|Asia News Digest
Saudi Funding of Uighur Terrorists
July 12 (EIRNS)Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's appraisal of the July 5 riots in Urumqi, urging Beijing to abandon efforts at assimilation of the Uighur population, has raised a few eyebrows. Erdogan, in a speech to his Justice and Development Party, broadcast on television, went on to say: "No state, no society which attacks the lives and rights of innocent civilians can guarantee its security and prosperity.... Whether they are Turkic Uighurs or Chinese, we cannot tolerate such atrocities. The suffering of the Uighurs is ours."
Thousands of Turks held a demonstration against the Chinese actions in Istanbul today.
Erdogan's outburst will be read elsewhere as standing up for the Uighurs, who are of Turkic stock, but it could be a little more complicated than that. It is widely known that the Uighur militants, who are considered extremely orthodox Muslims, have been funded by Saudi Arabia, while getting arms training in Pakistan. These Uighurs also played a role in bringing the Taliban to power in Afghanistan in the mid-1990s. One of the ways that Saudi Arabia funds, and Pakistan recruits militant Uighurs, is through offering Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca) visas from Islamabad. Since western China does not have a Saudi Consulate, China previously allowed this arrangement, but stopped the process in recent years because of the developments referred to here. A Saudi visa for the Hajj can now be obtained only from Beijing.
In addition, there are reports that Saudi Arabia is investing heavily in southeast Turkey, an area which is particularly impoverished. The Saudi help could be another reason why Erdogan spoke out so stridently, criticizing what is China's internal affair. On July 10, a private Saudi firm, Planet Food World (PFWC), announced that it would invest around $3 billion in agriculture in Turkey over the next five years, to export food products to the Gulf region. PFWC wants to build 20,000 industrial farms over the next five years.
U.S. Energy Secretary Chu Peddles Green Genocide to China
July 16 (EIRNS)Greenie Nobel Prize laureate Steven Chu, now the U.S. Energy Secretary, is in China, along with Commerce Secretary Gary Locke. Chu gave a speech at Qinghua University, one of the leading science schools in China, demanding that China stop emitting carboni.e., stop industrial development. Chu said that if China continued growing at the pace it has for the last 30 years, it would emit more carbon than the U.S. has in its entire history, and that global warming will thus displace more Chinese through rising sea levels than in any other country, among other horrors. The New York Times notes that although Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has praised China's progress on limiting carbon emissions, Chu made the "clearest demands that China take action."
Chu announced a new U.S.-China Joint Clean Energy Research Center, focussed on carbon sequestration. He visited the carbon capture and sequestration project at a power plant in Tianjin, China's first such project.
Obama Praises British in Afghanistan as Death Toll Mounts
July 13President Barack Obama is praising Britain's military role in Afghanistan, even as the mounting death toll of British soldiers is causing a furor in Britain itself. Obama yesterday told Sky News that he supports the policies of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. "Great Britain has played an extraordinary role in this coalition," Obama said. "We've got a core mission that we have to accomplish. The contribution of the British is critical."
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Brown today had to call on the Afghan Army to send more troops to back up British forces in Helmand province, the opium-producing center of Afghanistan, where less than 10% of the Afghan army is deployed. Fifteen British soldiers have been killed since the beginning of July, making their death toll there, at 184 since 2001, higher than in Iraq (179). (The United States has lost 747 soldiers in Afghanistan and 4,327 in Iraq.) On July 8, British Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth said that the situation in Afghanistan "is serious ... and not yet decided." Moves of U.S. and British forces into Helmand and other areas are being stalled by the widespread mining of roads and other areas by ever-bigger and more powerful land mines and other devices, as Ainsworth admitted.
Gen. Stanley McChrystal, commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, told the London Times July 9 that the problem is that "British forces have been too limited to allow us to go into more than fairly limited areas and change the dynamic by actually staying." This will be accomplished by the surge in U.S. forces which will bring their deployment there to some 60,000. The U.S. "strategy now [is] doing comprehensive counter-insurgency operations ... that allow us to make it stick," McChrystal said.
Western China Struggling for Development
July 14China's huge interior western region is still far less developed than the rest of the nation, ten years after the develop-the-west policy was launched, the annual Blue Book on Western China reports. This is a critical problem which Lyndon LaRouche recently discussed with Chinese representatives, one result of the cheap-labor export policy which has made it impossible for China to develop its domestic economy as it must.
The just-released Blue Book reports that while the region's rich hydroelectric and mineral resources are being "massively exploited," it is still the poorest area of China. Worse, the gap, especially in living standards, between the west and the rest of China, is growing larger, China Daily reported today. The region is home to 25% of China's population of 1.3 billion, and most of China's minorities, including Tibetans, Mongolians, and Uighurs. The region includes Sichuan, with 100 million people, as well as other provinces and the interior bordering Central Asia. But incomes, while they have risen, are only the equivalent of about $1,600 a year. Incomes in Gansu province average as low as 40% of those in Shanghai.
The national and state governments have invested something over the equivalent of $25 billion in some 100 projects in the region in the past ten years, but this is clearly completely inadequate for what is needed for transport, water, energy, and other infrastructure.
China Names NED as Financier of Uighur Separatists
July 16 (EIRNS)The Chinese Communist Party's People's Daily today denounced the U.S. National Endowment for Democracy (NED) for its financing and sponsorship of the World Uighur Congress, the force behind the Uighur riots of July 5. "After the tragic events of July 5 in Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region in China," the paper wrote, "it would be useful to look more closely into the actual role of the U.S. Government's 'independent' NGO, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).... The reasons for Washington's intervention into Xinjiang affairs seem to have little to do with concerns over alleged human rights abuses by Beijing authorities against Uighur people. It seems rather to have very much to do with the strategic geopolitical location of Xinjiang on the Eurasian landmass and its strategic importance for China's future economic and energy cooperation with Russia, Kazakhstan, and other Central Asia states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization."
In a separate article, the China Daily identifies the relationship between the Xinqiang riots and the al-Qaeda networks in Pakistan and Afghanistan. "Evidence shows Uighur separatists who orchestrated the July 5 riots in Urumqi, capital of the Xinjiang Uighur autonomous region, have close relations with the Afghanistan-based Al-Qaida," and that the Urumqi riots "took place immediately after the U.S. and allied forces launched their fresh offensive in Afghanistan.