details the rollout of the world’s most intrusive, 21st-century surveillance state as well as an attempt to re-educate a population of 10 million. That population includes primarily Uighurs, an ethnically Turkic Muslim group, as well as Muslims of Central Asian origin.

The re-education is designed to reshape the population’s religious beliefs so that they adopt an interpretation of Islam that is in line with the Chinese Communist Party’s precepts rather than prescriptions of Islamic holy texts in a bid to counter Turkic Muslim nationalist, ethnic, or religious aspirations as well as political violence.

China worries that national and religious sentiment and/or militancy could challenge China’s grip on Xinjiang, home to 15% of its proven oil reserves, 22% of its gas reserves, and 115 of the 147 raw materials found in the People’s Republic as well as part of its nuclear arsenal.

Included on the list of countries are Afghanistan and Pakistan; former Soviet Central Asian nations, many of which border on Xinjiang; Southeast Asian nations like Malaysia and Indonesia; and key Muslim countries such as Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Turkey, which have historic, ethnic, and linguistic ties to China’s Turkic Muslims and have been sympathetic for decades to Uighur aspirations.

China’s crackdown, according to a plan developed by the Baluntai Town government in north-central Xinjiang, involves targeting, among others, Turkic Muslims who remain in contact with family and friends abroad, people who have stayed abroad “too long,” and those who have, independently and without state permission, organized Hajj pilgrimages to Saudi Arabia. China is particularly concerned about Uighur contact with Muslim countries.

Human Rights Watch quoted Inzhu, a 50-year-old mother, who lives in an unidentified country, as saying, “It was 2 a.m. and my daughters [in a foreign country] were chatting with their father [in Xinjiang] on the phone. You know, they’re daddy’s girls and they were telling him all their secrets … when suddenly my daughters ran in to tell me, ‘The authorities are taking away daddy!’”

For China, the Muslim world’s silence constitutes a double-edged sword. On the one hand, Beijing’s campaign in Xinjiang is effectively enabled by this silence, which is driven primarily by the desire of governments, many of which are deeply indebted to China, to preserve economic relations. It allows it to largely ignore criticism by Western nations and human rights groups as well as the Uighur Diaspora.

On the other hand, the silence potentially gives Muslim countries a degree of leverage. Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Muhammad seemingly exploited that leverage with China treading carefully in the face of an anti-Chinese election campaign that returned the 93-year old to office in May. Maharthir subsequently suspended US$22 billion of Chinese-backed Belt and Road-related infrastructure projects.

This leverage could also factor in the intention of financially troubled Pakistan to review or renegotiate agreements related to the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a crown jewel in the Belt and Road initiative and at US$50 billion plus, its single largest country investment.

The risk for China is that mushrooming publicity about its crackdown in Xinjiang, which includes pressure on Uighurs abroad to return to the Chinese province or risk incarceration – a push that has led countries like Egypt, Afghanistan, the United Arab Emirates, and Malaysia to extradite Uighurs to China – will make it increasingly difficult for Muslim countries to remain silent.

The risk is also that the crackdown could have a boomerang effect, fueling radicalization at home as well as abroad. A study quoted in The New York Times by Qiu Yuanyuan, a scholar at the Xinjiang Party School, where officials are trained, warned that “recklessly setting quantitative goals for transformation through education has been erroneously used … The targeting is imprecise, and the scope has been expanding.”

The risks are enhanced by black swans such as a recent court case in Kazakhstan that forced the government in Astana to walk a fine line between avoiding friction with China and shielding itself from accusations that it is not standing up for the rights and safety of Kazakh nationals.

Kazakhs were taken aback when 41-year-old Sayragul Sauytbay, a Chinese national of Kazakh descent, testified in an open Kazakh court that she had been employed in a Chinese re-education camp for Kazakhs only that had 2,500 inmates. She said she was aware of two more camps reserved for Kazakhs.

Ms. Sauytbay was standing trial for entering Kazakhstan illegally. She said she had escaped to Kazakhstan after being told by Chinese authorities that she would never be allowed to rejoin her family because of her knowledge of the camps. Ms. Sauytbay was given a six-month suspended sentence and allowed to stay in the country where her recently naturalized husband and children reside.

The inclusion of ethnic Kazakhs, a community in China of 1.25 million people, in the crackdown sparked angry denunciations in Kazakhstan’s parliament. “There should be talks taking place with the Chinese delegates. Every delegation that goes there should be bringing this topic up … The key issue is that of the human rights of ethnic Kazakhs in any country of the world being respected,” said Kunaysh Sultanov, a member of parliament and former deputy prime minister and ambassador to China.

Anti-Chinese sentiment in the Pakistani Chinese border province of Gilgit-Baltistan ran high earlier this year after some 50 Uyghur women married to Pakistani men were detained on visits to Xinjiang and China refused to renew the visas of Pakistani husbands resident in Xinjiang.

Beyond economic leverage, China has so far benefited from the fact that Muslim politicians and leaders see more political mileage in pushing causes like the Palestinians rather than those that have not been in the Islamic world’s public eye.

“You gain popularity if you show you are anti-Zionism and if you are fighting for the Palestinians, as compared to the Rohingya or Uighurs,” said Ahmad Farouk Musa, director of the Islamic Renaissance Front, a Malaysian NGO. It’s a bet Muslim countries and China could continue to win, but could prove costly if they eventually lose.

Post Scriptum, 14 d’octubre del 2018.

Emmanuel Dubois de Prisque, director de la Revue du Monde Chinois, és entrevistat avui per Atlantico.fr: “Après avoir nié leur existence, la Chine légalise l’utilisation des camps de rééducation pour des extrémistes religieux“:

Atlantico : Après avoir nié l’existence de camps de rééducation dans la province du Xinjian, la Chine vient de légaliser le recours à des camps pour “éduquer et transformer” des personnes influencées par l’extrémisme, en l’occurrence, les Ouïghours. Comment analyser cette réponse de Pékin aux protestations internationales concernant le sort réservé à ces populations ?

Emmanuel Dubois : Est-ce qu’il s’agit d’une réponse à la pression internationale ? Sans doute en partie, mais il s’agit au moins autant d’un processus interne à la Chine. La loi adoptée en mars 2017 qui prétendait lutter contre la radicalisation était assez floue et laissait les mains libres au Parti. Les buts affichés et la méthode adoptée depuis mars 2017 révèlent la foi du PCC dans sa capacité à éradiquer non seulement le terrorisme mais plus “radicalement” à modeler comme il l’entend les populations qui lui sont soumises.

Les commentateurs occidentaux ont tendance à penser que la répression que la Chine exerce sur les Ouighours est si violente qu’elle se paiera nécessairement, comme s’il existait une justice immanente, comme si la férocité du Parti devait nécessairement provoquer le juste soulèvement des musulmans chinois et ainsi être punie un jour. George Orwell, qui dans son ouvrage 1984 imaginait un pouvoir totalitaire éternellement triomphant, ne serait pas d’accord. En outre, le PCC lui-même pense sans doute que sa réponse est la meilleure: il veut transformer pour les rendre meilleurs ce qu’il considère être de mauvais citoyens, qui mettent la religion avant l’Etat et Dieu au dessus de la Chine. De son point de vue, aussi curieux cela nous semble-t-il, la mise en place de ces centres de rééducation et de transformation des citoyens est une bonne action, une faveur accordée aux Ouïghours pour lesquels on dépense moyens et énergie pour en faire de bons Chinois civilisés. Les membres du Parti envoyé jusque dans les foyers musulmans où ils vivent à demeure et dispensent la bonne parole sont en mission. Ce sont des agents de l’Empire du Bien, avec des caractéristiques chinoises.

Ne peut-on pas voir ici une forme de pied de nez “juridique” adressé à la “communauté internationale” ?

Pour le Parti, la loi n’est qu’un moyen de gouvernement parmi d’autres, en aucun cas “l’Etat de droit” ne saurait être considéré comme le souverain auquel il devrait se soumettre. Du point de vue de la Chine, “la communauté internationale” n’est en l’occurrence rien d’autre que le porte-voix des États-Unis, pays dont le but est de contenir, voire d’abattre la puissance chinoise. C’est le sentiment dominant aujourd’hui à Pékin.

Qu’est ce que ce cas d’espèce peut révéler de la faiblesse du multilatéralisme actuel ?

La faiblesse du multilatéralisme, je ne sais pas, mais la faiblesse des réactions internationales, en particulier celle des pays musulmans est frappante. La Malaisie est une exception, il y en a peut-être d’autres, mais en tout état de cause elles restent discrètes. À l’étranger, la Chine peut adopter un discours “inclusif” et respectueux de la diversité des cultures, mais sur son territoire, elle n’éprouve aucun scrupule à mener des politiques coercitives d’assimilation sur des populations qui sont pourtant chez elles.

Afegeix un comentari

Deixa un comentari

L'adreça electrònica no es publicarà. Els camps necessaris estan marcats amb *