Thursday, July 9, 2009

China now has its own Kashmir

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

The recent violence between the Han Chinese and the Muslim Uighurs in Urumqi in the troubled Xinjiang province of China has exposed the might of the fundamentalists. The Muslim Uighurs are demanding for a separate nation in northwest part of Xinjiang province for many years. Decades of accumulated ethnic tension between the two groups ignited into a full-blown riot. Still in a denial mood China has blamed the Western countries for the sporadic violence in Xinjiang. In many ways Xinjiang has become China's very own Kashmir.

For years China has been in complete denial of India's militancy problems in Kashmir and the North East. Not only has it remained a silent spectator of India's security problem it has directly and indirectly supported terror groups. When the entire world including the US pressurised Pakistan to book the plotters of the Mumbai attack China had little sympathy towards India and it did not even strongly condemn the attacks which was planned by Pakistan's dreaded ISI.

China's stand on Indo-Pak relationship is justified from its own strategic interest. It will want a disturbed Kashmir so that it can always threaten India on the Eastern and the North-Eastern border with its military might. A demilitarized Kashmir would mean that the Chinese military force would have to face some more heat on its Eastern border. Pakistan is nothing more than a tool for China to neutralize India's growing military might.

China is dealing the problem the Chinese way by rushing additional security personnel to Urumqi. The state media has been sanitized and access to mobile phones and the internet has been cut off. The seriousness of the issue can be understood from the fact that Hu Jintao, secretary-general of the Communist Party of China and the country’s President left the G-8 summit in Italy and rushed to Beijing to take stalk of the situation.

The Red Dragon may be in denial mood by the truth is the Xinjiang separatists have been getting training and arms from Pakistan in the Pak-China border. Beijing claims to have evidence that the rioters in Urumqi were getting support from sources based Pakistan, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan and Turkey. It has now appealed to the international community to help unearth links between their local citizens and the World Uyghur Congress which is behind these riots.

India on its part will surely be happy with the developments in China. For years its position on the Kashmir issues has fallen in deaf ears when it came to Beijing. Pakistani hand in the violence in China might sore the relationships between the two nations and India will be in a better position to nail Pakistan on the terrorism issue if it happens. China should come out its denial mood and if it wants peace not in the Indo-Pak border but deep within its own country.


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