|In the past, we have had a few commentaries on the Chinese and their limitless ambition to rule the world utilizing the “Belt and Road Campaign” which is a strategy adopted by them involving investments in 152 countries. Their objective is to create an infrastructure system to provide them logistical access to every nook and cranny on the planet. “Belt” refers to overland routes called the “Silk Road Economic Belt” and “Road” refers to the sea routes. In order to accomplish that objective, they will have to suppress all dissidents along the way. The Nikkei Asian Review recently published several related articles that could lead one to believe that everything may not be going according to plan. Discontent is one thing that cannot be tolerated in that setting and the primary domestic Chinese source of trouble is the western China Muslim Uighur minority in Xinjiang province. As a consequence, Chinese officials are now using advances in facial recognition technology to identify “troublemakers.” In other words, Chairman Mao is keeping an eye on you.
It was only thirty years ago that China had the ugly incident in Tiananmen Square and they do not want to have a repeat of that event. Therefore, the early warning system may be more than facial recognition to include an ever-present view of more than a handful of people getting together that could lead to a large-scale public demonstration. Remember when one guy stared down a tank in the past?
The leaders of China remember this incident quite clearly and have created “vocational school-style” training centers which have led to the detention of more than one million Chinese Uighurs and Muslims in western China. Shohrat Zakir, an ethnic Uighur and Chairman of the Uighur Autonomous Region may have gone over to the motherland side as he blasted the international media for referring to them as “concentration camps” when they were in fact “vocational schools.” Who knows, as he looks like a pretty level-headed fellow in the image below. The students are provided free Halal Muslim food and families are free to visit or join the programs. However, they should remember to visit at their own peril as they might become a permanent resident. The presence of 24 million Uighur Muslims in China causes the majority Han Chinese to be just a bit uncomfortable. The Chinese are on record that “radical religions confuse the minds of the people”-big brother knows best.
There is also the old Chinese proverb that, if there are bad Uighur Muslims at home, there have to be others somewhere else. Well, that somewhere else is nearby Pakistan which is critical to the “Belt and Road Campaign.” Accordingly, Beijing has initiated a charm offensive with the Uighurs of Pakistan. The Chinese program is one of “anti-terrorism stability” and “vocational skills and educational training.” Beijing views the Uighurs in Pakistan as a security threat. For Imran Khan, the newly elected Prime Minister of Pakistan and former cricket star, it is a sticky wicket given Pakistan’s desperate need for bail-out money from China to keep his bankrupt county running. Somehow, the Uighur folks shown below do not seem to care about much else other than their family and faith.
Further, the “Belt and Road” project has run into obstacles elsewhere given the innate ability of the clueless Chinese to insult people most anywhere they go. How can the pleasant panda symbol of China be so rough when it goes outside its compound? Simple, it is neither gentle nor caring while being pretty much clueless.
Many of the countries on the road have become hugely indebted to China with no clue as to how to repay “Big Brother” for the many bridges, ports and infrastructure projects the Chinese have built on funds loaned to the local governments. Further, arrogance and ignorance on the part of the financial conquerors have not engendered a good feeling with the local folks. The pushback in Pakistan is most severe beginning with the sale of land to Chinese companies in Gwadar, a port city at the beginning of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor in the province of Balochistan. Baloch insurgents began a program of retaliation against Chinese targets including the suicide bombing of Chinese engineers on the “road.”
The take-away here is pretty simple. In the words of Pete Seeger, “When will they ever learn?” The answer is never! After decades of oppression followed by great economic expansion off the backs of the poor, the ruling Chinese elite move forward with no concept of compassion and no care for fellow man. If fear of the Muslim Uighurs is your greatest concern, there is little hope for you.