37 Signatures Are Worth a Thousand Words


On a letter of 37 states, including Muslim countries, sent to the United Nations defending China's treatment of the Uyghurs in Xinjiang


By Michael Pröbsting, International Secretary of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 16 July 2019, www.thecommunists.net




The governments of 37 states have written a remarkable letter to the United Nations. In this letter, the signatories express their support for the policies of China’s Stalinist-capitalist regime against its Muslim Uyghur minority.


Faced with the grave challenge of terrorism and extremism, China has undertaken a series of counter-terrorism and deradicalization measures in Xinjiang, including setting up vocational education and training centers. (...) We commend China's remarkable achievements in the field of human rights. (...) We take note that terrorism, separatism and religious extremism has caused enormous damage to people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang. (...) Now safety and security has returned to Xinjiang." [1]


Such words could have been taken from Orwell’s dystopian novel ”1984”! The Muslim Uyghurs are a nationality of an estimated eleven to fifteen million people living in East Turkestan (or Xinjiang as the province is officially called by the Chinese authorities). They have endured long-standing, national oppression by the regime in Beijing. The Chinese ruling class has systematically suppressed the Uyghur population and their culture. It has also implemented a policy of colonizing the province by settling Han Chinese people in order to change the ethnic balance. Many Muslim Uyghurs have been thrown into concentration camps. Last year, the United Nations published a report with shocking details. Gay McDougall, a member of the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, cited “estimates that upwards of a million people were being held in so-called counter-extremism centres and another two million had been forced into so-called “re-education camps” for political and cultural indoctrination. [2]


It is with the utmost cynicism that the signatory states call such oppression “a series of counter-terrorism and deradicalization measures” and even congratulate the regime for its “remarkable achievements in the field of human rights”!


There is an English language adage that makes the point that "A picture is worth a thousand words". In the case of the outrageous letter of sycophantic praise for the Stalinist-capitalist regime in Beijing you could amend that by saying that “37 signatures are worth a thousand words.


It is highly revealing to look at the list of the signatory states. A number of them are traditional and close allies of Chinese imperialism such as Russia, North Korea, Venezuela, Cuba, Myanmar, and Belarus. These, mostly, authoritarian regimes are either Stalinist-capitalist governments or states that camouflage their capitalist policies with “socialist” phrases (North Korea, Cuba, and Venezuela). [3] Or they have, themselves, a notorious record of genocidal oppression of their own Muslim minorities (Russia and Myanmar). [4]


Additional signatories of the letter are the reactionary governments of a number of African countries – from Nigeria to Zimbabwe – that have close economic and political relations with the imperialist “Middle Kingdom”. [5] This reflects, we must note parenthetically, the rise of China as the imperialist Great Power that has now emerged as a direct challenger to the traditional hegemon – the U.S. [6]




The “Muslim” traitors




However, what is particularly revealing is the fact that the list of states supporting this letter is complemented by a number of purportedly “Muslim” states. Among these are Saudi Arabia, Syria, Pakistan, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Algeria, and Bahrain. In the case of Syria, this development is hardly surprising given the fact that the criminal Assad regime has slaughtered more than 600,000 people since the beginning of the Syrian Revolution in March 2011.


However, it is extremely revealing that the official guardians of the Kaaba and the self-proclaimed defenders of the global Muslim ummah have added their names to the list of signers. So, these supposed “defenders of the faith” now congratulate China for the suppression of its Muslim minority and the staunchly conservative and anti-communist states embrace the supposedly “communist” and “atheist” regime?


How can this stunning contradiction be explained? Very simply: money talks! In reality, the Chinese regime has nothing to do with authentic communism that, in contrast to Stalinism, is totally opposed to the persecution of religious minorities. And the so-called “Muslim” governments violate every single of the five pillars of Islam on a daily basis. Is it not illustrative that the Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammad bin Salman, is the “best buddy” of the crook, tax evader, and porn-star-fornicator, Donald Trump?! Their open or concealed support for the Assad tyranny, the barbarous war against the Yemeni people or the cold-blood murder of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi are straightforward proof of their completely villainous character!


“Ideological” pronouncements aside, these capitalist “Muslim” governments and Chinese imperialism jointly enjoy a plethora of commercial and geostrategic interests. And this is what counts in a world dominated by capitalism and the rule of profit! In order to improve their business opportunities, the “Muslim” capitalists have no problem in selling out their Uyghur brothers and sisters.




Erdoğan joins the list of whitewashers




While Turkey, home of a sizeable Uyghur Diaspora, did not sign the letter of shame, one must point out that Erdoğan has also joined the list of whitewashers of China’s policy of oppression against the Uyghur people. In 2009, the Turkish President condemned China’s crackdown on the Uygurs as a “kind of genocide”. However, by 2019 he had changed his tune. Today, Turkey is stuck in a deep financial crisis and wants to join the main global project of Chinese imperialism – the so-called Belt and Road Initiative. [7]


As a result, Erdoğan is now praising the Beijing regime’s policy in East Turkestan. "Turkey stays committed to the one-China policy, Erdogan said, "stressing that residents of various ethnicities living happily in Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region thanks to China's prosperity is a hard fact, and Turkey will not allow anyone to drive a wedge in its relations with China," Xinhua reported. [8]


So, we see, the Uyghurs have been unceremoniously dumped by Erdoğan for better prospects on the auction block of global capitalism. Shame is evidently a word missing from the man’s vocabulary.


There is an additional ancient and famous English proverb asserting that “blood is thicker than water.” Inverting this, we are compelled to update the shifting sentiment by observing that for these types “religious beliefs (and principles) are great but money… is even better”. Better yet, the pursuit of money is their underlying, baseline principle and nothing else even comes close.








As sad as this letter of shame is, it also contains crucial lessons. Most importantly, it demonstrates once more what the RCIT has emphasized again and again: one must not judge political forces by their self-proclaimed ideologies and religious beliefs. Stalin claimed to be a communist but oppressed the people, killed hundreds of thousands of oppositional communists, and deported ethnic minorities like the Crimean Tatars and Chechens. China is headed by a “Communist” party and, at the same time, is home to the largest number of capitalist corporations and billionaires in the world. Shamefully, this regime continues to be hailed by numerous Stalinists and Castro-Chavistas globally. [9]


Likewise, Saudi Arabia is allegedly based on the conservative moral doctrines of Wahhabism and, at the same time, is headed by an utterly decadent and corrupt monarchy that counts among its friends Trump, Putin, and Israel.


No, one must not judge any regime or political force by their words but by their deeds, by their concrete positions in the liberation struggles of workers and oppressed people. And here, we see that these “socialist” and “Muslim” regimes are uniformly on the side of the exploiters and oppressors!


We conclude by repeating that the RCIT has always denounced the Stalinist-capitalist regime in China and its national oppression of the Muslim Uyghur people. [10] Contrary to the cynical denunciations of the Stalinists, the Muslim Uyghurs are waging a just struggle against Han Chinese chauvinism originating in Beijing. We stand in unconditional solidarity with the Muslim Uyghurs and their struggle for national self-determination. We support the struggle of all oppressed nations in China for freedom including the right to form their own nation state. [11]


We also repeat our warning against any illusions in Western imperialism. Washington and Brussels want to exploit China’s domestic problems – similar to attempts of Moscow and Beijing to interfere in the domestic issues of rival Western countries. But the Western Great Powers, equally, have blood on their collective hands – just remember their brutal occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq or Israel’s ongoing oppression of the Palestinian people!


The workers and oppressed around the world must fight for liberation without relying on any of these Great Powers! All Great Powers are complicit as they strive to oppress and exploit the working people – both domestically as well as abroad.


The only way forward is to organize all liberation fighters in a revolutionary party based on a program of independent and international class struggle. Such a struggle must aim for the revolutionary overthrow of all ruling classes and for the creation of a world without classes, without oppression, and without exploitation. We call such a world “socialism”. Join us in the struggle for that just and honest future!




[1] Excerpts of the letter are quoted in Tom Miles: Saudi Arabia and Russia among 37 states backing China's Xinjiang policy, July 12, 2019 / https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-xinjiang-rights/saudi-arabia-and-russia-among-37-states-backing-chinas-xinjiang-policy-idUSKCN1U721X; Muslim countries defend Chinese 'concentration camps', 12 July, 2019 https://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/news/2019/7/12/muslim-countries-defend-chinese-concentration-camps; Patrick Goodenough: China Thanks 37 Countries, Including Islamic States, for Praising Its Uighur Policies, July 15, 2019, https://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/patrick-goodenough/china-thanks-37-countries-including-islamic-states-praising-its

[2] Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination reviews the report of China, UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, 13 August 2018, https://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=23452&LangID=E; see also Al Jazeera: One million Muslim Uighurs held in secret China camps: UN panel, 2018-08-10 https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/08/million-muslim-uighurs-held-secret-china-camps-panel-180810185817270.html

[3] On the RCIT’s assessment of the regime in North Korea see e.g. Michael Pröbsting: Has Capitalist Restoration in North Korea Crossed the Rubicon or Not? 15 July 2018, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/has-capitalist-restoration-in-north-korea-crossed-the-rubicon-or-not/ (see also the RCIT’s literature in the footnotes); on Cuba see e.g. Michael Pröbsting: Cuba’s Revolution Sold Out? The Road from Revolution to the Restoration of Capitalism, RCIT Books, Vienna 2013, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/cuba-s-revolution-sold-out/; on Venezuela see e.g. RCIT: Attempted Coup D'etat in Venezuela: Defeat Guaidó and Trump! https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/latin-america/attempted-coup-d-etat-in-venezuela-defeat-guaido-trump/ (see also the RCIT’s literature in the appendix).

Statement of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 5 May 2019, www.thecommunists.net

[4] On the RCIT’s position on Russia’s oppression of the Chechens resp. the oppression of the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar see e.g. Solidarity with the Liberation Struggle of the Chechen People! February 2018, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/europe/solidarity-with-the-liberation-struggle-of-the-chechen-people/; Myanmar: Solidarity with the Uprising of the Rohingya Muslims! 27.08.2017, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/asia/solidarity-with-rohingya-muslims/

[5] On China’s role in Africa see e.g. RCIT: Theses on Capitalism and Class Struggle in Black Africa, 13 April 2017, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/africa-theses/ (Part II).

[6] For the RCIT’s analysis of China as an imperialist Great Power we refer readers to the literature mentioned in the special sub-section on our website: https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/china-russia-as-imperialist-powers/. In particular we refer to Michael Pröbsting: Anti-Imperialism in the Age of Great Power Rivalry. The Factors behind the Accelerating Rivalry between the U.S., China, Russia, EU and Japan. A Critique of the Left’s Analysis and an Outline of the Marxist Perspective, RCIT Books, January 2019, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/anti-imperialism-in-the-age-of-great-power-rivalry/; Michael Pröbsting: The China-India Conflict: Its Causes and Consequences. What are the background and the nature of the tensions between China and India in the Sikkim border region? What should be the tactical conclusions for Socialists and Activists of the Liberation Movements? 18 August 2017, Revolutionary Communism No. 71, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/china-india-rivalry/; Michael Pröbsting: The China Question and the Marxist Theory of Imperialism, December 2014, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/reply-to-csr-pco-on-china/; Michael Pröbsting: China‘s transformation into an imperialist power. A study of the economic, political and military aspects of China as a Great Power, in: Revolutionary Communism No. 4, http://www.thecommunists.net/publications/revcom-number-4.

[7] See on this e.g. Cary Huang: Erdogan abandoned the Uygurs to court China. Will he do same to the US? South China Morning Post, 14 July 2019 https://www.scmp.com/week-asia/opinion/article/3018420/erdogan-abandoned-uygurs-court-china-will-he-do-same-us; Sun Haoran: Xi meets with Erdogan on BRI, ties, Global Times 2019/7/2 http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1156561.shtml; Killian Cogan: Turkey abandons Uighurs in favor of Chinese investment, January 9, 2019 https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2019/01/turkey-renounces-historic-defense-of-uighurs.html#ixzz5cATfhaPk; Li Weijian: Economic interests define Erdogan’s China visit, Global Times 2019/7/1 http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1156382.shtml 

[8] Quoted in Turkey's President Erdogan claims Muslim Uighur minority 'live happily' in China, despite abuse reports, 3 July, 2019 https://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/news/2019/7/3/erdogan-says-muslim-uighur-minority-live-happily-in-xinjiang

[9] See on this e.g. chapter “VIII. Revisionist Whitewashing: Stalinist and Bolivarian Admirers of Beijing’s “Socialism”” in “Anti-Imperialism in the Age of Great Power Rivalry”.

[10] See e.g. Michael Pröbsting: China: Defend the Muslim Uyghurs against Oppression! 18.10.2018, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/asia/china-defend-the-muslim-uyghurs-against-oppression/; TV Discussion about the Situation of the Muslim Uyghurs in China, Report (with Pictures and Video) by the Austrian Section of the RCIT, 25 March 2019, https://www.thecommunists.net/rcit/tv-discussion-about-the-situation-of-the-muslim-uyghurs-in-china/

[11] See on this the relevant chapters on national oppression in the programs of the RCIT: Manifesto for Revolutionary Liberation (Chapter IV), October 2016, https://www.thecommunists.net/rcit-program-2016/; The Revolutionary Communist Manifesto (Chapter V), 2012, https://www.thecommunists.net/rcit-manifesto/; see also Michael Pröbsting: The Struggle for Democracy in the Imperialist Countries Today, August 2015, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/democracy-vs-imperialism/