1999, by Erkin Alptekin
Paper presented at “Exposing Communist Chinese Government Influence in America” Conference, Orlando, Florida May 15, 1999
Throughout centuries, China’s policy towards its neighbors has been based on deception, falsification and exploitation.
The following record, written by the great Chinese historian Pan Ku of the Han Dynasty (206 BC- 200 AD), exemplifies the mainstream of Chinese policy towards it’s neighbors:
“…Punish them when they intrude and guard against them when they retreat. Receive them when they offer tribute as a sign of admiration for our righteousness. Restrain them continually, make it appear that all the blame is on their side. This is the proper policy of sage rulers towards the barbarians…”
The famous Chinese philosopher Wang Fu Zhi, who lived during the 17th century, wrote as follows: “…It is no injustice to conquer the lands of barbarians. It is not an inhuman act to kill barbarians. It is not dishonest to deceive barbarians…”
The Chinese have a wise saying “Yi Yi Zhi Yi,” which means ‘rule a barbarian through a barbarian’. They have another proverb, “ning zhing weygo bugi jano,” which means,” I might make concessions to distant lands, but I shall permit no right to the bondsman under my own rule.”
The first Turkic ruler who became aware of this policy was Bilge Khagan (716-734). In his appeal carved into the stones known as the Orkhun Inscriptions, 1260 year ago Bilge Khagan warned the Turkic peoples with these words:
“…The expression of the Chinese are flowery and their gifts are pleasant… Their flowery words and pleasant gifts appeal to the peoples living far off…Thereafter they spread the seeds of intrigues… Able and good minded people are not allowed to do their work… Many Turkic tribes died when they were attracted by the flowery words and pleasant gifts of the Chinese…As the Chines are very cunning, they induced the younger brother to rise against the elder…Turkic Khagans (rulers) came into conflict with their people… As a result, the lands of the Turkic peoples were subject to decay and the independent Turkic khanates perished… Although the Turkic peoples gave all their support to them, yet the Chinese emperors wanted to exterminate the Turkic peoples and root them out… O the Turkic peoples wake up and return to yourself before it is too late…”
But unfortunately, our forefathers did not wake up. They did not return to their selves. It was too late. As a result, one after the other the Turkic khanates became a prey of the Chinese rulers. After conquering the lands of the Turkic peoples, the successive Chinese regimes have all pursued a policy of systematic assimilation aimed at the Turkic peoples, eliminating their culture and exterminating their belief.
Moreover, under Chinese domination modern literature is charged with falsifying Turkic history, culture and civilization.
The well-known western scholar and sinologist Prof. Wolfram Eberhard, in his work entitled “The Northern Neighbors of China”, published in Ankara, in 1947,writes that the Chinese sources gives one-sided information concerning its neighbors such as the Turkic peoples, the Tibetans and the Mongols. Thus, he suggests that it is vitally important to check other independent sources before coming to a final conclusion concerning the history, culture and civilization of these peoples.
German scholar, Anna Marie von Gabain, in her scientific work entitled “The Daily Life of Uighurs in the Kingdom of Karahoja”, published in Germany in 1973, wrote that “the Chinese have continuously falsified the Uighur history, undermined their belief and exploited their culture.”
Allow me to site some concrete examples of Chinese distortions of Uighur history, belief and culture.
Uighur studies in Japan dates back from the 19th century when Prof. Sharatori published the first scientific research on the Uighurs in 1889. By 1942 Prof. Sharatori, had written several valuable works on the Uighurs, including the important two-volume “History of the Tarim Basin”. In this book Prof. Sharatori offered scientific evidence that Eastern Turkestan was the original homeland of the Uighurs.
In 1963 another Japanese scholar, Sagachi Toro, published his work entitled “Social Life in Eastern Turkestan in 18th and 19th Centuries.” This book was an important contribution not only to Japanese scholarship, but also to the worldwide body of knowledge on the subject. It also demonstrated that Uighurs were the ancient inhabitants of Eastern Turkestan, with a rich culture and civilization as old as China’s.
In 1970 the established Japanese scholar Massado Hasau published a book entitled “The History and the Geography of the Celestial Mountains” based on many years of hard research. This book explained that Eastern Turkestan had been the cradle of Turkic history, culture and civilization from very ancient times and documented how Uighurs have lived on both side of the Celestial Mountains (known to the Uighurs as Han Tengri or Tengri Tagh).
Despite the scientific nature of these works Chinese scholars have attempted to rewrite the facts in order to prove that “Eastern Turkestan belonged to the Chinese from the times of Stone Ages”. Without obtaining the permission of Prof. Sagochi, a Chinese translation of his book was published changing even the name “Eastern Turkestan” to “Xinjiang”. Faced with the falsification of his work Prof. Sagochi was forced to officially protest.
Subsequently Chinese scholar Chin Chun Mo, translated Prof. Masado Hasau’s book openly falsifying its contents. In the introduction to his version the Chinese translator wrote:
“…This book is valuable research of the area Tengri Tagh, but the author of the book, because of his ignorance, made many mistakes in compiling his work. I have thus tried to correct his mistakes as far as I could. I hope the reader will forgive me if I have missed some mistakes…”
Reading these words one might think that Chinese scholars often spend more time “correcting” works that do not serve the interest of current Chinese policy than troubling themselves to do research which would add to scientific knowledge.
Nationalist Chinese Prof. Li Dung Fang, in his articles published in “Altay Journal,” in 1947, tried to prove that the Uighurs and the Chinese shared a common ancestry. Later, Chinese Communist Prof. Geng Shimen also enthusiastically supported his theory.
In April 1987, hundreds of Kazakh students from six colleges, including Ili Teachers College, went on strike to protests the publication in October 1987 of the novel “White House in the Distance” in a Chinese writer’s literary bimonthly. In the view of the Kazakh students the depiction of a fickle and lascivious woman toward the end of the last century distorted the habits and customs of Kazakhs and insulted the pride of Turkic people.
In December 1988 hundreds of Uighur Students staged a march in Beijing to protest the showing of two films of historical fiction that the Uighur students found disrespectful to the race. One of the films was about the 18th century Uighur heroine, Ipar Han, who fought together with her husband, Jihangir Khoja, the ruler of Eastern Turkestan, against the Manchu-Chinese. When the Manchu Chinese emperor Chien Lung captured her she killed herself rather than marry him. For this she is honored by the Uighurs as the “Mother of Uighur Pride.” The historical facts had been distorted by the film’s Chinese makers.
The book “Sex Habits”, published by the Shanghai Cultural House, has seriously besmirched Islam, harmed religious feelings and created resentment among Muslims in China. In May 1989, thousands of Muslims staged protest marches in Beijing, Shansi, Gansu and Qinghai Provinces. Thousands of Eastern Turkestanis, such as the Uighurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz etc. staged fierce demonstrations throughout the country. In the city of Urumchi, the seats of several official buildings were stormed. During the resulting clashes with security forces three people were killed, 152 people were wounded and 53 cars were burnt.
Fearing persecution, Turkic scholars are hesitant to write on any topic which is not of the interest of the Chinese Communist Party. If a Turkic scholar writes about the history, culture or civilization he is accused of propagating “nationalism”, “separatism” and “endangering the unity of the great motherland”. These scholars are punished, their works, banned and their publishing houses closed.
In May 1991, for example, Chinese authorities launched a scathing attack on three books, “The Hun”, “Ancient Uighur Literature” and the “Uighur People” , published in Eastern Turkestan. The books were denounced for trying to break up the country and create an independent Eastern Turkestan. Although printed by a government-publishing house, the books have been banned. The books were accused of brazenly advocating independence, agitating for splitting the country and harming ethnic unity and damaging the unity of the “great motherland” .
The harshest attack was leveled against the book entitled, “The Uighur People” by Turghun Almas, a well-known Uighur scholar, writer and poet, living in Eastern Turkestan. As a result, Turghun Almas was put under house arrest for a very long time.
As it can be seen from the examples given above, all these publications serve one aim: falsifying history to prove that Eastern Turkestan belonged since Stone Ages to China and undermining Turkic beliefs, culture and traditions.
Thus, under these circumstances, The Splendid China, in Florida, must be seen as a part of China’ s long term propaganda campaigns. As a matter of fact, in a Chinese classified document leaked from Beijing in 1993 briefly states the following:
We must start to infiltrate our propaganda into the mainstream life of the West by using cultural exhibits, because culture is easily acceptable by people of different ideologies, different countries, different races and different classes. It is very infiltrating and influential. It plays a role of imperceptible influence…”
(China’s Public Relations Strategy on Tibet: Report from Beijing Propaganda Confernce held in March 1993)
The leaked propaganda plans also specifically say that Chinese propaganda should be stepped up in major Western countries. United States is the only super power that could influence China. There is also a great support for the Tibetan cause in the United States. Moreover, one of China’s greatest fears is the internationalization of the question of Eastern Turkestan. For instance, Prof. Lu Fan Zhi, a member of the Beijing Academy of Science, in his article published on Sing Tao Daily, published in Hong Kong, on May 25, 1902, wrote the following:
The case of Tibet is worldwide known… But they are isolated in their separatist movement. Although the case of Xinjiang is not known, they have millions of related peoples in the neighboring Central Asian Republics, who share the same history, culture, language and civilizations. In the course of a major uprising in Xinjiang, they can voluntarily come to their ethnic brothers. Thus, the situation in Xinjiang is more threatening than in Tibet…”
In this manner, everything must be down to avoid the internationalization of the question of Eastern Turkestan, especially in the United States. The secret Chinese Communist Party Central Committee Document released in March 1996, briefly states the following:
“…Considering the ethnic separatism activities outside of the border, carry out all necessary dialogue and struggle… And be especially vigilant against and prevent, by all means, the outside separatist forces from making the so-called ‘Eastern Turkestan’ problem international… Develop several types propaganda…”
Chinese Communist Party Document Number 7; March 21, 1996
Propaganda means psychological warfare. The aim of the psychological warfare is to influence public opinion by spreading false beliefs, ideas, news etc. It is ironic that the Chinese Communist leaders sees fit to exploit the cultural heritage of the Turkic peoples at the same time it is systematically undermining and destroying at home.
It is vitally important to continuously encounter propaganda based on false beliefs, ideas, news etc. Otherwise, in the long run, there is always the danger that such propaganda could be legitimized in the eyes of the world public.