Kazakh Aspect Of Uyghur Problem

By Sergey Rasov

Another ethnic conflict accumulates in China. This conflict should be resolved by joint forces of Kazakhstan and China.

Tragic events in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) directly affected its closest neighbor – the Republic of Kazakhstan. In addition not in every Post-Soviet republic the Prime Minister of the country is an ethnic Uyghur. As known, Kazakhstani Prime Minister Karim Massimov is not only an Uyghur by nationality, but he also graduated from Beijing Linguistic Institute and Wuhan University of Law. Moreover according to the census of 2000 20 million of Xinjiang population included 1.5 million (7,8%) ethnic Kazakhs within the territory of rebellious enclave. And this is the third biggest diaspore in the region. Let’s not omit the religious factor. Uyghurs and Kazakhs are the followers of Islam.

From the other hand official China has lately become the main strategic partner of Kazakhstan. It’s enough to remember that in April during a visit in China President Nursultan Nazarbayev managed to gain a long-term credit for 10 billion dollars. In exchange the biggest Chinese national oil gas corporation CNPC obtained most desirable assets  in Kazakh oil sector – half of the company “Mangistaumunaigaz” (MMG). Thereby China has become the first foreign investor within energy sphere and overridden Russia and India in the struggle for Kazakh assets. On July 22nd the accomplishment of Kazakhstan-China oil pump line was announced. Beijing is generous for investments, infrastructure and so on. Kazakhstan also keeps up and recently the governor of Chinese province Hainan Lo Baomin noted with satisfaction the “Nursultan Nazarbayev told him, Kazakhstan intends to erect five-star hotel in Hainan.”

The province Xinjiang is extremely significant for the economy of China. This big region of the country has the second biggest oil and gas reserves in China. It boarders Kazakhstan, Kirgizia, Pakistan and Russia. In XUAR there is an oil pipeline form Kazakhstan, that should connect the People’s Republic of China with Turkmenistan. And if Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs considers “the events there are the internal priority of the People’s Republic of China”, and the Prime Minister of Turkey Recep Erdogan called to stop the ethnic cleansing of Uyghur people, than the reaction of Kazakhstan is more than restrained. As the official representative of Kazakhstani Foreign Affairs Ministry Erzhan Ashikbayev noted “more than a thousand of Kazakhstani people has left the Chinese Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region for the last two days”. At the same time the diplomat failed to point the precise Kazakhstani population remaining in XUAR. The head of the Kazakhstani foreign affairs ministry press-service Ilyas Omarov said that Kazakhstani tourists were warned not to leave their hotel. Tourist visas to Xinjiang are not provided at the moment.

Kazakhstani Uyghur Leader Kakharman Khozhamberdi stated within the interview for Azzattyk radio (Liberty radio) that “activists of Uyghur Association of Kazakhstan sympathizes the World Congress of Uyghur”. Their letter includes a calling for the international community to influence Beijing that suppresses the upraises of Uyghur students severely”. “All employed women, students have no rights to go to mosque. There are policemen guarding the entrance. Of course there is also its policy within family planning. It’s been two years as every family can have only one baby. All these discrimination events result in mass protests”, - said Khozhamberdi. Also Kaznete placed The “open letter of Kazakh Youth of Urumchi” addressed for the Kazakhstani Nursultan Nazarbayev  “hoping for support and resolution of current problems of Kazakh people living in China”. ( Reminding, that starting from July the 5th there have been clashes of Uyghur Muslims with Hanin people. Military troops were located in the region).

Youth complains for the head of the state that “here in China Kazakh people are greatly worried about the future of its culture”, that Chinese people hate Kazakhs and even produce vodka with an extremely insulting name for Kazakhs. At the same time Chinese people themselves publish text-books including the region of Zhetysu and Eastern Kazakhstan into the territory of China, claiming for the spacious lands of independent Kazakhstan. That is why they ask Nursultan Nazarbayev not to leave Chinese Kazakhs, youth first of all and to help them to settle within their historic motherland. There has been no reaction of Official Kazakhstan on this “open letter”, but the very fact proves that another ethnic conflict accumulates in China. This conflict should be resolved by joint forces of Kazakhstan and China
Translated from politcom.ru