This is why the U.S. is sponsoring Xinjiang separatist forces
Keith Lamb
People are seen outside the Id Kah Mosque in Kashgar, northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, July 7, 2015. /Getty

People are seen outside the Id Kah Mosque in Kashgar, northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, July 7, 2015. /Getty

Editor's note: Keith Lamb is a University of Oxford graduate with an MSc degree in Contemporary Chinese Studies. His primary research interests are China's international relations and "socialism with Chinese characteristics." The article reflects the author's opinions and not necessarily the views of CGTN.

If one mentions genocide, concentration camps and slave labor, a westerner will no doubt correlate them with Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. Considering up until recently no one had heard of Xinjiang, this is an astounding propaganda achievement by U.S.-led Western deep-state interests.

Even more incredible is that when looking at the primary evidence for the above-mentioned "atrocities", one finds gargantuan flaws in their methodologies and purposeful distortion. All sources are suspiciously funded by the deep-state which holds on to an outdated Cold War mindset. In short, the "evidence" is cooked up.

In addition, when looking at the brutal U.S.-led actions towards Muslims, there is clearly a deficit between the Western elite's intentions and their lofty rhetoric on human rights. I contend this same contradiction stands today with Xinjiang.

As such, if genocide, concentration camps and slave labor do not accurately describe Xinjiang, then why would such claims have been made?

A superficial answer would be that Western elites need to propagandize their citizens so that they are conditioned to accept any type of belligerent and unreasonable action toward China. These actions include the U.S.'s delisting of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) as a terrorist group in 2020 which (if reported) could be justified as concerns for backing "freedom fighters".

Perhaps a propagandized western citizen will not spare a humanitarian thought for the deaths caused by ETIM terrorism in China. However, they should at least note the inconsistency in the U.S. dropping the al-Qaeda and Taliban linked ETIM who plotted to attack the U.S. embassy in Kyrgyzstan in 2002, and who the U.S. was also bombing in Afghanistan up until 2018.

No doubt, now that ETIM is off the terrorist list, funds will be made available to support its agenda which is to create an Islamic State out of Xinjiang. As such, one of the unstated aims of the U.S. deep-state is to weaken China through balkanizing it.

This fits in with the U.S. elites' elitist ideology of exceptionalism which denies the equality of other civilizations whose rise would challenge U.S. global unipolar domination and the ideology of exceptionalism itself.

Nevertheless, the question still remains why would the U.S. elites specifically target Xinjiang?

There are utilitarian explanations such as being able to stir up discontent amongst ethnic minorities, especially those that have been involved in jihad, in Afghanistan and Syria. Then of course, on Xinjiang's border is Afghanistan whose chaotic semi-occupied status provides a ripe breeding ground to cultivate anti-China operations.

However, I have long argued that beyond immediate utilitarian concerns is a broader historical strategy by the U.S. to combat challengers who develop inland. Attacking China from its western Xinjiang border would thwart much of China's Belt and Road Initiative which aims to develop both Xinjiang and central Asia.

People are seen in Kashgar, northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, July 7, 2015. /Getty

People are seen in Kashgar, northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, July 7, 2015. /Getty

What's wrong with inland development you may ask? For a liberal hegemon like the U.S., or the previous British Empire, the development of the majority of the world, especially the vast undeveloped continental inlands, is a direct threat to their class of naval hegemony.

Of course, all development outside the U.S.'s orbit challenges its ability to project its hard power and control global narratives.

For example, development leads to the augmentation of military power that can resist U.S. strikes; it leads to being able to chart out one's own political-economic independence, and development, along with its material success, leads to increasing a state's soft power which then challenges unipolar narratives used to propagandize global citizens. Furthermore, successful development outside of the U.S.'s orbit diminishes the cult of American exceptionalism.

However, inland development is even more threatening to the U.S. because the inlands are harder to strike. Both the U.S. and the British Empire, being disconnected from the greater mass of the world (i.e. Eurasia and Africa), became hegemons through their use of sea power. Through controlling the world's sea-lanes, they maintained the world order in their favor.

Needless to say, for the majority of the earth, having rational transport connections across Eurasia and Africa provides a hedge against this naval power and creates opportunities for development.

Thus, it has always been "sensible", for liberal sea powers, to keep the continental inlands in disarray and oppose large land powers, like China and Russia, who have the ability for inland development. This also explains the U.S. occupation of centrally located Afghanistan which is ideally positioned to thwart inland development.

China previously had no choice but to engage with global trade through the U.S.-dominated sea lanes. This has always made China vulnerable to a U.S. blockade and development was tilted unevenly towards China's eastern seaboard. This, ironically led, in part, to discontent in Xinjiang as Uygurs felt they were "being left behind".

However, this is no longer the case. China has proved that it will strive for even socialist development. Xinjiang and the rest of China's western region, as I have personally witnessed, have made tremendous advances. Thus, in light of the grand scheme, the U.S. is sponsoring Xinjiang separatist forces because China refuses to be beholden to U.S. naval domination or its strategy of uneven global development.

China seeks to develop the continental inlands, it seeks to develop the world which, as history proves, has through negligence and scheming been left to rot by liberal empires. In opposition, the liberal U.S. seeks, by hook or crook, to counter the democratic will of the majority of earth's inhabitants, which is the basic human right of development.

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