Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

For The Record  

FTR #727 Whither China?

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Intro­duc­tion: With the glob­al econ­o­my con­tin­u­ing to nav­i­gate per­ilous waters, much media atten­tion has right­ly been devot­ed to assess­ing the role of Chi­na, present and future. Of par­tic­u­lar inter­est is Chi­na’s con­tin­u­ing unwill­ing­ness to allow an appre­ci­a­tion of its cur­ren­cy. In so doing, Chi­na would sac­ri­fice some of its role as Exporter #1 of the glob­al econ­o­my, improv­ing short and long-term prospects for those coun­tries who are its trad­ing part­ners and upon whose rel­a­tive eco­nom­ic well being Chi­na’s future rests.

In addi­tion, Chi­na has been cyn­i­cal in much of its glob­al diplo­mat­ic and polit­i­cal pos­ture, often choos­ing nar­row eco­nom­ic nation­al­ist inter­ests over a more bal­anced, mature approach to inter­na­tion­al rela­tions. This pro­gram high­lights an aspect of Chi­nese his­to­ry and pol­i­tics that sug­gests a moti­va­tion for the recal­ci­trance and a pos­si­ble means of induc­ing Chi­na to become bet­ter inter­na­tion­al cit­i­zen.

Under a cyn­i­cal rubric of “human rights,” West­ern nations have advanced the inter­ests of so-called “dis­si­dents,” whose polit­i­cal agen­das are anti­thet­i­cal to the fun­da­men­tal well-being of the Chi­nese peo­ple and the polit­i­cal and his­tor­i­cal integri­ty of the Chi­nese nation. A salient case in point is that of Liu Xiaobo, recip­i­ent of the Nobel Peace Prize.

Fol­low­ing in the pro­fes­sion­al foot­steps of the Dalai Lama, Liu’s ascen­sion has result­ed large­ly from Ger­man pres­sure on the selec­tion com­mit­tee. Liu’s “Char­ter ’08,” pro­gram is not one aimed at reform and the advance­ment of “human lib­er­ties. ”

” . . . In this Char­ter, the writer and polit­i­cal activist, who had already played a lead­ing role in the Tianan­men Square riots in 1989, is also plead­ing for a fun­da­men­tal trans­for­ma­tion of the Chi­nese con­sti­tu­tion, the rad­i­cal pri­va­ti­za­tion of state and pub­lic prop­er­ty and the abro­ga­tion of the land reform through pri­va­ti­za­tion — fol­low­ing the found­ing of the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic in 1949, large land own­ers and war­lords had been expro­pri­at­ed in Chi­na. In con­trast to the usu­al peti­tions of mem­bers of the Chi­nese oppo­si­tion, the “Char­ter 08” is there­fore aim­ing not at indi­vid­ual reforms, such as a more com­pre­hen­sive lib­er­ty of expres­sion, but in fact at the over­throw of the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic. . . .”

Hav­ing sur­passed the Fed­er­al Repub­lic as the world’s top export econ­o­my, Chi­na’s con­tin­ued growth is seen by Ger­many as a threat. Con­se­quent­ly, the Fed­er­al Repub­lic has pro­mot­ed the inter­ests of the Tibetan, Uighur and Inner Mon­go­lian minori­ties, in order to weak­en Chi­na.

It might well be that, if the West were to halt attempts at de-sta­bi­liz­ing and frac­tur­ing the Chi­nese nation, those coun­tries might find Chi­na to be a more tractable and mature inter­na­tion­al part­ner. Cer­tain­ly, pro­vok­ing an inter­na­tion­al trade war unnec­es­sar­i­ly would be a dis­as­trous for the U.S. and glob­al economies at this junc­ture.

Cer­tain­ly, con­jur­ing the specter of Chi­na’s past, in which it was prey to impe­r­i­al designs and dur­ing which its peo­ple endured grind­ing depri­va­tion is only like­ly to cause Chi­na to push back, with poten­tial­ly dis­as­trous results in a world whose economies are fun­da­men­tal­ly inter­twined.

It should be not­ed that many of the same cen­tripetal polit­i­cal and eco­nom­ic forces that advo­cate the ter­ri­to­r­i­al com­pro­mise of Chi­na are also look­ing to do the same thing to the Unit­ed States.

Pro­gram High­lights Include: Review of the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood’s sup­port for Uighur sep­a­ratism; review of the Dalai Lama’s links to the Under­ground Reich; review of the UNPO and its cyn­i­cal geopol­i­tics; review of the Ger­man spon­sor­ship of the pol­i­cy of volks­grup­pen­rechte–the rights of native peoples–and how it has dic­tat­ed a con­ti­nu­ity of action stretch­ing from the Third Reich-spon­sored South Tyrolean sep­a­ratist move­ment to the Dalai Lama; review of Pan-Turk­ism; review of the Chi­na Lob­by and its his­tor­i­cal links to inter­na­tion­al fas­cism.

1. Focus­ing on the selec­tion of Liu Xiaobo as recip­i­ent of the Nobel Peace Prize, the pro­gram notes the Ger­man behind-the-scenes maneu­ver­ing to select Liu and the man­ner in which his polit­i­cal agen­da is anti­thet­i­cal to the for­ward progress of Chi­nese soci­ety.

On the eve of the announce­ment of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize lau­re­ate, Ger­man media have declared a Chi­nese “dis­si­dent” to be their favorite can­di­date. Accord­ing to the Ger­man press, “it would be a coura­geous sig­nal”, if the Nobel Com­mit­tee awards the prize to Liu Xiaobo, the Hon­orary Pres­i­dent of the Chi­nese Pen Cen­ter. Liu has been call­ing, among oth­er things, for the far reach­ing pri­va­ti­za­tion of state prop­er­ty in Chi­na, includ­ing the land that had been reap­por­tioned to small farm­ers under the land reform. Since the begin­ning of the 1990s, Ger­man gov­ern­ment cir­cles, par­ty foun­da­tions and NGOs have increas­ing­ly been using the so-called dis­si­dents as a means of apply­ing pres­sure on Bei­jing. Regard­less of their con­crete polit­i­cal demands, “dis­si­dents” are pre­sent­ed to the Ger­man pub­lic as “human rights activists” to stir up anti-Bei­jing sen­ti­ments. Even though they cur­rent­ly have no influ­ence in their coun­try, these “dis­si­dents” are being kept at the ready, as poten­tial coop­er­a­tion part­ners for the case of a change of sys­tem in Chi­na. In this third part of the series on Ger­many’s strat­e­gy towards Chi­na, german-foreign-policy.com describes the Chi­nese “dis­si­dents’ ” role in Berlin’s for­eign pol­i­cy.

Change Chi­na

On Octo­ber 8th, the Nor­we­gian Nobel Com­mit­tee will announce this year’s Nobel Peace Prize lau­re­ate. Sev­er­al “dis­si­dents” from the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of Chi­na have been named as can­di­dates, includ­ing the lawyer Gao Zhisheng and Rebiya Kadeer, an Uyghur sep­a­ratist, liv­ing in exile in the USA, but receiv­ing also quite a bit of atten­tion in Germany.[1] But in the Ger­man press, the writer Liu Xiaobo is being named as “favorite”.[2] The polit­i­cal activist, who is also Hon­orary Pres­i­dent of the Chi­nese Pen Cen­ter, is cel­e­brat­ed in Ger­many as Chi­na’s “pub­lic ene­my Nr. 1”.[3] In the West, Liu Xiaobo is known as the lead­ing author of an appeal for a com­plete reor­ga­ni­za­tion of the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of Chi­na. He has been con­vict­ed for “agi­ta­tion aimed at sub­vert­ing the gov­ern­ment” — a crim­i­nal offense under Chi­nese law. He is cur­rent­ly serv­ing an eleven year prison sen­tence. Ger­man NGOs are hop­ing that the Chi­nese dis­si­dent would receive more pub­lic atten­tion, if he were award­ed the Nobel Prize. 21 years after the Dalai Lama was award­ed the prize, “five mem­bers of the Chi­nese oppo­si­tion and a Uyghur from Chi­na’s Xin­jiang province” have “good chances of win­ning the Nobel Peace Prize this year”, announced the Soci­ety for threat­ened Peo­ples (GfbV).[4] Since many years, the GfbV has been main­tain­ing excel­lent con­tacts not only to the Dalai Lama’s exile com­mu­ni­ty and Uyghur sep­a­ratists. Sup­port for Han Chi­nese “dis­si­dents’ ” demands is also among the Gfb­V’s objec­tives.

Dyna­mite for Peace

The “Char­ter 08”, co-authored by Liu, shows the real inten­tions behind the Nobel Peace Prize can­di­date’s remod­el­ing plans, cel­e­brat­ed in Ger­many usu­al­ly as “democ­ra­ti­za­tion plans”. In this Char­ter, the writer and polit­i­cal activist, who had already played a lead­ing role in the Tianan­men Square riots in 1989, is also plead­ing for a fun­da­men­tal trans­for­ma­tion of the Chi­nese con­sti­tu­tion, the rad­i­cal pri­va­ti­za­tion of state and pub­lic prop­er­ty and the abro­ga­tion of the land reform through pri­va­ti­za­tion — fol­low­ing the found­ing of the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic in 1949, large land own­ers and war­lords had been expro­pri­at­ed in Chi­na. In con­trast to the usu­al peti­tions of mem­bers of the Chi­nese oppo­si­tion, the “Char­ter 08” is there­fore aim­ing not at indi­vid­ual reforms, such as a more com­pre­hen­sive lib­er­ty of expres­sion, but in fact at the over­throw of the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic. Liu’s “Char­ter 08” there­fore states that “the vic­to­ry over Japan in 1945 offered one more chance for Chi­na to move toward mod­ern government,”[5] but “the Com­mu­nist defeat of the Nation­al­ists” — the Kuom­intang — “dur­ing the civ­il war, thrust the nation into the abyss of total­i­tar­i­an­ism.”


Chi­nese “dis­si­dents,” such as Liu Xiaobo only play a mar­gin­al role in their own coun­try, even more mar­gin­al than “dis­si­dents” played dur­ing the Cold War. Many Chi­nese con­sid­er them hench­men of for­eign pow­ers, seek­ing to destroy Chi­na — like they want­ed to do in the 19th and 20th cen­tu­ry. The West is imput­ing a much more impor­tant role on a num­ber of these Chi­nese “dis­si­dents,” than they play in real­i­ty: Often these dis­si­dents have been liv­ing for decades in exile and are far away from the dis­cus­sions cur­rent­ly tak­ing place in Chi­na. Some if these “oppo­si­tion groups,” who had been praised for a while, have been not only exposed as sec­tar­i­an but even crim­i­nal. One exam­ple is the polit-reli­gion Falun Gong, which had, for a long time, even in Ger­many, been con­sid­ered an ally against the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment. Ger­man politi­cians had repeat­ed­ly demand­ed the legal­iza­tion of this sect, which had been banned in 1999 in Chi­na, after thou­sands of its mem­bers had died under strange cir­cum­stances. Final­ly the media had to back-ped­dle. “The Chi­nese gov­ern­ment pro­duced a list of deaths: the sect is report­ed to have dri­ven 1,660 peo­ple to their deaths,” report­ed the Ger­man week­ly Die Zeit in 2001. “239 mem­bers of the sect are report­ed to have com­mit­ted sui­cide; the oth­ers were sick but refused treat­ment because of the the­o­ries held by their mas­ter and final­ly died. There is no indi­ca­tion that these accu­sa­tions have been fabricated.”[6] In 2004, the Dis­trict Court in Leipzig ruled that Falun Gong can be called a “psy­cho-sect” in Germany.[7] The orga­ni­za­tion that had become com­plete­ly irrel­e­vant in Chi­na a long time ago, is play­ing no role in Ger­many today.


The Frank­furt Book Fair in 2009 is but one exam­ple of how the Ger­man Min­istry of For­eign Affairs uses Chi­nese “dis­si­dents” to cre­ate pub­lic ani­mos­i­ty toward the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic. Chi­na had been cho­sen to be hon­orary guest nation at the fair, to show rev­er­ence to the coun­try that is so sig­nif­i­cant to the Ger­man econ­o­my. Yet Bei­jing was humil­i­at­ed with a scene caused by two Chi­nese exile authors, known for their anti-Peo­ple’s Repub­lic posi­tions. The two authors, who had already pro­voked a hefty polit­i­cal dis­pute before the book fair even opened, Frank­furt’s May­or, Petra Roth, received them with the com­ment that she had “on sev­er­al occa­sions also greet­ed the Dalai Lama” (anoth­er promi­nent oppo­nent of Beijing).[8] The entire Chi­nese del­e­ga­tion, and all Chi­nese authors present, walked out in protest. Accord­ing to the Frank­furt Book Fair’s own claims, it is a venue for an inter­na­tion­al cul­tur­al exchange to pro­mote the con­ver­gence of nations.

Our Man in Bei­jing

Even if pro­grams, such as “Char­ter 08” reflect quite well, the grow­ing need to polit­i­cal­ly help with the con­fig­u­ra­tion of the Chi­nese pri­vate enter­prise, which is grow­ing stronger, the splin­tered dis­si­dent move­ment in Chi­na has no roots strong enough to imple­ment the trans­for­ma­tions that Ger­many would like to see (pri­va­ti­za­tion, land reform). The fear of polit­i­cal chaos, such as in the peri­od pre­vi­ous to the estab­lish­ment of the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic, is too deeply root­ed in Chi­na. But the “dis­si­dents” can be effec­tive­ly used for scare tac­tics and to cre­ate ani­mos­i­ty toward Bei­jing in Ger­many. Besides, in the West they are con­sid­ered pos­si­ble coop­er­a­tion part­ners, to be kept in reserve for the future, in case a — cur­rent­ly improb­a­ble — rad­i­cal trans­for­ma­tion in the direc­tion of the pro­pos­als in the “Char­ter 08” actu­al­ly takes place. Their role-mod­els are the “dis­si­dents” in the east­ern and south­east­ern Euro­pean social­ist coun­tries of the 80s, some of whom came to office after the trans­for­ma­tions of the 1990s — very much in the inter­ests of the West­ern pow­ers.

“Ger­many Ver­sus Chi­na (III)”; german-foreign-policy.com; 10/07/2010.

2. Mote on Liu’s agen­da:

Berlin is unan­i­mous­ly cheer­ing the fact that this year’s Nobel Peace Prize was award­ed to Liu Xiaobo. Already in the past, Chan­cel­lor Merkel has tak­en ini­tia­tives in favor of this Chi­nese “dis­si­dent” demand­ing his release from prison and will con­tin­ue to do so, declared a spokesper­son for the Ger­man gov­ern­ment. Liu received the prize for his “strug­gle for fun­da­men­tal human rights in Chi­na”, writes the Ger­man Min­istry of For­eign Affairs. As a mat­ter of fact, Liu is demand­ing noth­ing less than the over­throw of the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of Chi­na. Unlike peti­tions from oth­er Chi­nese “dis­si­dents”, the “Char­ter 08,” which he co-authored, is no human rights res­o­lu­tion, but rather a com­pre­hen­sive polit­i­cal pro­gram, seek­ing a fun­da­men­tal trans­for­ma­tion of Chi­na. Among the demands is the cre­ation of a fed­er­al state, such as the Fed­er­al Repub­lic of Ger­many, a com­plete rup­ture with the Chi­nese state tra­di­tion cov­er­ing sev­er­al mil­len­nia. In addi­tion the pro­gram calls for the rever­sal of all nation­al­iza­tion mea­sures, tak­en since the found­ing of the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic. This would mean rescind­ing the land reform that has assured the small farm­ers’ exis­tence to this day and the ful­fill­ment of the demands of West­ern com­pa­nies seek­ing to expand to Chi­na.

Plunge into Chaos

The essence of the 2008 pub­lished “Char­ter 08”, so acclaimed in Berlin, is the total trans­for­ma­tion of the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of Chi­na to accord with a west­ern mod­el. The name is pat­terned after the Czechoslo­vak gov­ern­ment oppo­si­tion’s “Char­ta 77” pub­lished in 1977. The authors hard­ly men­tioned the fact that there had already been an attempt to “mod­ern­ize” Chi­na, by hav­ing it adapt to the West­ern-style sys­tem and how a renewed fail­ure of this sort of trans­for­ma­tion can be pre­vent­ed, remains their secret. Bour­geois rev­o­lu­tion­ar­ies under the lead­er­ship of Sun Yat-sen over­threw Chi­na’s last impe­r­i­al dynasty in 1911 and attempt­ed to pro­vide the coun­try a West­ern-type con­sti­tu­tion. The mod­el did not work and Chi­na sank into civ­il war and chaos. The gov­ern­ing par­ty at the time, the Kuom­intang (“National/Nationalist Peo­ple’s Par­ty”) was unable to insure the ter­ri­to­r­i­al integri­ty of the coun­try and revert­ed — begin­ning in the late 1920s — to imple­ment­ing an increas­ing­ly open dic­ta­to­r­i­al form of gov­ern­ment, which even­tu­al­ly grew into a Kuom­intang sin­gle-par­ty dic­ta­tor­ship. Japan’s aggres­sion, in 1937 against the now defense­less Repub­lic of Chi­na, exposed this sys­tem’s weak­ness­es. This was even­tu­al­ly fol­lowed by the rev­o­lu­tion, which led to the found­ing of the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of Chi­na.


The ori­en­ta­tion of “Char­ter 08’s” eco­nom­ic pol­i­cy is par­tic­u­lar­ly rad­i­cal. The paper calls for a com­pre­hen­sive pri­va­ti­za­tion and sup­pres­sion of state enterprises.[1] In the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of Chi­na, there is a right to pri­vate prop­er­ty, and in the past 25 years, the pri­vate sec­tor of the econ­o­my has been grow­ing increas­ing­ly stronger. Today it ranks sec­ond, behind state enter­pris­es, in the forms of prop­er­ty in the coun­try. It is doubt­ful, to say the least, that there is much appro­ba­tion for the demand of sup­press­ing state enter­pris­es, which com­prise, by far, the largest seg­ment of “com­mu­nal prop­er­ty”. As a mat­ter of fact, in the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic there is grow­ing resent­ment to the pri­va­ti­za­tions tak­ing place over the past few decades. The demand for “more equal­i­ty” or for a — lim­it­ed — return to a planned econ­o­my is being raised more often. The “Char­ter 08” is head­ing in the oppo­site direc­tion, demand­ing a com­plete pri­va­ti­za­tion — in the midst of a glob­al eco­nom­ic cri­sis, in which pub­lic accep­tance for the neo-clas­si­cal eco­nom­ic mod­els is inter­na­tion­al­ly declin­ing. The authors of “Char­ter 08” are in line with the wish­es of West­ern com­pa­nies, expand­ing to Chi­na — plead­ing con­tin­u­ous­ly for a lift­ing of the lim­i­ta­tions — espe­cial­ly those on for­eign own­er­ship of prop­er­ty.

Purg­ing Peas­ants?

Going far beyond these demands, “Char­ter 08” is call­ing for a rever­sal of the land reform and pri­va­ti­za­tion of land ownership.[2] The land reform, which has been pro­ceed­ing through sev­er­al phas­es since 1950, ini­tial­ly expro­pri­at­ed the land of the large land own­ers and war crim­i­nals and reap­por­tioned their estates to peas­ants and medi­um-sized farm­ers. The col­lec­tiviza­tion car­ried out since the mid 50s — where the farm­ers formed coop­er­a­tives and peo­ple’s com­munes — has been reversed to a large extent since the end of the 1970s. Today Chi­nese farm­ers are free to decide whether they want to con­duct their busi­ness pri­vate­ly or in the form of a coop­er­a­tive or a col­lec­tive. The nation­al­iza­tion of the land, cur­rent­ly in force, the fur­thest reach­ing mea­sure of the land reform, was car­ried out only since the end of the 50s. Since then, all land, includ­ing the land, on which farm­ers have built and plant­ed all their lives — and to which they enjoy spe­cial hered­i­tary con­ces­sions — is being leased from the state. The “Char­ter 08,” being praised in Berlin, explic­it­ly demands the re-pri­va­ti­za­tion of the land. But through which juridi­cal and prac­ti­cal pro­ce­dure, the land that the poor peas­ants and medi­um-sized farm­ers have been work­ing for 60 years, is to be tak­en away and redis­trib­uted, is not explained in the doc­u­ment.

Total Break

In their con­se­quences, the “Char­ter 08” demands would essen­tial­ly mean a com­plete revi­sion of the con­sti­tu­tion, the breakup of the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic and the estab­lish­ment of a “Fed­er­al Repub­lic of Chi­na”. The essen­tial revi­sions have less to do with “free­dom of expres­sion” or “democ­ra­cy”, but rather with the polit­i­cal eco­nom­ic order. Con­trary to all Chi­nese tra­di­tion, polit­i­cal cen­tral­ism is to be abol­ished. Togeth­er with Hong Kong and Macao, whose polit­i­cal sys­tems must be pre­served, a fed­er­a­tive con­sti­tut­ed “Fed­er­al Repub­lic of Chi­na” is to be erected.[3] For thou­sands of years, Chi­na has had a cen­tral­ized state. Already back in the Qin Dynasty, 2,500 years ago, uni­formed sys­tems of mea­sure­ments and weights, a com­mon cur­ren­cy, as well as a state sys­tem cen­tral­ized around an impe­r­i­al cap­i­tal and emper­or had been devel­oped. All sub­se­quent polit­i­cal sys­tems, includ­ing the var­i­ous impe­r­i­al dynas­ties, the nation­al bour­geois “Repub­lic of Chi­na” of 1911 and the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic have main­tained the ori­en­ta­tion of cen­tral­ly admin­is­ter­ing this enor­mous coun­try, with its dozens of nation­al enti­ties and provinces. The demand of fed­er­al­iza­tion is ori­ent­ed on the sys­tem in the Fed­er­al Repub­lic of Ger­many, among oth­ers — with­out these mod­els being explic­it­ly men­tioned. “Char­ter 08” does not answer the ques­tion of how a coun­try with 1.44 bil­lion cit­i­zens, stretched across such an enor­mous ter­ri­to­ry should be fed­er­a­tive­ly admin­is­tered and simul­ta­ne­ous­ly main­tained as a nation state.

Free­dom to Over­throw Chi­na

The Ger­man chan­cel­lor, in con­so­nance with all of the West­ern heads of states, has been inter­ven­ing on behalf of Liu Xiaobo, who is serv­ing his prison sen­tence for call­ing for the over­throw of the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic. Berlin, which is not par­tic­u­lar­ly known for its sym­pa­thy toward any pos­si­ble domes­tic plans of sub­ver­sion in Ger­many, is demand­ing his liberation.[4] The “Char­ter 08” pro­gram has been trans­lat­ed into Ger­man and reviewed more often in Ger­many, since Liu’s nom­i­na­tion for the Nobel Peace Prize was made public.[5] It is sure that this doc­u­ment will receive wide-rang­ing atten­tion from lead­ing media organs, pro­vid­ing the anti-Chi­nese agi­ta­tion in Ger­many a new ele­ment for use in future cam­paigns to weak­en their polit­i­cal rival in Bei­jing, cam­paigns such as dur­ing the run-up to the Olympics in 2008.[6]

“Fed­er­al Repub­lic of Chi­na”; german-foreign-policy.com; 10/11/2010.

3. Recall­ing past efforts at de-sta­bi­liz­ing Chi­na, the pro­gram notes that Tibet has been a focus of those activ­i­ties.

At a con­fer­ence of more than 600 exiled Tibetans that began Mon­day at the seat of Tibet’s self-pro­claimed “exile gov­ern­ment” in Dharam­sala (India), a long-time employ­ee of the Hein­rich Boell Foun­da­tion (affil­i­at­ed with Ger­many’s Green Par­ty) was demand­ing a rad­i­cal­iza­tion of the Tibetan seces­sion­ist pol­i­cy. This meet­ing will decide on the Tibetan seces­sion­ist strat­e­gy for the next few years. The Berlin-based Green-affil­i­at­ed activist demand­ed, that the Tibet move­ment no longer for­mal­ly be fight­ing for auton­o­my, but rather for the seces­sion of this ter­ri­to­ry. In Dharam­sala, this demand is becom­ing more pop­u­lar. In spite of unam­bigu­ous rad­i­cal­iza­tion ten­den­cies, sev­er­al Ger­man politi­cians and polit­i­cal orga­ni­za­tions, for exam­ple the par­ty affil­i­at­ed foun­da­tions of the Green Par­ty and the Free Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty (FDP), are main­tain­ing their con­tacts to the Tibetan exile insti­tu­tions and sup­port­ing their struc­tures. The Hein­rich Boell Foun­da­tion explains that its pres­ence and capac­i­ty to “mod­er­ate” is impor­tant pre­cise­ly because of a threat­en­ing esca­la­tion. Ger­man par­tic­i­pa­tion in future con­flicts tak­ing place in West­ern Chi­na will there­fore be insured.

Upris­ing Move­ment

Tse­wang Nor­bu, a long time employ­ee of the Hein­rich Boell Foun­da­tion [*] raised the demand dur­ing the cur­rent con­fer­ence of over 600 exile Tibetans at the seat of the self-pro­claimed Tibetan “exile gov­ern­ment” in Dharam­sala (India). The con­fer­ence was con­vened by the Tibetans’ polit­i­cal-reli­gious leader, the Dalai Lama, to dis­cuss the strat­e­gy of the seces­sion­ist move­ment. Up to now, the Dalai Lama has always offi­cial­ly declared that he would be sat­is­fied with an exten­sive auton­o­my with­in the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of Chi­na and has engaged in nego­ti­a­tions with gov­ern­ment offi­cials in Bei­jing on that basis. Just a few weeks ago, he announced a break­down in this nego­ti­a­tion strat­e­gy. This cre­ates a realm for those, seek­ing a more aggres­sive pol­i­cy to open­ly call for Tibet’s seces­sion from Chi­na. This group includes the fol­low­ers of the “Tibetan Peo­ple’s Upris­ing Move­ment,” found­ed in 2008, but also those of the old­er, 30,000 mem­ber “Tibetan Youth Con­gress,” which accord­ing to its statutes pledges “to strug­gle for the total inde­pen­dence of Tibet even at the cost of one’s life.”[1]


Tse­wang Nor­bu, who spoke about the future strat­e­gy of the “exile gov­ern­ment” in Dharam­sala, wields a lot of weight in the exile Tibetan debate. A res­i­dent of West Ger­many since 1973, at the side of the Green par­lia­men­tar­i­an, Petra Kel­ly, he devel­oped dur­ing the mid-1980s the Green Par­ty’s pol­i­cy toward Tibet [2] and was hired by the Hein­rich Boell Foun­da­tion in 1992. Nor­bu found­ed the Ger­man-Tibetan Cul­tur­al Soci­ety, was also active in the Tibet-Ini­tia­tive Deutsch­land and is one of the orig­i­nal Ger­man sup­port­ers for the Tibetan exile in Dharam­sala. Nor­bus’ posi­tion is also being prop­a­gat­ed among sym­pa­thiz­ers in Ger­many.


As Nor­bu writes, fol­low­ing the break­down of nego­ti­a­tions between the Dalai Lama and the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment, the Tibetan exile has “to come back to square one.”[3] The “Tibetans, as a peo­ple, have this right to self-deter­mi­na­tion and we should not for­feit this right.” Nor­bu is “con­vinced” that “the major­i­ty of the Tibetans in Tibet still retain a strong com­mit­ment to full inde­pen­dence for Tibet.” Accord­ing to Nor­bu, only the Dalai Lama could have won the Tibetans over to accept­ing auton­o­my with­in the ter­ri­to­r­i­al bound­aries of the PR Chi­na. When he dies “no Tibetan lead­er­ship” will be able to hold the pop­u­la­tion back from their striv­ing for seces­sion. Nor­bu there­fore called on all par­tic­i­pants at the Dharam­sala con­fer­ence, to rad­i­cal­ize the pol­i­cy of the “exile gov­ern­ment” and “strug­gle for com­plete inde­pen­dence” — in oth­er words, to smash Chi­na.

No Oppo­si­tion

Accord­ing to Nor­bu, deficits in the polit­i­cal struc­tures in Dharam­sala have pro­hib­it­ed a par­lia­men­tary debate on a rad­i­cal­iza­tion of pol­i­cy. “In a par­lia­men­tary democ­ra­cy you have a rul­ing par­ty or coali­tion (...) and an oppo­si­tion par­ty or par­ties” writes the activist. “We do not have that.” There­fore the demand for a rad­i­cal seces­sion­ist pol­i­cy is also not being raised by a strong oppo­si­tion and must be pushed at the cur­rent Dharam­sala con­fer­ence. But the for­mer Green Par­ty mem­ber does not want his remarks about the absence of par­ties and an oppo­si­tion in the Tibetan “exile Par­lia­ment” to be mis­tak­en as a crit­i­cism of prin­ci­ple: “I am not imply­ing that a mul­ti­par­ty par­lia­men­tary sys­tem, per se, is bet­ter than a one or no par­ty par­lia­men­tary system.”[4]


The ten­den­cies toward rad­i­cal­iza­tion in Dharam­sala, which could lead the ’ ”exile gov­ern­ment” to take on a new course, are being close­ly observed in Ger­many. “Par­tic­u­lar­ly young exile Tibetans, who grew up in India,” obvi­ous­ly tend “toward car­ry­ing out protest actions,” reports the Indi­an office of the Hein­rich Boell Foundation.[5] “Since 2008, young lead­ers in the exile Tibetan com­mu­ni­ty” have been using “a new rhetoric and even new polit­i­cal tac­tics.” In ref­er­ence to those exile Tibetans, who, dis­rupt­ed the Olympic torch relay this spring with vio­lent actions, the foun­da­tion writes “they are plac­ing, to a grow­ing extent, the uncon­di­tion­al com­mit­ment to non-vio­lence into ques­tion and seek­ing new forms of resis­tance.” Accord­ing to arti­cles in the Ger­man press, their objec­tive is evi­dent­ly “to dri­ve up the ‘costs of occu­pa­tion’ for the Chi­nese government.”[6]


Ger­man politi­cians and polit­i­cal orga­ni­za­tions are close­ly accom­pa­ny­ing the devel­op­ments in Dharam­sala. Above all the Hein­rich Boell Foun­da­tion and the Friedrich Nau­mann Foun­da­tion (affil­i­at­ed with the FDP) are sup­port­ing the Tibetan exile insti­tu­tions from their bases in New Del­hi. The Hes­s­ian Prime Min­is­ter, Roland Koch (CDU) enter­tains a close rela­tion­ship with the Dalai Lama. The inter­na­tion­al net­work of exile Tibetan orga­ni­za­tions and their sym­pa­thiz­ers are also being pro­mot­ed from inside Ger­many, par­tic­u­lar­ly by the Friedrich Nau­mann Foun­da­tion (german-foreign-policy.com report­ed exten­sive­ly [7]). Where­as the Nau­mann Foun­da­tion is deal­ing with the “exile par­lia­ment” and the “rein­force­ment of demo­c­ra­t­ic insti­tu­tions” in Dharamsala,[8] the Boell Foun­da­tion, for exam­ple uses the “Tibetan Cen­tre for Con­flict Res­o­lu­tion,” an orga­ni­za­tion that is sup­posed to medi­ate between the antag­o­nists.


Par­tic­u­lar­ly in the case of a pos­si­ble change of strat­e­gy, to a more rad­i­cal pol­i­cy, it is very impor­tant to main­tain inten­sive con­tacts to the orga­ni­za­tions in Dharam­sala, accord­ing to the pro­gram coor­di­na­tor of the Boell Foun­da­tion. He makes a plea to the “Tibetan Cen­tre for Con­flict Res­o­lu­tion” that is sup­port­ed by his orga­ni­za­tion, to broad­en it activ­i­ties to include medi­a­tion in the com­ing polit­i­cal con­flicts with more rad­i­cal forces, such as the “Tibetan Youth Con­gress.” The pres­i­dent of the foun­da­tion declared that it is nec­es­sary “to pre­vent any sort of mis­guid­ance,” there­by jus­ti­fy­ing an inten­si­fi­ca­tion of Ger­man activ­i­ties in an increas­ing­ly inflamed exile Tibetan milieu.[9] It seems a cer­tain­ty that in the com­ing con­flicts in West­ern Chi­na, Ger­man organ­i­sa­tions will be play­ing no insignif­i­cant role. This will pro­vide Berlin influ­ence in sev­er­al Chi­nese provinces,[10] there­fore weak­en­ing its rival, while rein­forc­ing the Ger­man posi­tion.

[*] The Ger­man Green Par­ty foun­da­tion dis­so­ci­ates itself from its employ­ee Tse­wang Nor­bu, who is call­ing for smash­ing the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of Chi­na. Nor­bu is an activist in exile Tibetan orga­ni­za­tions. Since a long time, he has been pre­sent­ing him­self as an employ­ee of the foun­da­tion both in the press and in pub­lic announce­ments of his appear­ances. In a writ­ten dec­la­ra­tion made to german-foreign-policy.com, the foun­da­tion declares: “we repu­di­ate any con­nec­tion between the arti­cle writ­ten by Mr. Nor­bu and the Tibet pol­i­cy of the Hein­rich Boell Foun­da­tion. The posi­tion artic­u­lat­ed by Mr. Nor­bu in his arti­cle does not cor­re­spond in the least with the pol­i­cy of the foun­da­tion. The Hein­rich Boell Foun­da­tion calls nei­ther for the inde­pen­dence of Tibet nor does it accept vio­lence as a means of solv­ing this seri­ous con­flict. (...) Mr. Nor­bu wrote the arti­cle in ques­tion in his per­son­al capac­i­ty as a mem­ber of the Tibetan exile com­mu­ni­ty. In the foun­da­tion, Mr. Nor­bu has a pure­ly admin­is­tra­tive func­tion and is not employed in the domain of pol­i­cy for­mu­la­tion. He is there­fore not qual­i­fied to pub­licly speak in the name of the foun­da­tion on the Tibet issue. We respect the val­ue of indi­vid­ual free­dom of opin­ion, but are in full dis­ac­cord with the posi­tion artic­u­lat­ed by Mr. Nor­bu.”

“Smash Chi­na”; german-foreign-policy.com. 11/19/2008.

4. The Turko­phon­ic, Mus­lim Uighurs are anoth­er vehi­cle for desta­bi­liza­tion.

Berlin is using the riots in the Xin­jiang region in west­ern Chi­na to launch strong attacks against Bei­jing. Clau­dia Roth, Chair­per­son of the Ger­man Green Par­ty, is demand­ing that the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic ini­ti­ate “speedy and uncon­di­tion­al inves­ti­ga­tions” into the bloody con­flicts. Influ­en­tial media in Ger­many are declar­ing Bei­jing’s minori­ties’ pol­i­cy to be a “fail­ure”, say­ing that Chi­na is con­front­ed with an “explo­sion”. Uyghur sep­a­ratists, who, with their anti-Han pogrom start­ed the bloody riots last week­end, have main­tained close ties to Ger­many for years. Their Munich-based rep­re­sen­ta­tive, the World Uyghur Con­gress, has been active win­ning west­ern sup­port for Uyghur seces­sion­ist pol­i­cy. Dur­ing its last gen­er­al assem­bly, held last May in Wash­ing­ton, the orga­ni­za­tion planned its next steps. They also have the ear of the Ger­man For­eign Min­istry. The World Uyghur Con­gress had called for anti-Bei­jing demon­stra­tions pre­ced­ing these riots. Accord­ing to Chi­nese reports, the Con­gress is behind last week­end’s bloody vio­lence.

At least 150 peo­ple died in last week­end’s riots in Urumqi, cap­i­tal of Chi­na’s north­west Xin­jiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Ten­sions had been grow­ing for quite some time in that region. In Sep­tem­ber, Uyghur sep­a­ratists are plan­ning protests for the 60th anniver­sary of Xin­jiang’s rein­te­gra­tion into the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of Chi­na. The Tur­kic speak­ing Uyghur, are a Mus­lim minor­i­ty liv­ing in Xin­jiang. Some of them are striv­ing to merge Xin­jiang as “East-Turkestan” with oth­er Tur­kic lan­guage ter­ri­to­ries in Cen­tral Asia and con­sid­er it’s seces­sion from the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of Chi­na a pre­req­ui­site. The ten­sions in Xin­jiang had inten­si­fied at the end of June, when two Uyghurs were killed in the vio­lent con­flict that erupt­ed between Uyghurs and oth­er Chi­nese in South­ern Chi­na. Last week­end Uyghurs start­ed an anti-Chi­nese pogrom in Urumqi, attack­ing non-Uyghurs, their homes and their cars with clubs, stones and knives. It is not known how many non-Uyghurs were killed dur­ing the pogroms and how many Uyghurs died at the hands of Chi­nese secu­ri­ty forces, sup­press­ing the riots.


An orga­ni­za­tion based in Munich, the World Uyghur Con­gress, is esca­lat­ing ten­sions and most like­ly is also behind the calls for last week­end’s eth­nic pogroms. This orga­ni­za­tion is direct­ing the Uyghurs liv­ing in exile in the west. It held its third gen­er­al assem­bly at the end of Mai — in Wash­ing­ton. In this con­text, it, in coop­er­a­tion with the US-Amer­i­can Nation­al Endow­ment for Democ­ra­cy (NED), also orga­nized a “human rights con­fer­ence” focus­ing on “solu­tions for the future of East-Turkestan”. A rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Ger­man Soci­ety for Threat­ened Peo­ples (Gesellschaft für bedro­hte Völk­er — GfbV) was list­ed among the speak­ers. The par­tic­i­pa­tion of US par­lia­men­tar­i­ans at the event[1] was very moti­vat­ing for the Uyghur sep­a­ratists. Sub­se­quent­ly, at the begin­ning of July, the World Uyghur Con­gress called for demon­stra­tions in front of Chi­nese embassies around the world, under the pre­text of protest­ing the deaths of two Uyghurs dur­ing the con­flict in late June in south­ern Chi­na. Accord­ing to the Chi­nese Xin­hua news agency, the calls for the demon­stra­tions were fol­lowed by appeals via inter­net, to be “braver” and “to do some­thing big” — catch words that can be under­stood as a veiled insti­ga­tion to vio­lent action in Xinjiang.[2]

On the Fore­front

The World Uyghur Con­gress draws on decades of anti-Chi­nese Ger­man-US coop­er­a­tion. One of the founders of this orga­ni­za­tion is the promi­nent seces­sion­ist Erkin Alptekin, whose fam­i­ly is held in high esteem in Uyghur cir­cles. He moved to Munich in 1971, where he became “Senior Pol­i­cy Advi­sor” to the direc­tor of the US “Radio Lib­er­ty”. It was at that time, that the CIA began to estab­lish con­tacts to Uyghurs seek­ing seces­sion. “Some, like Erkin Alptekin, who have worked for the CIA’s Radio Lib­er­ty, are — in the mean­time — on the fore­front of the seces­sion­ist move­ment” writes ana­lyst B. Raman, the Indi­an gov­ern­men­t’s for­mer cab­i­net secretary.[3] Alptekin became the found­ing pres­i­dent of the “World Uyghur Con­gress,” estab­lished in Munich in April 2004, which, accord­ing to Bei­jing, has ties to ter­ror­ist milieus.[4]

In the For­eign Min­istry

Alptek­in’s suc­ces­sor Rebiya Kadeer, who, at the end of the 1990s was the rich­est busi­ness woman in the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of Chi­na, has been liv­ing in exile in the Unit­ed States since 2005. In Novem­ber 2006, she was elect­ed pres­i­dent of the World Uyghur Con­gress — in Munich — and, at this occa­sion, vis­it­ed Berlin for the first time. Only a year lat­er, in Octo­ber 2007, she met with rep­re­sen­ta­tives of Ger­man par­ty-affil­i­at­ed foun­da­tions and the Ger­man Bun­destag’s Human Rights Com­mit­tee in addi­tion to hold­ing talks with the Ger­man For­eign Ministry.[5] She is being sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly groomed to become the Uyghur PR over­seas sym­bol — cor­re­spond­ing to the mod­el of the Dalai Lama, appeal­ing for sym­pa­thy for Tibetan sep­a­ratism. Rebiya Kadeer (“Moth­er of the Uyghurs”) has been pro­posed sev­er­al times already as a can­di­date for the Nobel Peace Prize. Her biog­ra­phy was intro­duced in the Ger­man Nation­al Press Con­fer­ence, receiv­ing the Ger­man medi­a’s atten­tion, at the time.

Three Peo­ples

The Ger­man media points with inter­est to the fact that Xin­jiang, the region threat­ened by seces­sion­ists, is very sig­nif­i­cant to Chi­na. It con­sti­tutes a geo-strate­gic bridge­head to Cen­tral Asia and is rich in min­er­al resources; in par­tic­u­lar exten­sive oil and nat­ur­al gas deposits are believed to be in Xin­jiang, as well as gold and ura­ni­um. But above all, the Uyghur seces­sion­ists are in no way act­ing in iso­la­tion. Along­side their con­tacts to west­ern gov­ern­ment cir­cles, they also main­tain close ties to the seces­sion­ists of the autonomous regions of Tibet and Inner Mon­go­lia. “Our three peo­ples are linked through geog­ra­phy, his­to­ry and more recent­ly also Chi­nese occu­pa­tion,” claimed the Dalai Lama in the late 1990s. “I remain opti­mistic that in the not too dis­tant future the true aspi­ra­tions of the peo­ples of East Turkestan, Inner Mon­go­lia and Tibet will be fulfilled.”[6] The sym­pa­thy Berlin feels toward the Uyghur seces­sion­ists is based on hopes that the strate­gic rival, the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of Chi­na, could be seri­ous­ly weak­ened by the loss of an enor­mous amount of ter­ri­to­ry lead­ing from Tibet to Xin­jiang to Inner Mon­go­lia.

“The Future of East Turkestan”; german-foreign-policy.com; 7/07/2009.


One comment for “FTR #727 Whither China?”

  1. http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/01/02/us-china-usa-uighurs-idUSBREA0107R20140102

    Chi­na denounces U.S. for send­ing Uighur ‘ter­ror­ists’ to Slo­va­kia

    BEIJING Thu Jan 2, 2014 3:49am EST

    (Reuters) — Chi­na’s For­eign Min­istry crit­i­cized the Unit­ed States on Thurs­day for send­ing the last three Uighur Chi­nese inmates at the Guan­tanamo Bay deten­tion cen­ter to Slo­va­kia, say­ing they were “ter­ror­ists” who posed a real secu­ri­ty dan­ger.

    Yusef Abbas, Saidul­lah Kha­lik, and Haji­ak­bar Abdul Ghu­per are the last of 22 Mus­lim minor­i­ty Chi­nese nation­als to be moved from the Guan­tanamo Bay mil­i­tary prison in Cuba, accord­ing to the Pen­ta­gon.

    Slo­va­ki­a’s Inte­ri­or Min­istry con­firmed that it would take in the three. Uighurs are a Tur­kic-speak­ing Mus­lim peo­ple from Chi­na’s far west­ern region of Xin­jiang.

    Chi­nese For­eign Min­istry spokesman Qin Gang said the three were mem­bers of the sep­a­ratist East Turkestan Islam­ic Move­ment, which Bei­jing labels a ter­ror group.

    “They are gen­uine ter­ror­ists. They not only threat­en Chi­na’s secu­ri­ty, they will threat­en the secu­ri­ty of the coun­try that receives them,” he told a dai­ly news brief­ing.

    “Chi­na hopes that the rel­e­vant coun­try ... does not give asy­lum to ter­ror­ists, and sends them back to Chi­na as soon as pos­si­ble.”

    Qin added that Chi­na did not appre­ci­ate a recent U.S. State Depart­ment call for Chi­nese secu­ri­ty forces to exer­cise restraint fol­low­ing the lat­est out­break of vio­lence in Xin­jiang, also blamed by Bei­jing on “ter­ror­ists”.

    “These remarks neglect the facts and are fee­ble,” he said. “We urge the Unit­ed States to aban­don their dou­ble stan­dards when it comes to ter­ror­ism, and imme­di­ate­ly stop say­ing one thing and doing anoth­er, to avoid send­ing the wrong mes­sage to vio­lent ter­ror­ist forces.”

    The Unit­ed States said it was grate­ful to Slo­va­kia for its “human­i­tar­i­an ges­ture.”

    Most of the Uighurs at Guan­tanamo were cap­tured near the Pak­istan-Afghanistan bor­der in late 2001, and were believed to have trained with the Tal­iban. But U.S. offi­cials have deemed they pose no threat to the Unit­ed States.

    In 2008, a U.S. court ordered that they be released. They have been reset­tled in El Sal­vador, Switzer­land, Bermu­da, Alba­nia, and the Pacif­ic island nation of Palau.

    The U.S. gov­ern­ment has said it will not return the Uighurs to Chi­na because they would face per­se­cu­tion there.

    Many Uighurs chafe at restric­tions on their cul­ture, lan­guage and reli­gion, though the gov­ern­ment insists it grants them broad free­doms.

    The region has been beset by vio­lence with at least 91 peo­ple, includ­ing sev­er­al police, killed in unrest in Xin­jiang since April, accord­ing to state media reports.

    Chi­na has blamed some of the vio­lence on Islamist mil­i­tants with con­nec­tions to for­eign groups, includ­ing al Qae­da, plot­ting holy war.

    Many rights groups and exiles say Chi­na exag­ger­ates the mil­i­tant threat to jus­ti­fy its firm grip on ener­gy-rich Xin­jiang, which abuts Cen­tral Asia, Afghanistan, Pak­istan and India.

    (Report­ing by Ben Blan­chard; Edit­ing by Robert Birsel)

    Posted by Vanfield | January 5, 2014, 8:04 pm

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