Central Asia Theater
Mining corruption behind Mongolia unrest
Following angry street protests in Ulaanbaatar, the Mongolian government has agreed to open an investigation into the so-called "coal mafia," a group of state officials and executives accused pilfering the country's subsurface wealth for personal profit to the tune of some $12 billion. Demonstrators attempted to storm the Government Palace on Dec. 4, and blocked the capital's main boulevard, Peace Avenue. At issue are the vast Tavan Tolgoi coalfields in the Gobi Desert, under exploitation by the Mongolian Mining Corporation, a pillar of the national economy. (BNE Intellinews, BNE Intellinews, EuroWeekly News)
Podcast: state capitalism and the Uyghur genocide
In Episode 149 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg notes that the UN Human Rights Office determination that China may be guilty of "crimes against humanity" in its mass detention of Uyghurs in Xinjiang province is dismissed by the tankie-left ANSWER Coalition as "propagandistic." Meanwhile, it falls to Radio Free Asia, media arm of the US State Department, to aggressively cover the very real conditions of forced labor faced by the Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples of Xinjiang—and how Western corporations benefit from it. While the Western pseudo-left betrays the Uyghurs, US imperialism exploits their suffering for propaganda against a rising China in the Great Game for the Asia-Pacific region. Figures such as Australia's Kevin Rudd incorrectly portray a "Return of Red China," blaming the PRC's increasingly totalitarian direction on a supposed neo-Marxism. Fortunately, the new anthology Xinjiang Year Zero offers a corrective perspective, placing the industrial-detention complex and techno-security state in the context of global capitalism and settler colonialism.
Uyghur Tribunal accuses China of genocide
The Uyghur Tribunal, a "people's tribunal" established in the UK, on Sept. 27 appended a December 2021 judgment, incorporating nearly 300 additional pages of historical background, legal definitions and evidence. The stated purpose of the tribunal is to investigate "ongoing atrocities and possible genocide against the Uyghur people" in the People's Republic of China, although the tribunal has no force of law.
UN report confirms forced labor in Xinjiang, Tibet
United Nations Special Rapporteur on slavery Tomoya Obokata released a report Aug. 16 on contemporary forms of slavery, which found that it is "reasonable to conclude" that forced labor "among Uygur, Kazakh and other ethnic minorities in sectors such as agriculture and manufacturing" is taking place in China's Xinjiang region. Obokata's assessment was made "based on an independent assessment of available information, including submissions by stakeholders, independent academic research, open sources, testimonies of victims, consultations with stakeholders, and accounts provided by the Government."
Karakalpakstan retains right to secede after unrest
Following a day of angry protests that left 18 dead and hundreds wounded, Uzbekistan's President Shavkat Mirziyoyev on July 2 announced that he will not proceed with a planned constitutional change to revoke the right of the autonomous Republic of Karakalpakstan, in the country's remote northeast, to secede via referendum. The announcement came as Mirziyoyev made an emergency visit to Nukus, the riot-stricken regional capital of Karakalpakstan. He also imposed a month-long state of emergency in the region.
Leaked documents reveal abuse of Uyghurs
China's President Xi Jinping held a video call with UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet during her visit to Xinjiang May 25. But Bachelet's fact-finding tour co-incided with new evidence of crimes against the Uyghur people of the province. A hacker broke into a network of computers in Xinjiang's so-called "Vocational Skills Education & Training Centers," releasing a cache of files that document significant abuses. The Xinjiang Police Files, published by the Journal of the European Association for Chinese Studies, include images from inside the camps, as well as thousands of detainee records. Many of these are run by the BBC in a photo essay, "The faces from China's Uyghur detention camps."
Youth protests in Mongolian capital
Thousands of young Mongolians with no political affiliation filled central Sukhbaatar Square in the capital Ulaanbaatar for two days of peaceful protest April 7 and 8, demanding reforms to address a long list of grievances related to taxation, inflation, job opportunities, police brutality and judicial independence. After the first day's demonstration broke up late that night, one group of some 20 youth was set upon by the police and beaten—which only set off a second day of protests. Support for Ukraine in the face of Russia's aggression was also a popular sentiment at the demonstrations, with many protesters displaying the Ukrainian colors as well as the Mongolian flag. Mongolia's government abstained in the two UN General Assembly votes condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine. (The Diplomat, IPS)
Podcast: the looming breakup of Russia
In Episode 118 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg explores the possibility that Putin's criminal adventure in Ukraine could backfire horribly, actually portending the implosion of the Russian Federation into its constituent entities, the "autonomous" republics, oblasts and krais. Troops from Russia's Far East were apparently involved in the horrific massacre at the Kyiv suburb of Bucha. But indigenous leaders from Siberia and the Russian Arctic are breaking with Moscow over the Ukraine war. Rumblings of separatist sentiment are now heard from Yakutia (Sakha), Khabarovsk, Kalmykia, Kamchatka, Tatarstan, Tuva, the Altai Republic, and the entirety of Siberia. China, which controlled much of what is now the Russian Far East until the 1850s, has its own expansionist designs on the region. Frederick Engels called for the "destruction forever" of Russia during the Crimean War, but it may collapse due to its own internal contradictions rather than Western aggression.
19 hours 20 min ago
19 hours 31 min ago
2 days 10 hours ago
2 days 12 hours ago
2 days 19 hours ago
2 days 19 hours ago
2 days 20 hours ago
6 days 18 hours ago
1 week 1 day ago
1 week 2 days ago