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FBI Reform: Eurasia Review: The Han Supremacists Of China – OpEd


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‘Sinicization’ is defined as bringing people who are not of Chinese
descent under the influence of Chinese culture. Truly speaking, it is a
process where societies that are traditionally non-Chinese are put under
the influence of the Han Chinese communities, by adapting to their
culture, customs, and way of life.

Along with Dr. Imtyaz (an area specialist on ethnic and minority studies) I have been calling the process of Sinicization, as practiced by the government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), as Hanification (a term which has become more common these days compared to more than half a decade ago when we first used it). It is essentially a supremacist policy. It aims to cement the supremacy of the Han Chinese majority through the PRC’s government policies of imposed acculturation, forced assimilation, or cultural imperialism on non-Han citizens of the state.

The spoken language of the Han Chinese is Mandarin. There are 292
non-Mandarin languages spoken by other non-Han (and yet native)
nationalities in today’s China.

Although mainland China today is a people’s republic – or more
properly, a communist-ruled state with managed capitalism – that is run
by Han Chinese, it had a long history as a multi-ethnic empire when
Sinicization accommodated and respected diversity, thus, allowing others
– the non-Han communities – to strengthen the cultural influence of
imperial China.

Consider, e.g., the case of Sayyid Ajjal Shams al-Din Omar, a Muslim
(of Bukhara), who was the governor of Yunnan (located in south-west part
of today’s China) under the (non-Han) Mongol-founded Yuan dynasty
(1271-1368 CE).

After conquering the Bai Kingdom of Dali, Sayyid Ajjall promoted
Sinicization of the non-Han Chinese peoples in Yunnan during his reign.
He founded a “Chinese style” city where modern Kunming is today, called
Zhongjing Cheng.

Both Confucianism and Islam were promoted by Sayyid Ajall in his
“civilizing mission” during his time in Yunnan. He ordered that a
Buddhist temple, a Confucian temple, and two mosques be built in the
city. The Confucian temple that Sayyid Ajjall built in 1274, which also
doubled as a school, was the first Confucian temple ever to be built in
Yunnan. After his death, his son Nasir al-Din became the Governor of
Yunnan in 1279.

Admiral Zheng He (1371-1435), a great-great-great-grandson of Sayyid
Ajjal Shams al-Din Omar, served as commander of the southern capital
Nanjing (the capital was later moved to Beijing by the Yongle Emperor).
He commanded expeditionary treasure voyages to Southeast Asia, South
Asia, Western Asia, and East Africa from 1405 to 1433 and built mosques
on his traveled lands.

Six of Ming dynasty (1368-1644) founder Hongwu Emperor’s most trusted
generals are said to have been Muslim, including Lan Yu who, in 1388,
led a strong imperial Ming army out of the Great Wall and won a decisive
victory over the Mongols in Mongolia, effectively ending the Mongol
dream to re-conquer China.

During the war fighting the Mongols, among the Ming Emperor Zhu
Yuanzhang’s armies was the Hui Muslim Feng Sheng. When the Qing dynasty
invaded the Ming dynasty in 1644, Muslim Ming loyalists led by Muslim
leaders Milayin, Ding Guodong, and Ma Shouying led a revolt in 1646
against the Qing during the Milayin rebellion in order to drive the Qing
out and restore the Ming Prince of Yanchang Zhu Shichuan to the throne
as the emperor.

The Muslim Ming loyalists were crushed by the Qing with 100,000 of
them, including Milayin and Ding Guodong killed. The Muslim Ming
loyalists were joined by Tibetans and Han Chinese in the revolt.

The rulers of the Qing dynasty (1644-1911) were ethnic Manchus, who
were a minority. They developed a sense of Manchu identity and used
Central Asian models of rule as much as Confucian ones. Nevertheless,
there is also evidence of Sinicization. For example, Manchus originally
had their own separate style of naming from the Han Chinese, but
eventually adopted Han Chinese naming practices.

The Qing dynasty witnessed multiple revolts. In 1759 Manchu Qing
emperor Qianlong defeated the Jungar Mongols and completed the conquest
of Dzungaria. It committed genocide by liquidating the entire Dzungar
nation, almost to the last baby; those who survived were killed by the
following epidemic of smallpox; total loss of the population in
Dzungaria reached 1,000,000, transforming it eventually into the Land without people.

Concurrently, the Qing Dynasty occupied the Altishahr region of
Eastern Turkestan, which had been settled by the followers of the Muslim
political and religious leader Afaq Khoja. After the Qing conquest, the
Chinese began to incorporate Altishahr and the Tarim Basin into their
empire. The territory came to be known as Xinjiang. This resulted in a
substantial resistance movement against the Qing rule, led by the
Khojijan princes of Kashgar (officially named Kashi), which continued
for decades until the Manchus were overthrown by the Kuomintang
revolution of 1912. Between 1759 and 1862 the Uyghurs – the natives of
East Turkestan who are Muslim by faith and are ethnically Turkic –
revolted 42 times against the rulers of the Qing Dynasty.

The Ush rebellion in 1765 by Uyghurs against the Manchus occurred
after some Uyghur women were gang raped by the servants and son of
Manchu official Su-cheng. The Manchu Emperor ordered that all the
Uyghurs in the rebel town be massacred. Accordingly, the Qing forces
enslaved all the Uyghur children and women and slaughtered the Uyghur
men. The heinous crimes against Muslim Uyghurs, including raping Uyghur
women, caused massive hatred and anger by Uyghur Muslims to the criminal
Manchu rule. The anti-Muslim attitudes of the Qing officials resulted
in attempted uprisings by Hui and Salar Chinese Muslims in 1781-84, who
had hitherto tried to remain neutral.

The liberation of Kashgar (1818-28) by Jahangir Khoja was preceded by
the rape of a Muslim girl by another Manchu official, Binjing. Such
rape of Muslim women by Manchu officials became quite common enraging
many Muslims. The Qing dynasty sought to cover up the rape of Uyghur
women by Manchus to prevent anger against their rule from spreading
among the Uyghurs.

The Manchu official Shuxing’a started an anti-Muslim massacre which
led to the Panthay Rebellion, which occurred in Yunnan province from
1855 to 1873, and the Dungan revolt, which occurred mostly in Xinjiang,
Shensi and Gansu, from 1862 to 1877. He ordered several Muslim rebels to
be sliced to death in a slow and painful way. The Manchu government
ordered the execution of all rebels, killing a million people in the
Panthay rebellion, and several million in the Dungan revolt.

During the waning years of Quing dynasty, some Muslim generals like
Ma Qianling and Ma Fuxiang, played important roles to strengthen
Sinicization of the conquered territories. The Hui Muslim 36th Division
(National Revolutionary Army) governed southern Xinjiang in 1934–37. A
Muslim army called the Kansu Braves led by General Dong Fuxiang fought
for the Qing dynasty against the foreigners during the Boxer Rebellion
(1899-1901). They included well known generals like Ma Anliang, Ma Fulu,
and Ma Fuxiang.

After the fall of the Qing Dynasty, Sun Yat-sen, who established the
Republic of China on Jan. 1, 1912, immediately proclaimed that the
country belonged equally to the Han, Man (Manchu), Meng (Mongol), Hui
(Muslim), Tsang (Tibetan), and Miao peoples. Uyghur nationalism become a
grave challenge to the post Qing warlords controlling Xinjiang. Twice,
in 1933-34 and 1944-49, the Uyghurs successfully regained their
independence for East Turkestan Republic.

During the rule of the Kuomintang party, the Kuomintang appointed the
Muslim chiefs of the family known as the Ma clique (in Northwestern
China) as the Military Governors of the provinces of Qinghai, Gansu and
Ningxia for 10 years from 1919 until 1928. Bai Chongxi was a Muslim
General (1926-49) and Defence Minister (1946-48) of China during this
time. He rejoined the Central Government at the invitation of Chiang
Kai-shek in 1937 and took a leading role as a strategist and Chief of
the General Staff (1937-49) in liberating China from Japanese invaders.

During the Second Sino-Japanese war (1937-1945), the Japanese
destroyed 220 mosques and killed countless Hui Muslims by April 1941.
The Hui Muslim county of Dachang was subjected to slaughter by the
Japanese forces. During the Rape of Nanking (1937) the Mosques in
Nanjing were flowing with dead bodies after the Japanese slaughters.
Japanese smeared Hui Mosques with pork fat, forcing Hui girls to serve
as sex slaves and destroyed the Muslim cemeteries of the Hui. Many Hui,
Turkic Salar, Dongxiang, and Bonan Muslims fought in the war against
Japan. Besides Bai, Ma Bufang and Ma Bufang served as Muslim generals
against the Japanese occupation forces. Ethnic Turkic Salar Muslims made
up the majority of the first cavalry division which was sent by Ma
Bufang.

The Chinese communist party during the civil war (against the
nationalist forces of Chiang Kaishek) promised that ethnic groups in
regions such as Mongolia, Tibet and Xinjiang would be free to choose
their own future.

However, as soon as they came to power, Chairman Mao Zedong
repudiated self-determination as an option and rejected any prospect of
dividing China into federated republics. Instead, he created the concept
of “autonomous regions, provinces and districts” within which the
various ethnic groups were promised “equality” with the Chinese Han
majority. The Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region was proclaimed in 1955.
In fact, as the most westerly outpost of the Chinese empire, Xinjiang
has always been treated in a typical colonial fashion by whichever
faction ruled in Beijing-Feudalists, Nationalists and Communists-since
the Manchu dynasty. In 1949, East Turkestan’s (Uighur) rulers did not
agree to form a confederate relation within Mao Zedong’s People’s
Republic of China.

After the communists came to power, Muslim Kuomintang National
Revolutionary Army forces in Northwest China, in Gansu, Qinghai,
Ningxia, Xinjiang, as well as Yunnan, continued an unsuccessful
insurgency against the communists from 1950 to 1958, after the general
civil war was over.

During Mao’s communist rule, the slow process of Sinicization was
changed to an aggressive and a violent one. In the last 70 years, the
Muslim population, which once numbered more than 10% before the
communist revolution, has been brought down to less than 20-50 million
today (less than pre-1949 figures) within an overall population of 1.4
billion, thus, accounting for anywhere between 1.5 to 3.5 percent only.
During the Cultural Revolution (1966-75), mosques along with other
religious buildings were often defaced, destroyed or closed and copies
of the Qur’an were destroyed along with temples and churches. Muslims
were forced to renounce Islam, raise pigs and eat haram (religiously
forbidden) food. In 1975, in what would be known as the Shadian
incident, the PLA (People’s Liberation Army) massacred 1,600 Hui
Muslims.

After the death of Chairman Mao in 1976, the communist party-state began to relax its policies towards Muslims in 1978. However, the PRC has become a state of, for and by the Han Chinese via the all-too-obvious supremacist Hanification process that has seemingly reached its climax under its new chairman Xi Jinping! Thus, the disappearance and detention of a million Uighurs in Xinjiang who face a socio-cultural genocide today with their rights robbed is a footnote – albeit a big one – in Chinese history in that calculus of Hanification.

The post The Han Supremacists Of China – OpEd appeared first on Eurasia Review.

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