Wei Jingsheng Foundation News and Article Release Issue: A810-W519

魏京生基金会新闻与文章发布号: A810-W519


Release Date: March 16, 2014



Topic: Xinjiang Issues (part 2): Support the Independence Movement, Fight Against Terrorism, and Oppose the Repression of People through Terrorism and Violence Means -- Wei Jingsheng

标题:再谈新疆问题(之二):支持独立运动、反对恐怖主义,和反对以恐怖暴力的手段镇压老百姓 -- 魏京生


Original Language Version: Chinese (Chinese version at the end)



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About Xinjiang Issues (part 2):

Support the Independence Movement, Fight Against Terrorism, and Oppose the Repression of People through Terrorism and Violence Means

-- Wei Jingsheng



Kunming terrorist attacks once again have placed the Xinjiang issue on everyone's attention.  There are all sorts of expressions, all with some reasons.  For example, ethnic issues and religious issues, etc., are on the target.  At least these issues are important reasons that intensify ethnic conflicts .


But I want to ask: ethnic conflicts have always existed; why were they not so intense in the past?  Religious conflicts in the 1960's and 1970's were even worse than now, so why weren't the manifestation of those conflicts as stimulating as now when they can quickly trigger large-scale mass incidents?  There are probably some more important factors that are not receiving enough attention, or are even deliberately concealed by the Chinese government.


For example, corruption, oppression, the wealth gap, job discrimination, and so on, were not really issues in 1950's and 1960's, or if they were issues they were relatively minor without too much resentment from the people at that time.  The situation in Xinjiang was similar to the interior of China at that time, when people were mainly concerned of living standards and reform the Communist regime.


There were people supporting Xinjiang independence even then, so such support is not just emerging now.  Further, at least a couple of groups supporting Xinjiang's independence at that time were groomed by the Communist Party itself, and even joined the government, the military and the Communist Party organizations.  But they did not cause any major upheavals, because there was no mass base for the Xinjiang independence.  Incitation by a few people did not result in any real movement.


Why now is there this basis for the Xinjiang independent movement?  In fact, it is on the same wavelength as the anti-communist sentiments in inland China.  Corruption, social injustice, inequality, corruption in the judiciary, etc., are the root causes arousing people's anger.  The accumulation of and superimposed effects of these factors have lead to the rising of anti-government sentiment and psychological hatred against officials and riches in inland China.  In ethnic minority areas, these problems tend to converge with the ethnic barriers and religious barriers lurking underneath, resulting in bringing ethnic and religious issues to the surface.


Further, in these ethnic minority areas, combining these problems with ethnic and religious problems is almost inevitable.  In these areas, such as in Xinjiang, there are pre-existing independence forces and religious separatists dormant for many years.  In an environment with no sunlight and rain, they are like seeds buried in the soil.  However, when the time arrived for the appropriate environment, they immediately took root and grew.  So, in these ethnic minority areas the officials' corruption and judicial injustice almost all re-directed to ethnic and religious problems.


For example, in the southern part of Xinjiang, which is relatively poor and lacking of education, religious imams have the highest credibility.  During the era of great development of mosques in the 1980's, there were of course religious extremists and members pushing for independence moving in.  They would use the lofty status of religion to spread ethnic hatred and religious barriers.  But, I think the effect was not very satisfactory and the movement only developed in the slow motion of small scale.  That was because there were not very serious social conflicts.  The friendship and trust between the people accumulated through years and tradition was not easily destroyed immediately and completely.


But as the gap between rich and poor grew, the government officials became more and more unreasonable, and all levels of the judiciary fully became lackeys of the rich and powerful, people began to be confused and puzzled.  Seeking a reasonable explanation to calm the state of mind in the mosques was the daily homework of all religious believers.  Some better informed Uyghurs with relatively higher cultural and education levels had their own analysis, and did not necessarily drag every problem towards ethnic and religious issues.


However, the majority of the poor in the southern region of Xinjiang are mostly surrounded by poverty and ignorance of their own kind.  Besides the imams in the mosques, there are not many people around who are thoughtful and trustworthy.  Thus the seeds began to take root quickly.  The social evils were described as evils of the non-Muslims; the social injustice and inequality is portrayed as the oppression and exploitation of the Han Chinese against Uyghur Muslims.  Even the Uyghur officials at the grassroots level who exploited and oppressed their own Uyghur people were conveniently described as lackeys of the Han Chinese and traitors of the Uyghurs.


In fact, this argument is very logical and seamless.  It is the same as the many deceptions of the Communist Party, and can be believed easily by the ignorant people who do not know of the outside world.  The majority of Uyghurs with knowledge will know that the argument is just some low level cheating; a sophistry to hide lies in the premises.  However, to the ignorant poor who are eager to seize a straw to maintain floating on a sinking ship, it is the only credible reason.  The seeds of ethnic and religious conflict thus began to grow up at the grassroots level.


Especially as the so-called economic reform of Deng Xiaoping become epidemic, social mentality became very impetuous.  Attention in the society evolved into how to get rich, how to corrupt, how to bully and gain hegemony over others.  Or, at least into how to make the rich richer and improve the GDP to accumulate capital for promotions through the ranks.  Even the relief funding for poor areas were corrupted.  How could these happenings not provoke uprisings?  This is the time when the Xinjiang independence movement outside the mosques got popular.


Soon the moderate World Uyghurs Conference was no longer welcome.  The more extreme terrorism sounds better to vent anger and seems to be more effective.  Especially for the poor who were not educated and have been oppressed at the bottom of the society, extremism is clearly more attractive.  The terrorists who were trained by Taliban and Palestinian organizations also have a set of effective brainwashing methods.  Although it is impossible to persuade everyone to engage in terrorism, as long as there is a small portion of people convinced, it is enough to produce terrorist incidents everywhere.  Terrorism does not care how many soldiers it recruits.


I have always supported the independence movement in Tibet and Xinjiang, because that is the basic political right of the people.  In democratic countries, it is a perfectly legitimate political activity protected by the Constitution.  Self-determination is one of the human rights that should not be deprived.  But I am firmly opposed to terrorism, and opposed to achieving political goals through threatening the lives of civilians.  Terrorism is a most shameless doctrine that only a coward will accept.  And, if terrorism succeeds, it will only replace the oppression with even greater oppression.


I also oppose the suppression of the people through terrorist and violent means.  The recent "no mercy politics of severe strike and heavily suppress" statement by Zhang Chunxian, the Communist Party Secretary in charge of Xinjiang, is on the same wavelength as garden-variety terrorism.  That is using terrorism against terrorism.  Naturally, the most convenient targets he could find are ordinary people.  Would he be able to scare the terrorists?  That would be a joke, and unable to solve the problems from their roots.  Even if he could temporarily suppress the terrorists, and get promoted to somewhere else as a result, the terrorism that had already germinated and grown would gain a broad social basis instead of being destroyed by a temporary terrorism carried out by the government.  This situation is similar throughout inland China, and will become the scourge of the Chinese society for a long time.



To hear Mr. Wei Jingsheng's related commentary, please visit:



(Written on March 10 and recorded on March 11, 2014.  Broadcasted by Radio Free Asia.)



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Wei Jingsheng Foundation News and Article Release Issue: A810-W519

魏京生基金会新闻与文章发布号: A810-W519


Release Date: March 16, 2014



Topic: Xinjiang Issues (part 2): Support the Independence Movement, Fight Against Terrorism, and Oppose the Repression of People through Terrorism and Violence Means -- Wei Jingsheng

标题:再谈新疆问题(之二):支持独立运动、反对恐怖主义,和反对以恐怖暴力的手段镇压老百姓 -- 魏京生


Original Language Version: Chinese (Chinese version at the end)









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