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BEIJING/URUMQI/MUNICH (2009/07/07) - Berlin is using the riots in the Xinjiang region in western China to launch strong attacks against Beijing. Claudia Roth, Chairperson of the German Green Party, is demanding that the People's Republic initiate "speedy and unconditional investigations" into the bloody conflicts. Influential media in Germany are declaring Beijing's minorities' policy to be a "failure", saying that China is confronted with an "explosion". Uyghur separatists, who, with their anti-Han pogrom started the bloody riots last weekend, have maintained close ties to Germany for years. Their Munich-based representative, the World Uyghur Congress, has been active winning western support for Uyghur secessionist policy. During its last general assembly, held last May in Washington, the organization planned its next steps. They also have the ear of the German Foreign Ministry. The World Uyghur Congress had called for anti-Beijing demonstrations preceding these riots. According to Chinese reports, the Congress is behind last weekend's bloody violence.
At least 150 people died in last weekend's riots in Urumqi, capital of China's northwest Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Tensions had been growing for quite some time in that region. In September, Uyghur separatists are planning protests for the 60th anniversary of Xinjiang's reintegration into the People's Republic of China. The Turkic speaking Uyghur, are a Muslim minority living in Xinjiang. Some of them are striving to merge Xinjiang as "East-Turkestan" with other Turkic language territories in Central Asia and consider it's secession from the People's Republic of China a prerequisite. The tensions in Xinjiang had intensified at the end of June, when two Uyghurs were killed in the violent conflict that erupted between Uyghurs and other Chinese in Southern China. Last weekend Uyghurs started an anti-Chinese pogrom in Urumqi, attacking non-Uyghurs, their homes and their cars with clubs, stones and knives. It is not known how many non-Uyghurs were killed during the pogroms and how many Uyghurs died at the hands of Chinese security forces, suppressing the riots.


An organization based in Munich, the World Uyghur Congress, is escalating tensions and most likely is also behind the calls for last weekend's ethnic pogroms. This organization is directing the Uyghurs living in exile in the west. It held its third general assembly at the end of Mai - in Washington. In this context, it, in cooperation with the US-American National Endowment for Democracy (NED), also organized a "human rights conference" focusing on "solutions for the future of East-Turkestan". A representative of the German Society for Threatened Peoples (Gesellschaft für bedrohte Völker - GfbV) was listed among the speakers. The participation of US parliamentarians at the event1 was very motivating for the Uyghur separatists. Subsequently, at the beginning of July, the World Uyghur Congress called for demonstrations in front of Chinese embassies around the world, under the pretext of protesting the deaths of two Uyghurs during the conflict in late June in southern China. According to the Chinese Xinhua news agency, the calls for the demonstrations were followed by appeals via internet, to be "braver" and "to do something big" - catch words that can be understood as a veiled instigation to violent action in Xinjiang.2

On the Forefront

The World Uyghur Congress draws on decades of anti-Chinese German-US cooperation. One of the founders of this organization is the prominent secessionist Erkin Alptekin, whose family is held in high esteem in Uyghur circles. He moved to Munich in 1971, where he became "Senior Policy Advisor" to the director of the US "Radio Liberty". It was at that time, that the CIA began to establish contacts to Uyghurs seeking secession. "Some, like Erkin Alptekin, who have worked for the CIA's Radio Liberty, are - in the meantime - on the forefront of the secessionist movement" writes analyst B. Raman, the Indian government's former cabinet secretary.3 Alptekin became the founding president of the "World Uyghur Congress," established in Munich in April 2004, which, according to Beijing, has ties to terrorist milieus.4

In the Foreign Ministry

Alptekin's successor Rebiya Kadeer, who, at the end of the 1990s was the richest business woman in the People's Republic of China, has been living in exile in the United States since 2005. In November 2006, she was elected president of the World Uyghur Congress - in Munich - and, at this occasion, visited Berlin for the first time. Only a year later, in October 2007, she met with representatives of German party-affiliated foundations and the German Bundestag's Human Rights Committee in addition to holding talks with the German Foreign Ministry.5 She is being systematically groomed to become the Uyghur PR overseas symbol - corresponding to the model of the Dalai Lama, appealing for sympathy for Tibetan separatism. Rebiya Kadeer ("Mother of the Uyghurs") has been proposed several times already as a candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize. Her biography was introduced in the German National Press Conference, receiving the German media's attention, at the time.

Three Peoples

The German media points with interest to the fact that Xinjiang, the region threatened by secessionists, is very significant to China. It constitutes a geo-strategic bridgehead to Central Asia and is rich in mineral resources; in particular extensive oil and natural gas deposits are believed to be in Xinjiang, as well as gold and uranium. But above all, the Uyghur secessionists are in no way acting in isolation. Alongside their contacts to western government circles, they also maintain close ties to the secessionists of the autonomous regions of Tibet and Inner Mongolia. "Our three peoples are linked through geography, history and more recently also Chinese occupation," claimed the Dalai Lama in the late 1990s. "I remain optimistic that in the not too distant future the true aspirations of the peoples of East Turkestan, Inner Mongolia and Tibet will be fulfilled."6 The sympathy Berlin feels toward the Uyghur secessionists is based on hopes that the strategic rival, the People's Republic of China, could be seriously weakened by the loss of an enormous amount of territory leading from Tibet to Xinjiang to Inner Mongolia.

1 Conference to Celebrate Uyghur Week; www.unpo.org 18.05.2009
2 Civilians and armed police officer killed in NW China violence; Xinhua 06.07.2009
3 B. Raman: US and Terrorism in Xinjiang; South Asia Analysis Group, Paper No. 499, 24.07.2002
4 China Seeks Int'l Support In Counter-Terrorism; People's Daily Online 16.12.2003
5 see also Strategies of Attrition (IV)
6 B. Raman: US and Terrorism in Xinjiang; South Asia Analysis Group, Paper No. 499, 24.07.2002

• Dossier Terror in Westchina

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