October 31, 2007
Haiku for the Sugar Beet Harvest
by prisoners and peasants
makes our lives sweeter.
As always, you can mouse-over each picture for a brief explanation. Continue below for a closer look at those prisoners, who are understandably surprised to see a laowai photographing them in the middle of nowhere.
Wow. I must be really, really bored if I'm finding myself amused by sugar beets. Oh, and also...
HAPPY HALLOWEEN! Bwah hah hah hah hah.
posted October 31, 2007 at 08:39 AM unofficial Xinjiang time | Comments (48)
October 29, 2007
Stop the Spread of Nanheyangrouchuan!
Sure, like most luminaries inhabiting the China blogosphere I sometimes get comments from Nanheyangrouchuan. (I'm leaving off the last "r" because I don't believe in Beijing-accented pinyin.) And yes, the guy can be so comprehensively negative about China that it makes you want to crawl into bed and die. But does that mean he's worthy as a topic of discussion for other bloggers?
The rhetorical answer is "no"... errrr, well, I mean "yes". After all, I'm writing about him here (assuming he's a man) and wasted a good chunk of time creating the graphic above. Recent coverage spotlighting Nanheyangrouchuan can be found on China Law Blog, Peking Duck, and now on China, Eat My Lamb Kebab! written by the prolific commenter himself. (He's a crafty one... writing from the safety of Blogspot where no one in China can read it!)
For those of you not familiar with Nanheyangrouchuan, he's the Internet's most omnipresent and reviled China-hater. He's posted more than 40 comments to this site, which is nothing compared to the 532 comments he's made over at China Law Blog. People often find his comments rude, racist, derogatory, and generally offensive... but my own personal opinion is that one of his comments is worth its weight in gold for the 10+ opposing responses thus generated.
As far as I can tell, Nanheyangrouchuan probably also wins the award for the most "meta-" person on the planet. First of all, he finds time to comment like nobody else. Second, his comments generate responses, the content of which is usually more focused on him than on the original subject. Third, bloggers post entries specifically to further discuss his comments and apparent lack of self-control when it comes to China-related anger. Fourth, Nanheyangrouchuan writes a blog to talk more about all of the people talking about him. Fifth, I post this entry to talk about the first four levels of "meta-". Sixth... I can only hope that Nanheyangrouchuan will post a comment below in response to this entry.
Ladies and gentlemen, I have demonstrated clearly that if we do not act now, Nanheyangrouchuan will soon consume the entire China blogosphere and perhaps, one day, the entire "series of tubes". Can anything be done to stop this spreading menace? I think not. So, let me be the first to nominate our kebab-loving friend as MASTER of the UNIVERSE, with myself as humble Viceroy of Xinjiang.
posted October 29, 2007 at 03:07 PM unofficial Xinjiang time | Comments (75)
October 22, 2007
The Great Game in Rhyming Verse
Another taste of somewhat Xinjiang-related historical material for all you fans of "The Great Game".
The following cartoon and rhyming verse was originally published in Punch, Vol. 101 October 17, 1891. (Accessed via the archives of Project Guttenberg, which seem to be blocked in China today.) The links I've added to the poem are meant to illuminate any potentially obscure references:
["The journal (the Grashdanin) is of opinion that in making common cause with the other European Powers against China, Russia would but serve the ends of ... England to the prejudice of her own interests, which demand that she should not jeopardise the security of her Asiatic shores, or contribute to the complete ascendancy of Great Britain in the Pacific Ocean, by arousing the antagonism of China."—Times.]
"Won't you help me bind the Dragon?"
says the Briton to the Russ.
Oho! ingenuous JOHNNY! I'm opposed to needless fuss,
And have other fish to fry — say near the Oxus! Not a hang
Do I care for what may happen on the great Yang-tse-Kiang.
I approve Non-intervention. 'Tis your favourite doctrine, JOHN,
And you stick to it so closely, and that's just why you get on.
If you think that Dragon's dangerous —
I hold 'tis but his play! —
There's but one thing you've got to do —
clear out of the brute's way.
I am sure he doesn't want you
where you've stayed a deal too long;
He wishes you would up and go to — well not to Hong-Kong,
But the natural home of all such "Foreign Devils," in his view.
Why, he's none too sweet on Me, JOHN; is it likely he'd like you?
Grattez le Russe—et cetera. You are mighty fond, J.B.,
Of quoting that stale epigram. You fancy it riles me.
Not a bit of it, my Briton; Tartars have a thickish skin,
And your foe and I are neighbours, nay a distant sort of kin.
The Mantchus and the Romanoffs are not exactly chums,
And a Tartar insurrection, when that little trouble comes,
As it may do if you press too much at Pekin, well, who knows?
There is always something pleasing in the quarrels of one's foes.
The Mantchus miss a many of once subject Tartar tribes
Who have — gravitated Russwards. Little call for blows or bribes
To make blood-relations mingle. On the Mantchus this may jar,
But we've not forgotten Kuldja, and we recollect Kashgar.
Wheels within wheels, dear JOHNNY! As to missionaries, well,
They are troublesome—and useful; but to put things all pell-mell
On account of priests and parsons, and of quite an alien creed,
That's scarce "diplomatic," JOHNNY; it is not, dear boy, indeed.
A new Tamerlane, my JOHNNY, who could stir the Tartar hordes
To — say "Asiatic Concert," — well,
you know that thought affords
To your talky "Only General" a quite sensational theme.
But prophecy's not "business," JOHN,
and CÆSAR should not dream.
Oh! the world is full of Bogies. I'm the biggest of them all
In the minds of many croakers who ne'er saw the Chinese Wall,
But are frightened at the spreading of my kindred — on the map;
For I'm semi-Asiatic, and half Tartar, dear old chap.
Now put this and that together, think of Pamir, Turkestan,
Of Persia, of the Dardanelles! — I think you'll see, old man,
That though this ramping Dragon you may wish to tie and tame,
A Benevolent Neutrality is rather more my game.
Simply charming verse, wouldn't you agree? And somehow, Russia is still the same thorn in the side of global interventionists that it was more than a hundred years ago. The more things change....
posted October 22, 2007 at 12:44 PM unofficial Xinjiang time | Comments (40)
October 20, 2007
Up to Xinjiang, Down to the Cultural Revolution
I've been playing around with The New York Times Archive online, which is now accessible as far back as 1851, since it opened up a few weeks ago. My parents back in the U.S. get daily delivery of the paper, so I'm able to access PDFs of up to 100 archive articles every month free of charge. Fun reading when you've got nothing else to do.
Of course, I've got to give some credit to Davesgonechina over at Mutant Palm who has come up with a simple solution for showcasing very old news (here and here). Namely, that solution is to exhibit the news as it originally appeared and let readers draw their own conclusions.
So, first an article from October 12, 1964:
Ah, the early days of the Bingtuan. Of course, all of those unwanted teenagers — in Xinjiang and everywhere else in China — were soon to throw the country into a chaotic hell that most people still don't fully appreciate. It's no coincidence that the events described in the article below from January 28, 1967 took place in Shihezi, the capital of the Bingtuan:
Isn't history great? That photo, by the way, was taken from the Bingtuan's online archive of photos celebrating their 50th anniversary. I can't seem to find it anymore. (Ooops. The archive is here.)
Just to whet the appetite of all you history buffs out there, I'm working on the quirky story of an English pickle magnate who would be king of Islamistan (the name he chose for Xinjiang) back in the 1930s. I'm waiting for one additional resource to be emailed to me before the story is ready, but I'll get there eventually.
posted October 20, 2007 at 08:50 AM unofficial Xinjiang time | Comments (70)
October 18, 2007
Overheard at the Capitol
posted October 18, 2007 at 10:54 AM unofficial Xinjiang time | Comments (79)
October 17, 2007
In Your Face, China!
Can you believe that the U.S. Congress is giving a personalized gold medal to that splittist, cult-loving, motherland hater He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named? (OK, I'll say it... Dalai Lama, Dalai Lama, Dalai Lama!) I mean, imagine a scenario in opposite world where Pakistan bestows a platinum dictator's award to Osama bin-Laden while simultaneously trying to remain friendly with America. That should give you a pretty good idea of the shitstorm currently brewing in China.
Of course, that gold medal sure is purty. Speaking of which, how much does it cost for the U.S. Treasury to strike a single gold medal? More than all the tsampa in Tibet, is my guess. They should have at least made a Dalai Lama dollar coin from the mold.
The quote of the day comes from the Dalai Lama, regarding his relationship with President George W. Bush:
We know each other, and we have developed, I think, a very close friendship — something like a reunion of one family.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know... this post is ironic and sarcastic to the point of having absolutely no meaning. So? What are you gonna do? Sue me in a Chinese court?
UPDATE: Now that I look around after writing this entry I realize that I may have subconsciously stolen the title after seeing the Drudge Report using "Take that, China!". Actually, it was "TAKE THAT, CHINA!". OK, enough metacommentary... one musn't use italics forever.
Bush Attempts To Balance Dalai Lama And Chinese Diplomacy
17 October 2007
Dow Jones International News
(c) 2007 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
WASHINGTON (AP)--U.S. officials have taken pains to keep a private meeting between President George W. Bush and the Dalai Lama from further infuriating China, which reviles the Buddhist leader: no media access, not even a handout photo.
There was to be little subtlety for plans Wednesday, however, when Bush and the U.S.'s most powerful lawmakers host an elaborate public ceremony in the Capitol Rotunda to award the exiled spiritual head of Tibet's Buddhists with Congress' highest civilian award.
It is a delicate bit of diplomatic balancing. Bush wants to ease anger in China, a growing economic and military powerhouse that the U.S. needs to manage nuclear standoffs with Iran and North Korea. He also wants to be seen as a champion of religious freedom and human rights.
The Dalai Lama, for his part, seemed unconcerned about China's furious reaction to his half-hour meeting Tuesday with Bush in the White House and the presentation Wednesday of the prestigious Congressional Gold Medal.
"That always happens," he said with a laugh, speaking to reporters gathered outside his hotel.
The White House played down the meeting with Bush in the presidential residence section of the White House and dismissed China's warning that this week's events would damage relations between Washington and Beijing. The Dalai Lama travels to Indiana next week for a six-day visit to Bloomington and West Lafayette.
The Dalai Lama is lauded in much of the world as a figure of moral authority, but Beijing demonizes the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize laureate and claims he seeks to destroy China's sovereignty by pushing for independence for Tibet.
The Dalai Lama says he wants "real autonomy" for Tibet, not independence. He is immensely popular in the Himalayan region, which China has ruled with a heavy hand since its communist-led forces invaded in 1951. He has lived with followers in exile in India since fleeing Chinese soldiers in Tibet in 1959.
China has demanded that the U.S. cancel this week's celebrations. Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi in Beijing said the events "seriously wounded the feelings of the Chinese people and interfered with China's internal affairs."
"China is strongly resentful of and resolutely opposes this and has made solemn representation to the U.S. side," Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said in a comment carried Wednesday by the official Xinhua News Agency.
"We seriously urged the U.S. side to correct such wrong doing and stop interfering in China's internal affairs in any forms," Liu said.
Chinese state media declared earlier Wednesday the U.S. "must be held responsible for the consequences."
"We are not willing to see damage done to relations between the two countries, but this event will certainly cast a shadow over the relations," the official China Daily newspaper said in an unsigned editorial.
At the White House, presidential spokesman Tony Fratto said the United States understands China's concerns. But he also said Bush always has attended congressional award presentation ceremonies, has met with the Dalai Lama several times before and had no reason not to meet with him again.
No media access was allowed to Bush's meeting Tuesday. In a departure from normal procedure, the administration released no photos of the meeting either - a testament to the sensitivity of the matter.
"We in no way want to stir the pot and make China feel that we are poking a stick in their eye for a country that we have a lot of relationships with on a variety of issues," White House press secretary Dana Perino said. "And this might be one thing that we can do. But I don't believe that that's going to soothe the concerns in China."
U.S. lawmakers regularly criticize Beijing for human rights abuses and a massive military buildup and claim that China ignores abuse by unsavory foreign governments in Sudan and Myanmar in its pursuit of energy and business deals.
The Bush administration also finds fault with China but is usually more measured as it seeks to manage a booming trade relationship and a desire to enlist Chinese cooperation in world affairs.
China tells U.S. not to honor the Dalai Lama
By Joseph Kahn
17 October 2007
International Herald Tribune
© 2007 The New York Times Company. All Rights Reserved.
BEIJING -- Chinese officials have warned the United States not to honor the Dalai Lama, saying a planned award ceremony Wednesday for the Tibetan spiritual leader would have ''an extremely serious impact'' on relations between the two countries.
But in Washington, after a private meeting with President George W. Bush, the Dalai Lama laughingly brushed aside the Chinese complaints, saying, ''That always happens.''
The Chinese officials, speaking at a Foreign Ministry briefing and on the sidelines of the Communist Party's 17th National Congress, condemned the Dalai Lama as a separatist and said foreign leaders must stop encouraging him.
''We are furious,'' the Tibetan Communist Party leader, Zhang Qingli, said during the congress. ''If the Dalai Lama can receive such an award, there must be no justice or good people in the world.''
The Dalai Lama, who has lived in exile since the Chinese Army crushed an uprising in his homeland in 1959, is considered the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhists. The Nobel Peace Prize laureate is to receive the Congressional Gold Medal on Wednesday.
The White House emphasized that the Dalai Lama's White House visit Tuesday was that of a spiritual, not a political leader and of a man whose movement was aimed at freedom of worship, not Tibetan independence.
''We would hope that Chinese leaders would get to know the Dalai Lama as we have gotten to know him: as a great spiritual leader,'' said a statement read by an administration official.
The official noted that the White House meeting was at Bush's residence, not in the Oval Office.
Later, the Dalai Lama said he had explained to Bush what was happening in Tibet and thanked him for ''showing his concern about Tibet.''
He said they had developed ''a very close friendship - something like a reunion of one family.''
When asked whether he had a message for President Hu Jintao of China, the Dalai Lama playfully patted a reporter's cheek, saying, ''You are not a representative of Hu Jintao,'' The Associated Press reported.
The visit came as the United States has been seeking or relying on Chinese cooperation on an array of difficult issues: the North Korean and Iranian nuclear programs, the mass killings in Darfur and the crackdown on protesters in Myanmar.
''We in no way want to stir the pot and make China feel that we are poking a stick in their eye for a country that we have a lot of relationships with on a variety of issues,'' said the White House press secretary, Dana Perino.
China has pressed the United States for months to cancel the award event.
A Foreign Ministry spokesman, Liu Jianchao, said Tuesday that Beijing was ''strongly dissatisfied'' and warned of an ''extremely serious impact'' if the events were held as scheduled. He did not say what steps China would take.
Beijing this week pulled out of a meeting at which world powers were to discuss the Iranian nuclear program. Chinese officials cited ''technical reasons'' for not participating, but they left the clear impression that they might downgrade support for international efforts to stop the Iranian nuclear program if foreign powers interfered in China's internal affairs.
Beijing also canceled its annual human rights dialogue with Germany to protest Chancellor Angela Merkel's meeting last month with the Dalai Lama. But Beijing often uses strong language when warning other countries, without taking strong action.
Giving an award to the Dalai Lama is highly unlikely to seriously disrupt relations with the United States, which has often sought to protect Chinese dissidents and has maintained close ties to Taiwan, which China's considers a renegade province.
posted October 17, 2007 at 04:44 PM unofficial Xinjiang time | Comments (47)
October 16, 2007
Everybody Loves Hu.
A collage made from a series of images found on the People's Daily website. The images show people around the country watching and listening to Hu Jintao's opening speech to the Communist Party of China's 17th National Congress.
Who says the fine art of propaganda is dead? These photos take me back to the good ol' days of the Great Leap Forward.
You've got your Uyghur, Hui, and Miao minority groups; young soldiers, old soldiers, and women soldiers; farmers, villagers, cotton pickers, shepherds, and construction workers; along with a healthy dose of feeble-looking old folks. All that's missing are the schoolchildren with red bandannas and a tear in every eye. Please, don't forget the children!
Hu's speech at Party congress resonates among Chinese public
15 October 2007
Xinhua News Agency
(c) Copyright 2007 Xinhua News Agency
BEIJING, Oct. 15 (Xinhua) -- Hu Jintao gave a wide-ranging speech that appealed to the interests of Chinese from all walks of life when he addressed the opening of the Communist Party of China (CPC) national congress on Monday.
"Our country's per capita gross domestic product will quadruple in 2020 as against 2000, " said 75-year-old Zhu guizhong, a Shanghai resident who learned the target from Hu's keynote speech at the 17th National Congress.
"In 13 years, I will be 88 years old. I believe I can live to that age and live as well as the young," Zhu said with a smile.
Tens of thousands of Chinese were estimated to have listened to the address of Hu, general secretary of the 16th CPC Central Committee through TV, radio or Internet. The speech outlined the country's ambitious goals for economic, political and social developments.
"This is the first time we have seen the five-yearly Party congress on television," said Wu Taike, 56, in remote Gaopai village in eastern Jiangxi province.
Wu said the village had no electricity in 2002 during the 16th national congress of the CPC. The "electricity for every village" project ended the era of oil lamps and candles at the beginning of this year.
"Hu's speech said the country will strengthen the support for farmers and pour more investment into the agricultural sector, which made me pretty excited and encouraged," said Xie Liping, 39, a Party member in the village.
Migrant workers in Chinese cities welcomed more polices to benefit them.
In a Party school classroom in Shanghai, more than 50 migrant workers watched the opening ceremony broadcast live nationwide.
"It is really a good piece of news when when Hu said more efforts would be made to enrich the spiritual and cultural life in the countryside, remote areas and among the migrant workers," said Liu Haijun from central Hubei province, now a staff member of a catering company in Shanghai.
Chinese college students also expressed optimism for their future as Hu has pledged in his speech to promote employment.
"The speech mentioned the strategy to expand employment, especially for college graduates, which is the biggest concern for me and my classmates," said Li Jian, a junior majoring in life science at Lanzhou University in northwest China's Gansu province.
"Employment is the core of people's livelihoods. I hope that the Party and our country can create a more favorable employment environment so as to let every one of us make use of what we have mastered," Li said.
Pan Yue, vice director of the State Environmental Protection Administration and a delegate to the Party congress, said he noticed that Hu had ranked the promotion of a conservation culture as one of "the new and higher requirements" in building a moderately prosperous society, and that every organization and family would be involved in the drive.
"It fully reflects the importance of conservation culture to the Chinese nation," Pan said.
Hu said in his speech the country would "promote a conservation culture by basically forming an energy and resource-efficient and environment-friendly structure of industries, pattern of growth and mode of consumption".
posted October 16, 2007 at 12:30 AM unofficial Xinjiang time | Comments (41)
October 14, 2007
Kanas: Monster of all National Parks
So, you've been to Yellowstone National Park and you think to yourself, "How wonderful am I now that I've visited the world's largest national park? Pretty darn wonderful." But not so fast you smug bastard! Never missing an opportunity for one-upsmanship, China has decided to kick us American capitalist pigs with our gaudy geyser down a notch:
Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region has planned to build the world's largest national park by integrating the scattered neighboring tourist resorts into a whole.
The Kanas Geological Park, now around 1,000 square kilometers, will be expanded to about ten times larger in a few years after incorporating the nearby tourist regions and grassland...
Of course, I remain in the "wonderful" category... I've been to both Yellowstone (well, I drove through) and Kanas Lake.
The most positive development mentioned in the article is the demolition of all of the restaurants and inns in the immediate vicinity of the lake, although I expect that this means that the new luxury accommodations will be more expensive. It'll be worth it, though, if your trip to the region isn't marred by the disco/karaoke yurts blasting Chinese pop songs that I encountered in 2005.
You can read the full Xinhua article below.
China to build world's largest national park in NW ethnic region
13 October 2007
Xinhua News Agency
(c) Copyright 2007 Xinhua News Agency
URUMQI, Oct. 13 (Xinhua) -- Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region has planned to build the world's largest national park by integrating the scattered neighboring tourist resorts into a whole.
The Kanas Geological Park, now around 1,000 square kilometers, will be expanded to about ten times larger in a few years after incorporating the nearby tourist regions and grassland, said Tan Weiping, head of the park administration committee.
Tan said under a new tourism development plan, the Tiere Keti town of Kaba County and the Hom Kanas town of Burqin County will be included in the new national park, which s expected to replace America's Yellowstone National Park, covering an area of about 9,000 square kilometers, to become the world's largest.
"The new national park is helpful to protect the unique natural scenery, wildlife and cultural relics here," said Tan.
The local government has invested more than 8 million yuan (1.06 million US dollars) to map out the incorporation plan.
Kanas geological park, almost 1,000 kilometers north of Urumqi, capital of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, boasts a range of landscapes, including the Kanas Lake, China's deepest alpine lake, snow-capped mountains and grassland.
The park has attracted more and more tourists since it opened in the 1980s. It received 917,000 tourists in the first 10 months this year, a 32 percent growth over the same period of last year, and the figure is expected to exceed one million by the end of this year.
However, the booming tourism has also brought increasing environmental pressure to Kanas, which has also been called "the god's backyard" for its beautiful scenery.
"Local residents have set up many wooden restaurants and family inns nearby the lakes and in the forests over the past years, which have caused pollution to the environment," said Tan.
Under the new tourism development plan, the restaurants and inns have been demolished and will be removed to a new accommodation zone, which is about three kilometers away from the Kanas geological park and tourists can go to the park by shuttle bus.
posted October 14, 2007 at 04:50 PM unofficial Xinjiang time | Comments (41)
October 12, 2007
Tough Times for Jesus in Xinjiang
Those of you who read this blog regularly are already familiar with my previous rant against proselytizers operating here in the Muslim-dominated northwest. Xinjiang just isn't the place for missionaries... [lord knows] tensions are already high enough. Can't y'all see that your desire to spread the gospel puts the people you come into contact with in danger? This is one area where I can't believe it, but I find myself agreeing with China's draconian anti-religious laws.
Anyway, this post isn't about me. (OK, they're all about me.) It's about the continued witch-hunt for those spreading the word here in Xinjiang, which continues to get some attention in the foreign press. Just yesterday, the China Aid Association (it aids missionaries in China) released information about two Xinjiang companies that have been shut down by the authorities for "religious infiltration" as well as an American businessman whose visa was revoked.
The CAA has obtained copies of the legal documents sent out by the Bureau for Ethnic & Religious Affairs, which are damn scary to read. One can easily imagine the sinking feeling in one's stomach if your company received a message like this over the fax machine:
This bureau has completed its investigation of the Luofu Branch of the Xinjiang Pacific Agricultural Resources Development Company, Ltd. in the case involving serious illegal conduct of illegally spreading Christianity, engaging in infiltration activities, and endangering the security of the state, social, and political stability....
Since the founding of your company on October 9, 2000, you have been illegally preaching Christianity in the name of the company among young people of Uyghur ethnicity. In the meantime, you transported, distributed, and produced Christian propaganda materials. Hetian Municipal Committee on Ethnic Religious Affairs believes that the illegal missionary work and infiltration activities by your company in Hetian District are a serious violation of the laws and statutes of the People's Republic of China. The case involves wicked circumstances and seriously endangers the security of the state and social and political stability.
Gulp! Of course, the foreigners who ran this company are probably already back at home in Louisiana or Texas or Missouri giving speeches at the local church about the devil in Xinjiang. Pity the poor Uyghur fellow targeted in this document whose testicles are probably attached to electric wires at this very moment:
With tips from some people, our bureau has conducted investigations and has confirmed the following facts on Alimujiang Yimiti (male, of Uyghur ethnicity, resident of Hami, Identification card No. 650104197306104712, current general agent of Xinjiang Jiaerhao Foodstuff Company Limited and head of its branch in Kashi). He is in charge of managing the fruit garden funded by the company located at Boyakeqigele Village, Hannanlike Township, Shule County. Since 2002, Alimujiang Yimiti has been engaging in illegal religious infiltration activities in Kashi region in the name of doing company business and preached Christianity among people of Uyghur ethnicity. He distributed religious propaganda materials and converted people to Christianity.
This notification is hereby delivered: Alimujiang Yimiti must immediately stop the illegal religious activities and receive actions taken by relevant departments.
Good luck, Ali. Where are those people that first handed you the Bible now that you really need salvation?
Just so everyone's clear, the specific law that prohibits missionary activity in minority areas like Xinjiang and Tibet states: One may not convert people of minority nationalities who believe in Islam and Lamaism. One may not convert people in border regions. Got it?
All of the links above are blocked in China, by the way, unless you have a workaround. You can read the AP article and China Aid press release below.
China Closes Christian-Linked Businesses
10 October 2007
Associated Press Newswires
(c) 2007. The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.
BEIJING (AP) - China has closed two businesses whose owners allegedly sought Christian converts in a traditionally Muslim region and also revoked the visa of an American citizen for illegal proselytizing, a rights group said Wednesday.
The companies' business licenses were pulled last month by authorities in the Xinjiang region of western China after they were accused of distributing religious material, converting Muslims and conducting "infiltration activities," the U.S.-based China Aid Association said in a news release.
The group did not identify the American citizen whose visa was revoked, citing ongoing legal issues within China. It was not immediately clear whether the individual had been deported.
Efforts to contact the companies cited by the association were unsuccessful. At one, a branch of Xinjiang Pacific Agricultural Resources Development Company, Ltd., no one answered the phone. The other company, Xinjiang Jiaerhao Foodstuff Company Limited reportedly owned by a Muslim convert, had no listed number.
A woman who answered the phone at the regional government's religious affairs bureau said she had no information about the companies or the accused American.
The report follows word this summer that China had kicked out more than 100 suspected foreign missionaries, including many in Xinjiang, in a campaign to prevent proselytizing ahead of next year's Beijing Summer Olympics.
Christian mission groups from around the world say they plan to quietly defy the Chinese ban on foreign missionaries and send thousands of volunteer evangelists to Beijing next year.
Evangelicals worked the crowds at the Olympics in Athens, Sydney and Atlanta but the groups say the Beijing Games offer an opening like no other in the communist country.
China bans open proselytizing and worship outside the Communist Party-controlled official church. However, foreign faithful who live in China are often able to evangelize privately while working as English teachers, humanitarian workers or in business.
Two American Companies and Two Chinese Companies Ordered to Shutdown in Xinjiang for alleged Religious Infiltration
China Aid Association, Inc.
Tel: (267) -205-5210 Fax: (432)-686-8355
Website: http://www.chinaaid.org/ http://www.monitorchina.org/
Contact: Bob Fu (267) 205-5210
Photo: scanned copy of the shutdown company decision
Midland, Texas (October 10, 2007) - China Aid Association learned that Xinjiang government has ordered at least four companies to shutdown revoking their business liscences and visas for alleged religious infiltration among Xingjiang muslims.
American businessmen expelled and companies closed
According to an internal document obtained by China Aid, one Municipal Committee for Ethnic Religious Affairs (the specific location and names were omitted due to the ongoing legal trial inside China for this case) issued an “Notification and Confirmation Statement on the Illegal Religious Infiltration Activities by xxx” on September 10, 2007. The document said “through tips from the people and investigations conducted by this committee, it is confirmed that xxx, with xxx nationality, Passport No. xxx, has been engaging in religious infiltration activities in xxx area since 2000 in the name of doing business.” This American businessman were accused of “ preaching Christianity among people of Uyghur nationality, distributing religious propaganda materials, and converting people into Christians. His conduct has seriously violated the following laws, statutes, and related regulations” .
Along with other violations, the accused American businessman was said to have violated Article 2 of “Notice on Strengthening the Administration on Christianity and Catholicism” promulgated by United Front Work Department of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region that states: “One may not convert people of minority nationalities who believe in Islam and Lamaism. One may not convert people in border regions.”
At the end of the document, the official secret investigation concluded that the accused American businessman’s “conduct of illegal religious infiltration has seriously violated the laws and statutes of the People’s Republic of China. We hereby notify him: “Immediately stop the illegal religious activities.” Pursuant to the provisions in “Law of the People’s Republic of China on Administration of the Entry and Exit of Aliens,” xxx Municipal Public Security Bureau has rendered the penalty”. The penality has been carried out by revoking his Chinese visa.
Another similar case involved an American Christian businesman who has been doing business in Xinjinag for 16 years and he was ordered to leave China with his business liscence revoked by the end of September.
Two Chinese Christian owned companies shut down
Meanwhile two Chinese Christian owned companies in Xinjiang were also ordered to close. Luofu Branch of Xinjiang Pacific Agricultural Resources Development Company, Ltd. received a notification on September 20, 2007 from the Bureau of Administration of Industry and Commerce of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region accusing that company “involving serious illegal conduct of illegally spreading Christianity, engaging in infiltration activities, and endangering the security of the state, social, and political stability.” Their license was revoked: http://www.monitorchina.org/english_site/document_details.php?id=4966
Another Christian owned company Xinjiang Jiaerhao Foodstuff Company Limited owned by a Muslim convert Mr. Alimujiang Yimiti was also ordered to shut down by Kashi Municipal Bureau for Ethnic Religious Affairs on September 13, 2007. In a “Confirmation Notification on Alimujiang Yimiti’s Illegal Religious Infiltration Activities in Kashi,” the Kashi Municipal Bureau for Ethnic Religious Affairs accused Mr. Alimujiang Yimiti “having been engaging in illegal religious infiltration activities in Kashi region in the name of doing company business and preached Christianity among people of Uyghur ethnicity. He distributed religious propaganda materials and converted people to Christianity. His conduct has seriously violated the following laws, statutes, and relevant stipulations”.
Reliable sources showed over 50 foreign Christian workers accused of being involved in illegal religious activities in Xinjiang have been expelled or deported in the past 6 months. Sources inside the Chinese government informed CAA that the Chinese government launched a massive expulsion campaign of foreign Christians, encoded Typhoon No. 5, in February 2007. This campaign is believed to be part of the “anti-infiltration” efforts to prevent foreign Christians from engaging in mission activities before the Beijing Olympics next year.
“To shut down legitmate businesses based on religious affiliation is another form of religious persecution in China,” said Bob Fu, President of CAA. “It will shake the confidence of foreign investers to China in the long run.”
© Issued by CAA on October 10, 2007.
posted October 12, 2007 at 09:41 AM unofficial Xinjiang time | Comments (91)