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    Greater China
     Apr 30, 2008
Page 1 of 2
China intensifies war against splittism
By Willy Lam

While Beijing started last weekend to rein in nationalistic outbursts against Western media and governments, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has upped the ante in its "people's war" against separatists who are allegedly in cahoots with "anti-China elements overseas" to undermine Chinese rule and disrupt the Beijing Summer Olympic Games.

As police in various cities were issuing warnings to protesters outside Carrefour supermarkets last Saturday and Sunday, the Hu Jintao administration has intensified efforts to suppress and contain "splittists" in Tibet and Xinjiang and is using nationalistic sentiments to help achieve its goal.

As the nation is being swept by a tidal wave of "patriotism" if not

 

xenophobia, liberal intellectuals who had earlier implored Beijing to consider conciliatory policies toward the two autonomous regions no longer dare raise their voice for fear of being labeled traitors. The CCP leadership is also hopeful that CNN, BBC and other Western media - having been put on the defensive by tens of thousands of angry Chinese netizens and demonstrators in the United States and Europe - might think twice when reporting on the CCP's iron-fisted tactics in China's far west regions.

With foreign media barred from Tibet and also from swathes of neighboring provinces with large Tibetan communities, People's Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers and the People's Armed Police (PAP) have stepped up arrests of monks, radical intellectuals and other "instigators" of unrest that mainstream Western media have picked up in Lhasa since March 10.

Only recently did authorities acknowledge that more than 4,000 detentions of Tibetan "troublemakers" had been made. The exiled Tibetan movement has claimed that at least several hundreds of other Tibetans had simply disappeared or were unaccounted for. The official Xinhua News Agency quoted Deputy Lhasa police chief Jiang Zaiping as saying that while 365 Tibetans who had taken part in the March 14 "beating, smashing, looting and burning" incident in Lhasa had surrendered themselves to authorities, the hunt was continuing for about 90 suspects, and on April 18, 40 truckloads of PAP reportedly went into Sara Temple and hauled off more than 400 monks.

Given that the local prison was already full, these monks were locked up in a brick kiln. Sorties by PAP and police into monasteries in Tibet, as well as in Tibetan counties in Gansu, Qinghai and Sichuan provinces, have reportedly uncovered large caches of firearms, ammunition and other weapons. That the crackdown could last much longer than expected was clear from signs that Beijing was unlikely to honor its pledge to re-open the Tibetan capital to tourists, diplomats and correspondents on May 1. PLA and PAP officers recently closed off the highway crossing at the Nepal-Tibet border, through which some 1,500 tourists and other travelers had passed into the Tibet Autonomous Region every day.

Equally, significant party and state authorities have called for a people's war-style crusade against "quasi-terrorist organizations" in Tibet and Xinjiang. Official media including Xinhua, People's Daily and the International Herald Leader have labeled the Dalai Lama a "terrorist". These party mouthpieces claim that the more radical wing of the exiled Tibetan movement, the Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC), has links to al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups.

The propaganda machinery has also insinuated that the Dalai Lama and the TYC have received support from US government departments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) ranging from the US Central Intelligence Agency to the National Endowment for Democracy.

Beijing's rhetorical volleys against Uyghur "splittists" in Xinjiang have also redoubled particularly after the PAP's foiling early this month of attempts by two "terrorist" groups to disrupt the Olympics by means that include blowing up installations and kidnapping tourists and athletes in cities such as Beijing and Shanghai. Some 45 suspects were detained and 109.5 kilograms of explosives seized in operations in January and April.

Public Security Ministry spokesman Wu Heping claimed that one of the Uyghur groups was connected to the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), which has been listed by the United Nations as a terrorist organization. In his press conference, Wu hinted that the campaign against anti-Beijing, anti-Olympics and other destabilizing elements had been extended to the entire nation.

"We are facing a real terrorist threat," Wu said. "All walks of life and the public should maintain a high degree of vigilance." Wu gave no details on what ordinary Chinese should do. Political and diplomatic sources in Beijing say cadres in charge of organization and propaganda have disseminated the leadership's instructions about a "people's warfare campaign against terrorism" (fankong renminzhanzhengyundong) during ideological indoctrination sessions in party and government departments as well as at factories, schools and other units. Party members and ordinary citizens have been asked to report suspicious characters to the police and to be on guard against "destabilizing forces" and "anti-China elements at home and abroad".

At a national meeting on "the comprehensive rectification of social law and order" this month, Politburo Standing Committee member Zhou Yongkang urged the people to work closely with police to turn over suspects and thwart efforts to disrupt the Olympics. "We must establish a law and order prevention and control network based on the principle of joint defense by police and the people," said Zhou, a former Minister of Public Security.

There is little doubt that the "people's war" to combat separatism and protect the Olympics has been aided by the flare-up of nationalistic sentiments. The relatively small number of liberal party cadres as well as dissident intellectuals who have urged a return to the conciliatory Tibetan policy of late party general secretary Hu Yaobang have been effectively silenced.

In late March, 30 prominent writers, lawyers and professors wrote an open letter calling on the CCP to start a dialogue with the Dalai Lama and to allow UN investigators to look into the recent riots "The CCP has used the handy weapon called nationalism to silence those who question the authorities' handling of Tibet," said a Beijing-based magazine editor who requested anonymity.

Appeals by NGOs in and out of China to CCP authorities to release jailed dissidents such as internationally known AIDS activist Hu Jia have been drowned out by the nationalistic cacophony. The same applies to a four-month-old signature campaign that urged Beijing to ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights before the Olympics. While more than 14,000 Chinese, including prominent lawyers and legal scholars, had signed the petition, nothing more has been heard about it.

On the weekend of April 19-20, slogan-chanting groups ranging in size from a couple of hundred to a few thousand staged protests outside Carrefour supermarkets in a dozen-odd Chinese cities including Beijing and Shanghai. The biggest rallies took place in the inland cities of Wuhan, Xian and Hefei. During a confrontation between protestors and police in Dalian, Shenyang Province on Sunday, April 20, several young demonstrators were arrested.

The nationalists' ire was focused at the French government's alleged failure to provide adequate protection to bearers of the

Continued 1 2 


Olympic paranoia causes visa hurdles
(Apr 25, '08)

China bunkers down behind its great wall (Apr 16, '08)


1. Doubting Obama

2. Iran steps into enemy's territory

3. Taliban bitten by a snake in the grass

4. Brains, not brawn, in Afghanistan

5. Syria bristles at US charges

6. India, China hold G8 options

7. Selling the president's general

8. The meaning of stage II

9. Big, bad, and the bill is rising

(24 hours to 11:59 pm ET, Apr 28, 2008)

 
 



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