ASEAN LEADERS ARE BARKING AT THE WRONG TREE WITH THE WRONG CAUSE AND WRONG OBJECTIVE

ASEAN LEADERS ARE BARKING AT THE WRONG TREE 

WITH THE WRONG CAUSE AND WRONG OBJECTIVE

 

ASEAN leaders are complaining about the convenient way to solve the Rohingya problem.

But for the Rohingyas or Burmese Muslims or Christian Chins/Karens/Kachins and Buddhist Mons/Shans/Burmese etc AND the NLDS  and political opponents and armed rebel groups_

Whether the SPDC would accept them back is not their main concern. What is the consequences after repatriation is their only problem.

Jailed? Tortured? Is the main concern for all but ‘Village arrest’ (for Rohingyas only) is the problem.

No democracy, no Human Rights, no political life, no respect for the Rights of religious minorities and Ethnic minorities is their main concern.

But the lack of development, economic problems back home are the most important fact for all of them.

There is no clear cut line to DEFINE OR CATEGORIZE THEM INTO POLITICAL OR ECONOMIC MIGRANTS. 

Continue reading

Deafening silence from Malaysia regarding Myanmar Cyclone?

Deafening silence from Malaysia regarding Myanmar Cyclone?

 

First of all I wish to apologize if I am wrong.

 

If Malaysian Government had already sent the condolence note to Myanmar, I am sorry for writing this.

 

If Malaysian Government, GLCs (government Linked companies), NST, TV3, NTV7, RTM and NGOs (esp. government affiliated) had already started a campaign to help Myanmar, please accept my  apology for wrongly writing this posting.

 

If you all haven’t done anything, it is shame on you.

 

We don’t want a cent from you Kaisu Malaysia!

 

 

We know that we are not Orang Puteh (Whiteman) , no Arab blood and have no Malay-Indonesian blood. We are ALWAYS discriminated in your country.

 

Never mind if you do not wish to recognize the undocumented workers/migrants and asylum seekers.

 

During the great disaster in Myanmar, I hope if Malaysian government could do the followings to help us without spending a cent.

 

Please announce amnesty on all the Myanmar/Burmese undocumented workers/migrants and asylum seekers including those already in the detention camp. (At least if they could work and earn, they could help their families, relatives and friends.)

 

You could put a time limit for example six months to one year.

It is shameful that you are heartless to continue arresting and some of your agents are harassing them daily.

 

Dr San Oo Aung

 

17 Myanmar Illegal Immigrants Held In Kelantan

BERNAMA, RANTAU PANJANG, May 6 (Bernama) — The Anti- Smuggling Unit (UPP) Tuesday arrested 17 Myanmar nationals without valid travel documents in Kampung Kempas, Machang, as they were being smuggled into the country by a syndicate.

Kelantan UPP commander Mazlan Che Hamid said the Myanmar nationals, aged between 16 and 30 years, had been turned over to the Immigration authorities.

He said the van driver, a Malaysian, stopped the vehicle by the roadside and fled after realising that it was being tailed by UPP personnel at 4.30 am.

The UPP personnel had followed the van from Kampung Kedap here, some 40 km from Machang, he said.

— BERNAMA

Factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part VIII

Factors that influenced

the evolution of Burma Part VIII

Shans

Shan (also known as  Tai) lived independently up north round about 650 B.C. in China at the lower part of the Yangtze River.

1. Shan’s (also known as Tai) migrated down through the present day Yunnan and desended further down into our  Burma and settled in the Shan Plateau.

2. A large group of them made a detour U turn and went up north and climbed the Tibet hills and stayed there forming the Tibeto-Burman ancestors of the whole region.

3. One group continued their journey west, up to the present day Rakhine.

4. Another group even decided to continue the long march up into the present day north eastern part of India.

5. One of the group continued south in Burma and settled in lower Burma closely with Mon and  Kayins.

6. Few of them decided to continue to just stay-put in the present day Yunnan.

7. One group broke away from all others and decided to go straight southwards and settled in present Thailand.

8. One of them also broke away from all and moved to the east, settling in present day Lao and Cambodia. Actually they are a little bit different, some had more of the Chinese blood and some even have mixed blood with Khamars and some even went further and said to be settled in Viet Nam.

9. One of the group, known as Thet mixed the Pyus and their decedents are part of the ancestors of Bamars.

10. Some of the ethnic group who made a detour U turn and went up north and climbs the Tibet hills later, came down and they were known as Kan Yan and formed one of the ancestors of Bama .

11. At last intermarriage of the groups who were the descendents of Pyu, Kan Yan and Thet give rise to my present day Bama ethnic group.

Note (A): the long march travelers of Shan came down in different times in batches. Because it happened in the prehistoric times, I have searched and collected data, and made it simple and easy from:

  1. the folk tales of our Ethnic Minorities,
  2. the old records of Chinese and Indian travelers’ chronicles,
  3. Thailand and Khmer chronicles,
  4. from Hman Nan Yar Za Won, The Glass Palace Chronicle of the Kings of Burma (Pe Maung Tin and G.H.Luce, Rangoon University Press, Rangoon, Burma, January 1960.),
  5. Dr Than Tun (History Professor, Mandalay University) “Chin, Myu and Khumi, Notthern Rakhine” in Myanmar Magazine Kalya 1994 August and other publications
  6. and HGE Hall History of Southeast Asia
  7. and Burma’s old history text books published by Burmese Education Ministry.

I hereby wish to go into some details of what I had given as a gist above: Shan’s other cousins descended from the same ancestors, now inhabit northeast Assam or Asom in India.

Note (B) : they established the Ahom kingdom in Assam, India, where the Burmese General Maha Bandula’s troops committed_

  • indescribable cruelties
  • and barbarities  as to
  • annihilate something like 2/3 of the population
  • and certainly 1/3 of the men and boys
  • disemboweling them,
  • eating their flesh
  • and burning them alive in cages
  • to intimidate
  • and suppress the Shan Ahom of Assam, India.

Edward Albert Gait’s “A history of Assam” book, published by Thacker, Spink in1963 at Calcutta

This event so weakened and disorganized the Shan Ahom that by 1839 the kingdom was completely annexed by the British.

Before that from about 1220 – 1812 AD they maintained themselves under one Dynasty, (that of Mong Mao  568-1604 AD when its descendants ruled Hsenwi or Theinni in Burmese). Indeed the Shan Ahom resisted conquest by the Mughals who had conquered much of India before the British incursion.

DIALOGUE WITH A SHAN LEADER, H.R.H HSO KHAN PHA”. Tiger Yawnghwe or His Royal Highness Prince Hso Khan Pha; he is the eldest son of Sao Shwe Thaik, the former Saopha[Prince] of Yawnghwe[Nyaung-Shwe] and the first President of Burma after Burma’s Independence from British colonial rule. Interview with Dr Tayza, Chief Editor of Burma Digest.

Some groups of Shan settled along the way, at  Yunnan in the north east of Burma. Some mixed blooded with Chinese and Khamar, went to the east and founded the Laos and  Cambodia. Others went down to the southeast and settled in Thailand. No wonder Thailand was known as Siam or we could even easily understand it is just a slang of Shan.

Shans were  gradually pushed south, at about the beginning of the Christian era by the advancement of the Tar Tars. About 650 A.D. one group of Shans formed a powerful country at Nan Chao, now known as Yunnan.

Nan Chao Shans were quite powerful and could resist Chinese attempts at conquest until 1253.

During the years 754 to 763 A.D. the Nan Chao Shans extended their rule even up to the upper basin of the Irrawaddy River and came into contact with the Pyu.

Pyu was one of three ancestors who founded our Burma: viz, Pyu, Kan Yan and Thet. Pyu was then the ruler of the Upper  Burmese Plains.

Some of Shan’s descendents ventured beyond Upper Burma into Lower Burma to mingle and live together with the Mons.

During the heydays of the Nan Chao Shans, some of them had even crossed Upper Burma to reach far west and established the once powerful Ahom Shan Kingdom, in the northeastern part of India, now known as Assam or Assom , as stated above.

Shans had moved into the area now known as the Shan Pyae of Burma in large numbers and settled down and were well established by the time our first Burmese King Anawrahta ascended his throne in 1st century.

Nan Chao  Shans tried desperately to defend their Nan Chao  kingdom from the Chinese attackers, but in 1253 the Nan Chao Kingdom fell. Some of the Nan Chao Shans, unwilling to live under foreign domination there; move towards the south in strength, to seek freedom in present day Tailand area.

They joined forces with the other Shans, who had already settled in that area, and in 1262 took over Chiang Rai, in 1296 Chiang Mai and in 1315 took Ayuddhaya, and established their own kingdoms.

In Upper Burma the Shans established the kingdoms of Mo Gaung (Mong Kawng), and Mo Hnyin (Mong Yang), and in the Shweli basin, the Mao Kingdom.

Anawrahta ruled the Pagan  for 43 year. He was able to unify the whole Burma under his rule for the first time in history.

During this time he sent his armed villagers into the Shan’s kingdoms to help ensure the security of his Pagan Kingdom. However, he had no intention of annexing or taking over of the Shan’s kingdoms. He merely wished to defend the low lying plains of his Burma from raids by the Shan’s disgruntled militias. For this purpose he established a string of fortified towns along the length of the foothills.

Relations between Shan and Burma became friendlier under Anawrahta’s successors , but the Burmese Pagan fell to the attackers from China in 1287 A. D. and was destroyed.

Then in 1312 A. D. one of the groups of Shans took the kingly Title of “Thihathu” and ascended as the Burmese king or throned in Pinya.

The (Mao) Shans, who had established kingdoms in Mo Hnyin, Mo Gaung and the Shweli areas then overran the villages of Pinya and Sagaing in 1364 A.D.

After they had withdrawn, Shan’s from Ava, whose title was Thadominbya, combined Pinya and Sagaing and established a new Kingdom, over which he ruled.

So Shans effectively became Kings in Burma from 1282 A.D. to 1531 A.D.

In 1527 A.D. due to the attacks of the Mo Hnyin Saw Bwa on Ava, the Shan’s and U Burmese of the area left their homes and descended southwards towards Toungoo, where they established a new kingdom.

Thohanbwa, the son of the Moehnyin Saw Bwa, who became the King of Ava, was soon assassinated due to his lack of skill in statecraft and administration, and in 1543 A.D. Onbaung Khun Maing succeeded him as the King.

Meanwhile from Toungoo Kingdom, in the year 1555 A.D. King Bayinnaung succeeded in unifying the whole of Burma  for the second time in our history.

He was able to “persuade’ the Shan Saw Bwa to submit his suzerainty. In accordance with the traditions of the earlier Burmese Kings, the administrative setup was that the Shan Saw Bwas who submitted to the suzerainty of the Burmese King retained full powers to rule over their kingdom. This relationship was based on mutual respect.

The military forces of Burma included contingents of Shan soldiers who proved their valour on the foreign battlefields.

That is how Shan and Burmese descendents had lived closely together, like brethren, till the fall of Upper Burma in 1886.

Then the Shan Saw Bwas, with the intention of restoring freedom to Burma and to the Shan State, chose the Burmese Princes Limbin and Saw Yan Naing to head their alliance, and started waging war against the colonialism.

(I hereby acknowledged that I have adapted the above facts from the Shan Herald Agency News’ Shan State Affairs section, Shan History.)

We could see in the above mentioned era how Shans  migrated and grew mightier. We should study how political, economical, social and philosophical patterns changed according to their coming.

To sum up again, after the fall of Bagan , Ava kingdom was built in 1364 M.E.

Subsequently, until Pinya, Sagaing and Myinsaing  eras, the power of Bagan collapsed and rebellious small kingdoms spread. When the invading conqueror Shans came across Burmese, they accepted the Buddhist cultures and Burmese cultures.

In this case, the saying, ‘conquerors are conquered’ need to be explained thoroughly.

I adapted this last paragraph from the “Story of Myanmar told in pictures” by Dr Than Tun and translated by Maung Win War.

Anyway no one is sure the source of Shan ancestors’ conversion to Buddhism. We should consider the fact that Shans had very good relations with Mon and Khamars. Shans could even get the Buddhism directly from them.

We could see that Shan Pagodas look more like Thai and Cambodia Pagodas than our Burmese. from (

This episode of the history, Shans’ conquering over the  Burma, which our successive Bama governments’ history text books just used to mention one line only and skipped forward to the glorious Burmese warrior Toungoo King Baying Naung who successfully established the 2nd Bama Empire.

The same thing happened to the conqueror Tar Tars. They took over Turkey, Iran and Iraq, and they killed millions of the men and children but married those Muslim women.

Their new wives strangely converted them into Islam and they accepted the Islamic cultures. In this case also, as the saying goes, ‘conquerors are conquered’.

And those Tar Tar/Turk descendents’ armies invaded Afghanistan, India subcontinent (future India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.) and established the Moghol Islamic Empire.

So the Central Asia Muslims, Chinese Muslims, Yunan Chinese Muslims and Burma’s Chinese Muslims or Panthays and many of the Burmese Muslims are also their descendents. Even the Muslims in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia got Islam from those Chinese Muslims.

Ko Tin Nwe @ BO AUNG DIN

Factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part V

Factors that influenced

the evolution of Burma Part V

Mon

Early History of Burma_

Humans lived in the region that is now Burma as early as 11,000 years ago, but the first identifiable civilisation is that of the Pyu although both Burman and Mon tradition claim that the fabled Suvarnabhumi mentioned in ancient Pali and Sanskrit texts was a Mon kingdom centred on Thaton in present day Mon state.

The 6th century Mon kingdom of Dvaravati in the lower Chao Phraya valley in present day Thailand extended its frontiers to the Tenasserim Yoma (mountains).

With subjugation by the Khmer Empire from Angkor in the 11th century the Mon shifted further west deeper into present day Burma. Oral tradition suggests that they had contact with Buddhism via seafaring as early as the 3rd century BC and had received an envoy of monks from Ashoka in the 2nd century BC.

The Mons adopted Indian culture together with Theravada Buddhism and are thought to have founded kingdoms in Lower Burma including Thaton in the 6th or 7th century and Bago (Pegu) in 825 with the kingdom of Raman’n’adesa (or Ramanna which is believed to be Thaton) referenced by Arab geographers in 844–8.

The lack of archaeological evidence for this may in part be due to the focus of excavation work predominantly being in Upper Burma.

The first recorded kingdom that can undisputedly be attributed to the Mon people was Dvaravati, which prospered until around 1000 AD when their capital was sacked by the Khmer Empire and most of the inhabitants fled west to present-day Burma and eventually founded new kingdoms. These, too, eventually came under pressure from new ethnic groups arriving from the north.Mon kingdoms ruled large sections of Burma from the 9th to the 11th, the 13th to the 16th, and again in the 18th centuries.

About the same period, southward-migrating Burmans took over lands in central Myanmar once dominated by Pyu city-states and the Tai started trickling into South-East Asia.

The Burman ( Bamar ) established the kingdom of Bagan. In 1057, Bagan defeated the Mon kingdom, capturing the Mon capital of Thaton and carrying off 30,000 Mon captives to Bagan.After the fall of Bagan to the invading Mongols in 1287, the Mon, under Wareru an ethnic Tai, regained their independence and captured Martaban and Bago, thus virtually controlling their previously held territory.

Mon kingdoms

A main body of ethnic Shan / Tai migration came in the 13th century after the fall of the Kingdom of Dali to the Mongol Empire and filled the void left by the fall of the Bagan kingdom in northern Burma forming a loose coalition of city-states.

These successive waves of Bamar and Tai groups slowly eroded the Mon kingdoms, and the next 200 years witnessed incessant warfare between the Mon and the Burmese, but the Mon managed to retain their independence until 1539. The last independent Mon kingdom fell to the Burmese when Alaungpaya razed Bago in 1757. Many of the Mon were killed, while others fled to Thailand.Hanthawaddy (or Hanthawady; in Thai หงสาวดี Hongsawadi) is a place in Burma.

Hongsawatoi ( Bago/Pegu/ Handawaddy )

Hongsawatoi, Capital city of old Mon kingdom. It was destroyed by Burman King, U Aungzeya or Aloungpaya in 1757. Hongsawatoi ( Mon language pronounce) (Pali Hamsavati) Bago is about 50 miles from Rangoon.

According to legend, two Mon princess from Thaton founded Bago in 573 AD. It was written in the chronicles that eight years after enlightenment, Lord Buddha along with his disciples went air-borne around Southeast Asian countries.

The earliest mention of this city in history is by the Arab geographer Ibn Khudadhbin around 850 AD. At the time, the Mon capital had shifted to Thaton. The area came under rule of the Burmese from Bagan in 1056.

After the collapse of Bagan to the Mongols in 1287, the Mon regained their independence.

From 1369-1539, Hanthawaddy was the capital of the Mon Kingdom of Ramanadesa, which covered all of what is now lower Burma. The area came under Burman control again in 1539, when it was annexed by King Tabinshweti to his Kingdom of Taungoo. The kings of Taungoo made Bago their royal capital from 1539-1599 and again in 1613-1634, and used it as a base for repeated invasions of Siam.  

See also_

  1. Basic factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part I
  2. Factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part II
  3. Factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part III
  4. Factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part IV
  5. Factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part V
  6. Factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part VI
  7. Factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part VII
  8. The Golden days of the Great Mon Empire I
  9. Renascences of the Golden days of the Great Shan Empire
  10. The Golden days of the Great Shan Empire II
  11. The Golden days of the Great Shan Empire III
  12. The Golden days of the Great Shan Empire IV
  13. The Golden days of the Great Shan Empire V
  14. The Golden days of the Great Shan Empire VI
  15. The Golden days of the Great Shan Empire VII

Our Islamic roots in China

china_map.pngchina_ethnolinguistic_83.jpg  Our Islamic roots in China

We hereby want to mention the propagation of Islam in China.

Facts taken and summarized from_

1. “The Root of Islam in China”  by Haji Kahar Hoh Kok Hoong, from the article in Islamic Herald, PERKIM.

2. And Wikipedia China and Islam articles.

3. My article, Panthay Muslims or Myanmar Chinese  Muslims

In China many Muslims are said to be from Huis and some are from Hans. Islam went to China through the ‘Silk Road’, a transcontinental pas­sage from Turkey in Europe across Asia right into Sin-kiang province of northwestern China, the homeland of the Huis.

The word ‘Hui’ is actually an abbreviation derived from three Chinese characters pro­nounced as ‘Hui vu er’ which means Huighur or Uighur; the name of a nomadic tribesmen.

When China became a republic, President Dr. Sun Yat­sen classified the fifty-six differ­ent races of people into five major categories i.e. the Hans, the Mans, the Mongs, the Huis and the Chuangs, with its first five-colour national flag (Red’, yellow, blue, white and black) representing them.

The Hans are the ‘Children of Yan Huang’ (Emperor Yan and Emperor Huang), living on the southern side of the Great Wall of China and right down to the coasts of the Pacific Ocean and the South China Sea.  The Mans are the Manchurians of northeast­ern China.  The Mongs are Mongolians of Inner-Mongolia Province of China.  The Chuangs are the Tibetans of Tibet Province of China. 

The Huis; the collective name for the various tribesmen such as Huighurs, Kazaks, Salars, Tajiks, Tatars etc, lived along the Chinese-Russian border and beside the ‘Silk Road’ in Sin­kiang Province of China which the westerners refer it as Eastern Turkistan.

Long before the advent of Islam in Saudi Arabia the Arabs were already brave seafarers and excellent navigators.  Arab mer­chants were trading well with China and Southeast Asia. 

Our Prophet Muhammad S.A.W. knew that China was a civilized and prosperous nation and so advised, “Seek knowledge even as far as unto China”. 

The historical records the arrival of Islam in China varies with dates ranging from 571 A.D. during the Sui Dynasty to 651 A.D. the Tang Dynasty.  According to a Muslim legend, Islam was first preached in China as early as the Sui Dynasty by a maternal uncle of our Prophet Muhammad S.A.W. for his reputed tomb at Canton is highly venerated by Muslims there until now.  Ano­ther popular legend, Islam went to China in 628 AD brought by three companions of our Prophet Muhammad S.A.W.

In the history of China, Islam first arrived at the Port of Canton (now Guangzhou) in southern China during the early Tang Dynasty in 651 AD. by the ‘Silk-voyage’.  Muslim mis­sionaries sailed through the Red Sea, across the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean; through the Straits of Malacca and across the South China Sea.  They traded with the countries along the shores of this sea route as well.

The third Caliph Osman of the Kingdom of Tasik, the Kingdom of Arabia then, dispatched an emissary to Chang Ann; the Capital city of the Tang Dynasty, to pay homage to the emperor and also introduced the social, cultural ethnic and religion of Islam to him. There were many Muslims residing in China at that time.

In fact the first Masjid outside the sacred land Makkah; The Prophet’s Memorial Masjid or the Kwang-ta Qi (the Bright-tower Masjid) was built in Canton. Arab maritime traders stayed mainly in Canton. Special residence areas and cemeteries were allotted for Muslims where-by tombstones with Arabic inscriptions can still be found there. They inter-married with local Hans and adopted Chinese surnames and even Chinese names. Some of the prominent ones were awarded Chinese surnames by the emperor. They preached Islam to the Hans, especially some of the intellectuals quietly embraced Islam.

The Huis were at those time still wanderers in the wild steppes of northwestern China.  But somehow the western and non-Muslim writers linked Islam, Hui and the ‘Silk Road’ together and thought the Huis were the prime and only Muslims in China.

Western historians also stressed that thousands of Muslims had already rushed into China by the ‘Silk Road’ in 751 AD, after the Tang Empire lost Central Asia to the Abbasids in the war at Taraz.  The Tang emper­or seek help from Samarkand (Samarkand was Timur’s royal city, celebrated its 2500th anniversary in 1970. It is an ancient site, located in modern-day Uzbekistan.)  and Abbasid soldiers to crush the revolt of his general Ann Lu-shan  of Turkey origin.  All these sol­diers stayed back in Sin-kiang and were later assimilated into the Hui race.  These events hap­pened during the sixth emperor of Tang, i.e. two hundred years after the Arab-Muslims settled down in Canton, Chuanahou, Hangzhou, Yangzhou, Emgzhou and other southern cities of China and developed good relation­ships with the Hans.

During the Song Dynasty 960AD-1279AD, the govern­ment then was very liberal and allowed its subjects to practice in whatever religions they be­lieved.  Islam expanded fast into the interior of China. The import and export trades of China were almost in the hands of the Muslims; they monopolized the beef and mutton; the precious stones and carpets business as well.  Islam spread fast and became another major reli­gion with more and more Hans embracing it.

In 1250 AD Islam was so popular that an Arab merchant who won the Chinese name from the Emperor as Pu’ Shou-keng, was even appointed as the Superintendent of Merchant shipping at the Port of Chuan­zhou in southerrn China.  He owned great wealth and con­ducted a mercantile fleet bet­ween China and Saudi Arabia. 

In 1270 AD Sayyid Edjill Chams ed-Din Omar a great grandson of our Prophet Muhammad S.A.W of the 31 st. generation, was made the governor of Yunan Province in southern China. 

In 1279 AD China was invaded for the first time by the Mongolians from outside the Great Wall of China and had its name changed to Yuan Dynasty.

During the Yuan Dynasty 1279 AD – 1368 AD, after Ghengis Khan conquered the whole of Asia and part of Europe; as far as the plain of Hungary, he returned with his multiracial military hordes of Turks, Persians, Babylonians Syrians and other middle-east mercenary soldiers to China. 

Besides ensuring his relations and kins in positions along the ‘Silk Road’ he stationed warriors and fighters in various cities and major towns of China to assist him to rule the Hans who out­numbered the Mongols many times.  The Mongol Empire was so powerful that the ‘Silk Road’ was completely under its control. Some Arabs migrated to Central Asia with many residing in Sin Kiang Province of China.

The Yuan dictator divided his people into three classes.  Of course the first class were the Mongols themselves.  The sec­ond class was his loyal and faithful foreign Muslims and their families and the third class were the defeated Hans of vari­ous religions.

The Huis embraced Islam in very large numbers.  Subsequently Hui-Muslims grew tremendously and Islam was eventually named after them as ‘Hui Chiaw’ the Hui-rehgion.  Till today there are less than ten per­cent of Huis who are not Muslims.  As in the Chinese language ‘Hui Chiaw’ is more easier to pro­nounce than’Yi Si Lan Chiaw’, ‘Hui Chiaw’ automatically became the official name for Islam in China.  Furthermore some Han Muslims (the descendants of the intermarriage between Hans and Arabs also called themselves Huis for the sake of not to be despised by the authority. The Yuan Government lasted for only ninety over years (the shortest dynasty in Chinese history) and was overthrown by the Hans again and named it the Ming Dynasty.

During the Ming Dynasty 1368AD-1644AD, Islam flourished; because its first em­peror Chu Hoong-vu was a Muslim himself. 

There are sever­al distinguish features to support this claim such as:

 

(i)    his empress was a well known Muslim as stated in the Chinese history;

 

(ii)      all his daily food and drinks were under strict supervision and scruti­nized by the empress her-self.  In other words he ate only halal meals;

 

(iii)     he wrote a ‘One Hundred Words Praise’ poem in Chinese to honour our Prophet Muhammad S.A.W, the first and only emperor in China to have written such an inscription while the calligraphy of the poem was carved on a wooden board carefully preserved in the Nanking Masjid until now; and

 

  • (iv) he entrusted the life of his son to a Muslim soldier Cheng Ho.

But there is nothing written about his faith in Chinese history, because he knew very well that his subjects, mostly belonged to other religions,  would not like to be ruled by a Muslim emperor.

Muslims then, no matter of whatever origins, were treated equally and lived peacefully and harmoniously with each other.  Foreign Muslim settlers were easily assimilated into the Han’s way of life, absorbed into the Chinese civilization.  In every major port and city Muslims community set up its own coun­cil headed by kadis and imams. 

According to a Muslim mer­chant, Sayyid Akbar; in the city of Kenjanfu alone, there were as many as thirty thousand Muslim families.  They were exempted from paying taxes by the emper­or, enjoyed complete toleration in exercising their religion and any­one on his own free will be per­mitted to embrace Islam.

Besides, Muslim charity-homes and welfare centers shel­tered and nestled Han orphan in time of famine and disaster.  When famine occurred in other tropical countries, peo­ple there can at least eat roots of bushes or barks of trees, but in China its lands are so barren that when disruptions in nature occurred, people can only filled their stomachs with ‘Kwanin Tu’ (the mud of the Goddess of Mercy).  One example, during a famine that devastated the province of Kwangtung left more than ten thousand homeless Han children seeking refuge in these institutions.  These youngsters were brought up and taught to be good Muslims.  Furthermore mil­itary officers reverted most of their soldiers serving under them to Islam and they took advantage of the their authorities to win new brothers.  Thus the number of conversion to Islam through this were countless.

The most remarkable thing was that the emperor even gave Islam a new name i.e. ‘Ching Cheng Chiaw’ which mean Pure and True Religion to replace ‘Hui Chiaw’. The name for Islam written in Chinese had been regularized but then changed for more than thirty times from the first one ‘Ah La Bi Chiaw’ to ‘Hui Chiaw’ (‘Chiaw’ in Chinese means religion).

He also assigned a young Muslim soldier, Muhammad Cheng Ho to protect his prince, the heir to his throne.  When this prince succeeded him to be the second Ming emperor, he pro­moted this faithful bodyguard to the rank of Admiral and sent him set to the sacred land Makkah and south east Asia to search for his long lost brother as many as seven times. 

Each time Admiral Cheng Ho led a fleet of about one hundred ocean-bond vessels carrying more than twen­ty-five thousand soldiers and sailors.  Its flagship alone was fifty feet wide, four hundred feet long weighing one thousand five hundred tons. (This fleet when estimated at that time is compa­rable with the Seventh Fleet of the United States of America).

Muhammad Cheng Ho was a Muslim from the Yunan Province of Southern China.  But the Chinese media named him as ‘Eunuch Sam Poh’ sarcastically or may be mistakenly due to he was circumcised during childhood, and others take for granted that he was castrated.  When he was young he joined the army and fought and served his way up from an ordinary soldier to the imperial guard and at last became the famous ‘Admiral Cheng Ho’.  He took charge of the greatest expedition of that era, sailed half way round the world to as far as the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa eighty years before Colombus accidentally discovered America and wrongly named its natives as Indians.

According to the ‘Malay Annals’ (Sejarah Melayu) it was also during this period that Sultan Mansur Shah of Malacca married one of the daughters of the Ming Emperor, Princess Hang Li Po.  Through this mar­riage Malacca gained Chinese protection against attacks and threats from Siam (Thailand), Sumatra, Java, India etc.

  Ming dynasty was the hey-day of Islam in China. 

The Golden Age of Islam in China lasted almost one millenium from the Sui Dynasty 571 A.D. to the Tang Dynasty, the Song Dynasty, the Yuan Dynasty right to the Ming Dynasty in 1644 A.D.

Nevertheless after surviving for nearly three centuries, it fell to the Manchurians outside the great wall for the second time. The Manchus named its kingdom as the Qing Dynasty, 1644AD – 1911 AD. They adopted the ‘Divide and Rule’ tactic in China by creating vengeance and hatred between the Hans and the Huis. 

The Manchus, however regarded Muslims as the lowest caste of people in China and exercised strict and stem control over them.  They raised sensitive religious issues and even kindled quarrels and skirmishes among the two major races

In 1912 China was freed again from outsider’s control. Dr. Sun Yat-sen pro­claimed China a Republic and one of his ‘Doctrine of Nationality’ stat­ed that as most of the Huis were actually of Han stock who only practiced the Islamic faith and were thus different only in reli­gious beliefs from the other non­-Muslim Hans.

By right they should be absorbed back into the Han race just like the other Han Christians, Han Catholics Han Buddhists etc.  Unfortunately he passed away before his wise and just decision could materialized.

The Chinese Constitution Article 135, was amended in 1946 to differentiate and isolate Han ­Muslims from the rest of the Hans.  They were then labeled as “people in China who have their own conditions of living and habits”.  Therefore, Han Muslims were driven out of their own peo­ple. The original Muslim Turkish Huis and Han Muslims casting doubts on each other could not mix thoroughly together. 

After the Communists took over China in 1949, they banned all religious activities because they considered that these were the opiate of the people.  Worst of all under the Agrarian Reform they confiscated all land belong­ing to ancestral temples, monas­teries, churches and Masjids and redistributed the land to the peas­ants.

 After Premier Zhou Eng-lai attended the first Afro-Asian Conference held in Bandung, Indonesia in 1955, the Maoist regime wanted to gain support and goodwill from the Asian­ African Muslim countries, because the Islamic World has a strong political influence between the East and the West. He then permitted Islamic practices in China again.  Apparently it seem good for Islam, but the Communists had passed a bill in 1954 enforcing that all Muslims in China must be called ‘Hui mins’ (Hui people).

With this Red ultimatum ‘Hui min’ capped on all Muslims in China the term “Han Mus­lims” was completely wiped off.  At this juncture Muslims of the Han stock had no choice, either they forget about the Holy Qur’an and read the Mao’s Quotations or abandoned their Han-ancestry and pray side by side with the Huis.  Han Muslims after having suffered cruel perse­cutions, discriminations and elimination for several centuries resulted in them not knowing their roots. Fortunately their physical appearances, living habits, the Chinese staple food that they eat, the Chinese archi­tect Masjids that their forefa­thers constructed, their Chinese surnames and Chinese names with good meanings, remain.  Most important is that their mother tongue and the words they write are the Chinese Language.  They even read the Holy Qur’an printed in Chinese.

 

In the name of ‘The Cultural Revolution’ Mao, the ‘Gang of Four’ and the Red guards made all out attack on all Muslim areas. Wall­ posters appear all over the major cities demanding – the closures of Masjids, to disperse all religious institutes, abolish Qur’an classes, permit free and mix marriage etc.  Fortunately, the  Mao Tze-tung died in 1976 .

Veteran Deng Xiao-peng allowed the revival of all religions, including Islam.  Muslims can now per­form the five Islamic rituals again, their youths were allowed even to go oversea for further studies and there are many Chinese Muslim students in the International Islamic University of Malaysia.

The actual number of Muslims in China forever remains a conundrum.  The earli­est record in 1910, the mincheng­fu (Ministry of Interior) of the Qing government conducted a census with a total of 342.6 mil­lion people and the population of Muslims was between fifteen to twenty million.  After twenty-­eight years’ the 1938 Year Book of China printed a figure of forty ­eight million Muslims.  Then in 1950 The China Handbook stated fifty million Muslims.  After the Nationalist government retreat­ed to Taiwan it quoted in the 1957 Year Book of China with fifty million Muslims.

            According to the latest Communist government’s report, the figure declined to hardly thirty

million.  With its break-up as follows:

Five mil­lion Huighurs including all those of the Turkic-stock; five Hundred thousand Kazaks; four hundred

thousand Khirgizs, Tadjiks, Uzbeks, and Tartars; all these live in Sin-kiang province of  China and speak the

Turkish Language.

 Four hundred thou­sand Dongxians, Bao’ans and Mongolian Muslims living in the Kansu, Ningsia and Inner

 Mongolia provinces of China whose language belong to the Mongolian group. 

One hundred thousand Salars live mainly in the Tsinghai province of China with about fifty thousand

 Muslims in the provinces of Tibet and Manchuria. 

The remaining sixty per cent are Hui Muslims of the Han lineage, scattered all over China and Taiwan writing

 And  speaking mainly the Chinese language and adopting the Chinese habit­ual traditions and cultures.

After five decades Muslims in China should have increased but instead it decreased.  Where have the remaining Muslims gone?  The propaganda of the past Taiwan government stres­sed that they have been massa­cred, but the truth is that; besides those who had fled the mainland of China to Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Burma, Kashmir, Pakistan and other neighbouring countries many Muslims of the Han lineage were frightened to expose their real identity to the Communist.  Therefore the size of Muslim population in China has been a controversial subject for more than half a century.

Retired General Omar Pei Chung-Si was a Muslim born in Kwee-lin of the Kwangsi province of southern China.  After the Second World War General Pei became the first Minister of Defence of the Nationalist China and the Chief Commander of the Southern Chinese Army fighting the Communists.  The Mao’s Liberation Army charged him as the third greatest war crimi­nal after Chiang Kai-shek and Lee Chung-ren, the Vice presi­dent of China.

Another confidential affair was that when Chiang was losing all the battles to Mao’s Red Army in central and northern China, General Omar Pei was tempted by the separatists to revolt against Chiang and lead the few north­west provinces to form the, ‘Chinese Islamic Republic’.  But this faithful general gave his undivided loyalty to his presi­dent as a very truthful Muslim, rejected the offer and instead he followed Chiang with his batons of soldiers mostly Muslims to Taiwan.  Since then they formed the first Chinese Muslim Association in Taiwan as there were already few Muslims in Taiwan before.

 

 

Turkic-Huis wanted to get the Sin­kiang province out of China. Since the time of the Ottoman Empire, the 30th. ruler, Sultan Abdul-Hamid 11 (1842-1918 AD.) had been influ­encing and spiritually assisting the Turkic-Huis in Sin-kiang to form a Turkish government. In 1870 AD the British established a protec­torate in Sin-kiang.  However .seven years later the Russian intervened and after signing the Treaty of St. Petersburg the British withdrew from Sin-kiang and returned it to China but with a great portion of it annexed by the Russian.  Later in 1933-1944 AD, with the sup­port of the U.S.S.R, Sin-kiang was proclaimed as ‘The Republic of East Turkestan’, but unfortunately after the second world war it was returned to China. 

This article ‘The Root of Islam in China’ is the first of its kind presented by a Malaysian Han Muslim, Haji Kahar Hoh Kok Hoong. He wrote it, based on his nearly forty years of vast experience and crucial researches done in and out­side China.

 

 

 

 

Islam first arrived in China after the 7th century CE, only a few years after the Prophet Muhammad’s death, during the Tang Dynasty. Islam was later spread by merchants and craftsmen as trade routes improved along the Silk Road.

The Emperor of China took Islam highly, and the first mosque in China, the Huaisheng Mosque was built in Canton, Guangzhou in 630 AD.

 

In 1271, the Mongol leader and the fifth Khagan of the Mongol Empire Kublai Khan established the Yuan Dynasty, with the last remnant of the Song Dynasty falling to the Yuan in 1279. A peasant named Zhu Yuanzhang overthrew the Mongols in 1368 and founded the Ming Dynasty.

 

In the 19th century the Qing Dynasty adopted a defensive posture towards European imperialism, even though it engaged in imperialistic expansion into Central Asia itself.

 

The civil war was one of the bloodiest in human history, costing at least twenty million lives (more than the total number of fatalities in the First World War), with some estimates up to two-hundred million. In addition, more costly rebellions in terms of human lives and economics followed the Taiping Rebellion such as the Punti-Hakka Clan Wars (1855-1867), Nien Rebellion (1851-1868), Muslim Rebellion (1862-1877) and Panthay Rebellion (1856-1873).

 

The Dungan Revolt is also known as the Hui Minorities’ War and the Muslim Rebellion. The term is sometimes used to refer to the Panthay Rebellion in Yunnan as well. It was an uprising by members of the Hui and other Muslim ethnic groups in China’s Shaanxi, Gansu and Ningxia provinces, as well as in Xinjiang, between 1862 and 1877.

 

The uprising was directed against the Qing Dynasty and actively encouraged by the leaders of the Taiping Rebellion. When it failed, it instigated immigration of some of the Dungan people into Imperial Russia. In Shaanxi province, once-flourishing Hui Muslim communities fell from 700,000 or 800,000 to between 20,000 and 30,000 in ten years.

Between 1648 and 1878, more than twelve million Hui and Uyghur Muslims were killed in ten unsuccessful uprisings against the Qing Dynasty.

 

Rebellion in Gansu and Shaanxi

 

Background

 

Chinese Muslims had been traveling to West Asia for many years prior to the Hui Minorities’ War. In the 18th century, several prominent Muslim clerics from Gansu studied in Mecca and Yemen under the Naqshbandi Sufi teachers.

 

Two different forms of Sufism were brought back to Northwest China by two charismatic Hui sheikhs: Khafiya (also spelt Khafiyya or Khufiyah; Chinese: 虎夫耶, Hǔfūyē), associated with the name of Ma Laichi (马来迟, 1681-1766), and a more radical Jahriyya (also spelt Jahriya, Jahariyya, Jahariyah, etc.; Chinese: 哲赫林耶, Zhéhèlínyē, or 哲合忍耶, Zhéhérěnyē), founded by Ma Mingxin (马明新 or 马明心, 1719(?)-1781). The coexisted with the more traditional, non-Sufi Sunni practices, centered around local mosques and known as gedimu (格底目 or 格迪目). The Khafiya school, as well as non-Sufi gedimu tradition, both tolerated by the Qing authorities, were referred to by them as the “Old Teaching” (老教), while Jahriya, viewed as suspect, became known as the “New Teaching” (新教).

 

Disagreements between the adherents of Khafiya and Jahriya, as well as perceived mismanagement, corruption, and anti-Muslim attitudes of the Qing officials resulted in attempted risings by Hui and Salar followers of the New Teaching in 1781 and 1783, but they were promptly suppressed.

 

 

The course of the rebellion

As the Taiping troops approached south-eastern Shaanxi in the spring of 1862, the local Han Chinese, encouraged by the Qing government, formed tuanlian (trad. 團練, simplified 团练) militias to defend the region against the Taipings. Afraid of the armed Han, the Muslims formed their own tuanlian units.

 

According to modern researchers (Lipman (1998), p. 120-121), the Muslim rebellion started in 1862 not as a centralized planned uprising, but as coalescing of many local brawls and riots triggered by seemingly trivial causes. The prestige of the Qing dynasty being low and their armies being busy elsewhere, the rebellion that started in the spring of 1862 in the Wei River valley was able to spreadly rapidly throughout the southeastern Shaanxi. By late June 1862, the organized Muslim fighter bands were able to besiege Xi’an, which was not relieved by the Qing general Dolongga (Chinese: 多隆阿, Duo Long-a) until the fall of 1863.

 

A vast number of Muslim refugees from Shaanxi fled to Gansu. Some of them formed the “Eighteen Great Battalions” in eastern Gansu, intending to fight back to their homes in Shaanxi.

 

While the Hui rebels took over Gansu and Shaanxi, Yaqub Beg, who had fled from Kokand Khanate in 1865 or 1866 after losing Tashkent to the Russians, set himself up as the ruler in Kashgar, soon taking over the entire Xinjiang.

 

In 1867 the Qing government sent one of their best officials, Zuo Zongtang, a hero of the suppression of the Taiping Rebellion, to Shaanxi. His forces were ordered to help put down the Nian Rebellion and he was not able to deal with the Muslim rebels until December 1868. Zuo’s approach was to rehabilitate the region by promoting agriculture, especially cotton and grain as well as supporting orthodox Confucian education. Due to the poverty of the region Zuo had to rely on financial support from outside the North-West.

 

After suppressing the rebellion in Shaanxi and building up enough grain reserves to feed his army, Zuo attacked the most important Muslim leader, Ma Hualong (马化龙). Zuo’s troops reached Ma’s stronghold, Jinjibao (Chinese: 金积堡, Jinji Bao, i.e. Jinji Fortress) in what was then north-eastern Gansu[1][2][3] in September of 1870, bringing Krupp siege guns with him. After a sixteen months’ siege, Ma Hualong was forced to surrender in January of 1871. Zuo sentenced Ma and over eighty of his officials to death by slicing. Thousands of Muslims were exiled to different parts of China.

 

Zuo’s next target was Hezhou (now known as Linxia), the main Hui people center west of Lanzhou and a key point on the trade route between Gansu and Tibet. Hezhou was defended by the Muslim forces of Ma Zhan’ao (马占鳌). Not a Jahriya (New Teaching) adherent, he was a pragmatic member of the Khafiya (Old Teaching) movement, ready to explore avenues for peaceful coexistence with the Qing state. After successfully repulsing Zuo’s offensive against Hezhou in 1872, he offered to surrender his stronghold to the empire, and offered his assistance to the Qing for the duration of the war. His diplomatic skills are evidenced by the success he managed achieved in preserving his community: while Zuo Zongtang pacified other areas by moving the Muslims elsewhere (in the spirit of the 洗回 (xi Hui), “washing off the Muslims” approach that had been long advocated by some officials), in Hezhou it were the non-Muslims whom Zuo relocated out of the area. The Hezhou (Linxia) area remains heavily Muslim to this day, achieving the status of Linxia Hui Autonomous Prefecture under the PRC.

 

Zuo’s troops being reinforced by some of the Hezhou Muslims that have changed sides, he now planned to proceed westward, along the Hexi Corridor toward Xinjiang. However, he felt it necessary to first secure his left flank by taking Xining, which not only had a large Muslim community of its own, but also sheltered many of the refugees from Shaanxi. After three months’ resistance, Xining fell to Zuo’s commander Liu Jintang in the late fall of 1872. The defenders’ commander Ma Guiyuan was captured, and thousands of armed defenders was killed. The Muslim population of Xining was spared, however; the Shaanxi refugees sheltered there were resettled or arable lands in eastern and southern Gansu, isolated from other Muslim areas.

 

Despite repeated offers of amnesty, many Muslims continued to resist at their last Gansu stronghold in Suzhou (now known as Jiuquan), which sits astride the Hexi Corridor in the western part of the province. The defence of the city was commanded by Ma Wenlu, originally from Xining; many Hui that had retreated from Shaanxi were there as well. After securing his supply lines, Zuo besieged Suzhou the city in September 1873 with 15,000 troops under his personal command. The Huis’ rifles were no match to Zuo’s siege guns, and the fortress fell on October 24. Zuo had 7,000 Muslims executed, and resettled the survivors in southern Gansu, to ensure that the entire Gansu Corridor from Lanzhou to Dunhuang would remain Muslim-free, preventing a possibility of future collusion between the Muslims of Gansu and Shaanxi and those of Xinjiang.

 

 

Rebellion in Xinjiang

 

Shooting exercises of Yakub Beg’s Dungan and Chinese taifurchi (gunners)

 

Pre-rebellion situation in Xinjiang

By the 1860s, Xinjiang had been under Qing rule for a century. The entire Xinjiang was administratively divided into three parts (“circuits”; Chinese: 路, lu):

 

The North-of-Tianshan Cirucit (天山北路, Tianshan Beilu), including the Ili basin and Dzungaria. (This region roughly corresponds to the modern Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture, including prefectures it controls and a few smaller adjacent prefectures).

The South-of-Tianshan Circuit (天山南路, Tianshan Nanlu). Ir included the “Eight cities”, i.e. the “Four Western Cities” (Khotan, Yarkand, Yangihissar, Kashgar) and the “Four Eastern Cities” (Ush, Aqsu, Kucha, Karashahr).

The Eastern Circuit (东路, Donglu), in eastern Xinjiang, centered around Urumqi.

The General of Ili, stationed in Huiyuan Cheng (Ili), had the overall military command in all three circuits. He also was in charge of the civilian administration (directly in the North-of-Tianshan Circuit, and via local Muslim (Uyghur) begs in the South Circuit). However, the Eastern Circuit was subordinated in the matters of civilian administration to the Gansu province.

 

Trying (not always successfully) to prevent repetition of incursions of Afaqi khojas from Kokand into Kashgaria, such as those of Jahangir Khoja in the 1820s or Wali Khan in 1857, Qing government had increased the troops level in Xinjiang to some 50,000. There were both Manchu and Chinese units in the province; the latter, having been recruited mostly in Shaanxi and Gansu, had a heavily Hui (Dungan) component. A large part of the Qing army in Xinjiang was based in the Nine Forts of the Ili Region, but there were also forts with Qing garrisons in most other cities of Xinjiang as well.

 

The cost of maintaining this army was much higher than the taxation of the local economy could sustainably provide, and required subsidies from the central government – which, however, became infeasible by the 1850-60s due to the costs of fighting Taiping and other rebellions in the Chinese heartland. The Qing authorities in Xinjiang responded by raising taxes and introducing new ones, and selling official posts to the highest bidders (e.g. that of governor of Yarkand to Rustam Beg of Khotan for 2,000 yambus, and that of Kucha to Sa’id Beg for 1,500 yambus). The new officeholders would then proceed to recoup their investment by fleecing their subject population.

 

Increasing tax burden and corruption only added to the discontent of the Xinjiang people, who had long suffered both from the maladministration of Qing officials and the local begs subordinated to them and from the destructive invasions of the khojas. The Qing soldiers in Xinjiang, however, still were not paid on time or properly equipped.

 

With the start of the rebellion in Gansu and Shaanxi in 1862, rumors started spreading among the Hui (Dungans) of Xinjiang that the Qing authorities are preparing a wholesale preemptive slaughter of the Huis in Xinjiang, or in a particular community. The opinions on the veracities of these rumors differ: while Tongzhi Emperor described them as “absurd” in his edict of September 25, 1864, Muslim historian generally believe that massacres were indeed planned, if not by the imperial government, then by various local authorities. Thus it was the Dungans that usually were to revolt in most Xinjiang towns, although the local Turkic people – Uyghurs, Kyrgyz, or Kazakhs – would usually quickly join the fray.

 

 

Multi-centric rebellion

The first spark of the rebellion in Xinjiang was small enough for the Qing authorities to extinguish easily. On March 17, 1863, some 200 Dungans from the village of Sandaohe (a few miles west of Suiding), supposedly provoked by a rumor of a preemptive Dungan massacre, attacked Tarchi (塔勒奇城, Taleqi Cheng), one of the Nine Forts of the Ili. The rebels seized the weapons from the fort’s armory and killed soldiers of its garrison, but were soon defeated by government troops from other forts and killed themselves.

 

It was not until the next year that the rebellion broke out again – this time, almost simultaneously in all three Circuits of Xinjiang, and on a scale that made suppressing it beyond the ability of the authorities.

 

On the night of June 3-4, 1864, the Dungans of Kucha, one of the cities South of Tianshan, rose, soon joined by the local Turkic people. The Chinese fort, which, unlike many other Xinjiang locations, was located inside of the town, rather than outside of it, fell within a few days. Government buildings were burnt and some 1000 Chinese and 150 Mongols were killed. Neither of the Dungan or Turkic leaders of the rebellion having enough authority in the entire community to become commonly recognized as a leader, the rebels instead choose a person who had not participated in the rebellion, but was known for his spiritual role: Rashidin (Rashīdīn) Khoja, a dervish and the custodian of the grave of his ancestor of saintly fame, Arshad-al-Din (? – 1364 or 65). Over the next three years, he was to send military expedition east and west, attempting to bring the entire Tarim Basin under his control; however, his expansion plans were to be frustrated by Yaqub Beg.

 

Just three weeks after Kucha, the rebellion started in the Eastern Circuit. The Dungan soldiers of the Urumqi garrison rebelled on June 26, 1864, soon after learning about the Kucha rebellion. The two Dungan leaders were Tuo Ming (a.k.a Tuo Delin), a New Teaching ahong from Gansu, and Suo Huanzhang, an officer with close ties to Hui religious leaders as well. Large parts of the city were destroyed, the tea warehouses burned, and the Manchu fortress besieged. Then the Urumqi rebels started advancing westward through what is today Changji Hui Autonomous Prefecture, taking the cities of Manas (also known then as Suilai) on July 17 (the Manchu fort there fell on September 16) and Wusu (Qur Qarausu) on September 29.

 

On October 3, 1864, the Manchu fortress of Urumqi also fell to the joint forces of Urumqi and Kuchean rebels. In a pattern that was to repeat in other Chinese forts throughout the region, the Manchu commander, Pingžui, preferred to explode his gunpowder, killing himself and his family, rather than surrender.

 

The Dungan soldiers in Yarkand in Kashgaria learned of the Manchu authorities plan to disarm or kill them, and rose in the wee hours of July 26, 1864. Their first attack on the Manchu fort (which was outside of the walled Muslim city) failed, but it still cost 2,000 Qing soldiers and their families their lives. In the morning, the Dungan soldiers entered the Muslim city, where some 7,000 Chinese were massacred. The Dungans being numerically few compared to the local Turkic Muslims, they picked a somewhat neutral party – one Ghulam Husayn, a religious man from a Kabul noble family – as the puppet padishah.

 

By the early fall of 1864, the Dungans of the Ili Basin in the “Northern Circuit” rose too, encouraged by the success of Urumqi rebels at Wusu and Manas, and worried by the prospects of preemptive repressions by the local Manchu authorities. The Ili General (the Ili Jiangjun, 伊犁将军) Cangcing, hated by the local population as a corrupt oppressor, was sacked by the Qing government after his troops had been defeated by the rebels at Wusu, and Mingsioi was appointed to replace them. His attempts to negotiate with the Dungans were in vain though; on November 10, 1864, the Dungans rose both in Ningyuan (the “Taranchi Kuldja”), the commercial center of the region, and Huiyuan (the “Manchu Kuldja”), the military and administrative center of the region. Kulja’s Taranchis (Turkic-speaking farmers who were to form later part of the Uyghur people) joined in the rebellion. When the local Muslim Kazakhs and Kyrgyz felt that the rebels are gained the upper hand, they joined it as well; on the other hand, the Buddhist Kalmyks and Xibe mostly stayed loyal to the Qing government.

 

Ningyuan fell to the Dungan and Uighur rebels at once, but the strong government force at Huiyuan made the insurgents retreat after 12 days of heavy fighting in the streets of the city. The local Hans, seeing the Manchus winning, joined forces with them. However, the Qing forces’ counter-offensive failed. The imperial troops lost their artillery and the “Ili General” Mingsioi barely escaped capture. With the fall of Wusu and Aksu, the Qing garrison, entrenched in the Huiyuan fortress, was completely cut off from the rest of empire-controlled territory; Mingxu had to send his communications to Beijing via Russia.

 

While the Qing forces in Huiyuan successfully repelled the next attack of the rebels (12 December 1864), the rebellion kept spreading through the northern part of the province (Dzungaria), where the Kazakhs were glad to take revenge on the Kalmyks that used to rule the area in the past.

 

 

“Ruins of the Theater in Chuguchak”, painting by Vereshchagin (1869-70)For the Chinese New Year of 1865, the Hui leaders of Tacheng (Chuguchak) invited the local Qing authorities and Kalmyk nobles to assemble in the Hui mosque, in order to swear a mutual oath of peace. But once the Manchus and Kalmyks were in the mosque, the Huis seized the city armory, and started killing the Manchus. After two days of fighting, the Muslims were in control of the town, while the Manchus were besieged in the fortress. However, with the Kalmyk help, the Manchus were able to retake the Tacheng area by the fall of 1865. This time, it was the Huis turn to be locked up in the mosque. The fighting resulted in the utter destruction of Tacheng and the surviving residents fleeing the town.

 

Both the Qing government in Beijing and the beleaguered Kulja officials asked the Russian for assistance against the rebellion (via Russian envoy in Beijing, G.A. Vlangali, and via the Russian commander in Semirechye, General Gerasim Kolapakovsky (Колпаковский) respectively). The Russians, however, were diplomatically non-committal: on the one hand, as Vlangali wrote to Saint Petersburg, a “complete refusal” would be bad for Russia’s relations with Beijing; on the other hand, as Russian generals in Central Asia felt, seriously helping China against Xinjiang’s Muslims would do nothing to improve Russia’s problems with its own new Muslim subjects – and in case the rebellion were to succeed and form a permanent Hui stete, having been on the Qing’s side would do nothing good for Russia’s relations with that new neighbor. The decision was thus made in Saint Petersburg in 1865 to avoid offering any serious help to the Qing, beyond agreeing to train Chinese soldiers in Siberia – should they send any – and to sell some grain to the defenders of Kuldja on credit. The main priority of Russian government was in guarding its border with China and preventing any possibility of the spread of the rebellion into Russia’s own domain.

 

Considering that offense is the best defense, Kolpakovsky suggested to his superiors in February 1865 that Russia should go beyond defending its border and move in force into Xinjiang’s border area, seizing Chuguchak, Kuldja and Kashgar areas and colonizing the area with Russian settlers – all to better protect the Romanovs’ empire’s other domains. The time was not ripe for such an adventure, however: as Foreign Minister Gorchakov noted, such a breach of neutrality would be not a good thing if China does recover its rebel provinces, after all.

 

Meanwhile the Qing forces in the Ili Valley did not fare well. In April 1865, the Huining (惠宁) fortress (today’s Bayandai (巴彦岱), located between Yining and Huiyuan), fell to the rebels after three months’ siege. Its 8,000 Manchu, Xibe, and Solon defenders were massacred, and two survivors, their ears and noses cut off, sent to Huiyuan – Qing’s last stronghold in the Valley – to tell the Governor General about the fate of Huining.

 

Most of the Huiyuan (Manchu Kulja) fell to the rebels on January 8, 1866. Most of the residents and garrison perished; some 700 rebels died as well. Mingsioi, still holding out in the Huiyuan fortress with the remainder of his troops, but having run out of food, sent a delegation to the rebels, bearing a gift of 40 sycees of silver[4] and four boxes of green tea, and offering to surrender, provided the rebels guarantee their lives and allow them to keep their allegiance to the Qing government. Twelve Manchu officials with their families left the citadell along with the delegation. The Huis and Uyghurs received the delegation and allowed the refugees from Huiyuan to settle in Yining (“the Old Kuldja”). However, the rebels would not accept Mingsioi’s condition, and required instead that he surrender immediately and recognize the authority of the rebels. As Mingsioi rejected the rebels’ proposal, the rebels proceeded to storm the citadel at once. On March 3, the rebels having broken into the citadel, Mingsioi assembled his family and staff in his mansion, and blew it up, dying under its ruins. This was the end, for the time being, of the Qing rule in the Ili Valley.

 

 

Yaqub Beg in Kashgaria

 

Yakub Beg’s “Andijani” taifurchi (gunners)As reported by Muslim sources, the Qing authorities in Kashgar did not just intend to eliminate local Dungans, but in fact managed to carry out such a preemptive massacre in the summer of 1864. Perhaps this weakening of the local Dungan contingent resulted in the rebellion been initially not as successful in this area as in the rest of the province. Although the Dungan rebels were able to seize Yangihissar, neither they not the Kyrgyz of Siddiq Beg could break into either into the Manchu forts outside of Yangihissar and Kashgar, nor into the walled Muslim city of Kashgar itself, held by Qutluq Beg, a local Muslim appointee of the Qing.

 

Unable to take conrol of the region on the own, the Dungan and Kyrgyz turn for help to Kokand’s ruler Alim Quli. The help arrived in the early 1865, in the form both spiritual and material. The spiritual part consisted of Buzurg Khoja (also known as Buzurg Khan), member of the influential Afaqis family of khojas, whose religious authority could be expected to raise the rebellious spirit of the populace. He was a fine heir of the long family tradition of starting mischief in Kashgaria, being a son of Jahangir Khoja and brother of Wali Khan Khoja. The material part – as well as the expected conduit of Kokandian influence in Kashgaria – consisted of Yaqub Beg, a young but already well known Kokandian military commander, with an entourage of a few dozen Kokandian soldiers, who became known in Kashgaria as Andijanis.

 

Although Siddiq Beg’s Kyrgyz had already taken the Muslim town of Kashgar by the time Buzurg Khoja and Yaqub Beg arrived, he had to allow the popular khoja to settle in the former governor’s residence (the urda). Siddiq’s attempts to assert his dominance were crushed by Yaqub Beg’s and Buzurg’s forces. The Kyrgyz then had to accept Yaqub’s authority.

 

With his small, but comparatively well disciplined and trained army, made of the local Dungans and Kashgarian Turkic people (Uighurs, in modern terms), their Kyrgyz allies, Yaqub’s own Kokandians, as well as some 200 soldiers sent by the ruler of Badakhshan, Yaqub Beg was able not only to take the Manchu fortress and the Chinese town of Kashgar during 1865 (the Manchu commander in Kashgar, as usual, blowing himself up), but to defeat much larger force sent by the Rashidin of Kucha, who was trying to dominate the Tarim Basin region himself.

 

While Yaqub Beg was asserting his authority over Kashgaria, the situation back home in Kokand changed radically. In May 1865, Alim Quli lost his life while defending Tashkent against the Russians; many of his soldiers (primarily, of Kyrgyz and Kipchak background) deemed it advisable to flee for comparative safety of Kashgaria. They appeared at the borders of Yaqub Beg’s domain in early September 1865.

Aftermath

 

Atrocities

The number of deaths in the war is estimated at several million,[5] making it one of the bloodiest wars in China and the world.

 

 

The flight of the Dungans to Russian Empire

The failure of the uprising led to some immigration of Hui people into the Imperial Russia. According to Rimsky-Korsakoff (1992), three separate groups of the Hui people fled to Russian Empire across the Tian Shan Mountains during the exceptionally severe winter of 1877/78:

 

The first group, of some 1000 people, originally from Turfan in Xinjiang, led by Ma Daren (马大人), also known as Ma Da-lao-ye (马大老爷), reached Osh in southern Kyrgyzstan.

The second group, of 1130 people, originally from Didaozhou (狄道州) in Gansu, led by ahong A Yelaoren (阿爷老人), were settled in the spring of 1878 in the village of Yardyk some 15 km from Karakol in Eastern Kyrgyzstan. They numbered 1130 on arrival.

The third group, originally from Shaanxi, led by Bai Yanhu (白彦虎; also spelt Bo Yanhu; 1829(?)-1882), one of the leaders of the rebellion, were settled in the village of Karakunuz (now Masanchi), is modern Zhambyl Province of Kazakhstan. Masanchi is located on the northern (Kazakh) side of the Chu River, 8 km north from the city Tokmak in north-western Kyrgyzstan. This group numbered 3314 on arrival.

Another wave of immigration followed in the early 1880s. In accordance with the terms of the Treaty of Saint Petersburg signed in February 1881, which required the withdrawal of the Russian troops from the Upper Ili Basin (the Kulja area), the Hui and Taranchi (Uighur) people of the region were allowed to opt for moving to the Russian side of the border. Most choose that option; according to the Russian statistics, 4,682 Hui moved to Russian Empire under the treaty. They migrated in many small groups between 1881-83, settling in the village of Sokuluk some 30 km west of Bishkek, as well as in a number of points between the Chinese border and Sokuluk, in south-eastern Kazakhstan and northern Kyrgyzstan.

 

The descendants of these rebels and refugees still live in Kyrgyzstan and neighboring parts of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. They still call themselves the Hui people (Huizu), but to the outsiders they are known as Dungan, which means Eastern Gansu in Chinese.

 

 

 

The war in Xinjiang, and the Russian involvement

 

V.A. Moiseev, “Muslim Rebellion in Xinjiang and Russia’s policy (1864-1871)”, in “Россия и Китай в Центральной Азии (вторая половина XIX в. – 1917 гг.)” (Russia and China in Central Asia (second half of the 19 c. thru 1917). Barnaul, Azbuka Publishers, 2003. ISBN 5-93957-025-9(Russian)

“Imperial Rivals: China, Russia, and Their Disputed Frontier”, by Sarah C. M. Paine (1996) ISBN 1563247232

The Dungan emigration

 

Svetlana Rimsky-Korsakoff Dyer. Karakunuz: An Early Settlement of the Chinese Muslims in Russia, with an English translation of V. Tsibuzgin and A.Shmakov’s work. “Asian Folklore Studies”, Vol. 51 (1992), pp. 243-279.

The “Shaanxi Village” in Kazakhstan (Chinabroadcast.cn)

 

Panthay Rebellion

 

 

The Panthay Rebellion (known in Chinese as the Du Wenxiu Qiyi 杜文秀起义, 1856 – 1873) was a separatist movement of the Hui people and Chinese Muslims, against the imperial Qing Dynasty in southwestern Yunnan Province, China, as part of a wave of Hui-led multi-ethnic unrest.

 

 

Causes

Between 1648 and 1878, more than twelve million Hui and Uyghur Muslims were killed in ten unsuccessful uprisings against the Qing Dynasty.[1] The unfavorable discrimination with which the Hui were treated by the Han and by the imperial administration was at the root of their rebellions. The Panthay Rebellion began out of a conflict between Han and Muslim tin miners in 1853, which degenerated into rebellion. In the following year, a massacre of Muslims was organized by the Qing officials responsible for suppressing the revolt. One of the leaders of the insurrection was Ma Dexin. Anxious to increase his own influence, Ma Dexin finally agreed to submit to the Qing in 1861.[2] He was succeeded by a man called Du Wenxiu (杜文秀; pinyin: Dù Wénxiù) (1823 – 1872), an ethnic Hui born in Yongcheng.

 

 

Course of the war

The rebellion successfully captured the city of Dali, which became the base for the rebels’ operations, and declared themselves a separate political entity from China. The rebels identified their nation as Pingnan Guo (平南国 The Pacified Southern Nation); their leader Sulayman ibn `Abd ar-Rahman, known as Du Wenxiu [originally Yang Xiu]) (d. 1873) was styled Qa´id Jami al-Muslimin (‘Leader of the Community of Muslims’), but is usually referred to in foreign sources as Sultan) and ruled 1856 – 26 December 1872.

 

The rebellion sieged the city of Kunming multiple times (in 1857, 1861, 1863 and 1868). Ma Rulong, a Hui rebel leader from southern Yunnan, sieged the city in 1862 but through the offers of a military post joined forces with the imperial officials. His decision was not fully accepted by his followers who took the opportunity of his absence to kill the Governor-General (Pan Duo), wrest control of the city from the Qing in 1863, and intended to hand the city over to Du Wenxiu, but before Du’s forces could arrive, Ma Rulong with the assistance of a rising Qing military officier, Cen Yuying, raced back to Kunming and regained control of the provincial capital.

 

Later, as imperial troops began to gain the upperhand versus the rebellion, the rebels sent a letter to Queen Victoria, asking the British Empire for formal recognition and for military assistance; the fledgling state was turned down by the British. The rebellion was eventually suppressed when Qing troops killed and decapitated the ‘sultan’. His body is entombed in Xiadui.

 

 

Aftermath

 

Atrocities

Though largely forgotten, the bloody rebellion caused the death of up to a million people in Yunnan.[3] Many surviving Hui refugees escaped over the border to neighboring countries, Burma, Thailand and Laos, forming the basis of a minority Chinese Hui population in those nations.

 

 

Impact on Burma

The rebellion had a significant negative impact on the Burmese Konbaung Dynasty. After losing lower Burma to the British, Burma lost access to vast tracts of rice-growing land. Not wishing to upset China, the Burmese kingdom agreed to refuse trade with the Panthay rebels in accordance with China’s demands. Without the ability to import rice from China, Burma was forced to import rice from the British. In addition, the Burmese economy had relied heavily on cotton exports to China, and suddenly lost access to the vast Chinese market.

 

 

Yusuf Ma Dexin, a prominent Muslim scholar in Yunnan at the time of the rebellions

List of wars and disasters by death toll

 

 

History of Islam in China

History

Tang Dynasty

Song Dynasty

Yuan Dynasty

Ming Dynasty

Qing Dynasty

Islam in China (1911-present)

 

 

Architecture

Chinese mosques

Niujie Mosque

 

Major figures

Yusuf Ma Dexin • Zheng He • Liu Zhi

Haji Noor

 

People Groups

Hui • Salar • Uygur

Kazakhs • Kyrgyz • Tatars • Bonan

Uzbeks • Tibetans • Dongxiang

Tajiks • Utsul

 

 

Islamic Cities/Regions

Linxia • Xinjiang

Ningxia • Kashgar

 

Culture

Islamic Association of China

Cuisine • Calligraphy • Martial arts

 

China have some of the oldest Muslim history, dating back to as early as 650, when the uncle of the Prophet Muhammad, Sa`ad ibn Abi Waqqas, was sent as an official envoy to Emperor Gaozong. Throughout the history of Islam in China, Chinese Muslims have influenced the course of Chinese history.

 

History

Main article: History of Islam in China

 

The Great Mosque of Xi’an, one of China’s oldest mosquesIslam was first brought to China by an envoy sent by Uthman, the third Caliph, in 651, less than twenty years after the death of the Prophet Muhammad. The envoy was led by Sa`d ibn Abī Waqqās, the maternal uncle of the Prophet himself. Yung Wei, the Tang emperor who received the envoy then ordered the construction of the Memorial mosque in Canton, the first mosque in the country. It was during the Tang Dynasty that China had its golden day of cosmopolitan culture which helped the introduction of Islam. The first major Muslim settlements in China consisted of Arab and Persian merchants.[1] In the region, the Hui Chi tribe accepted Islam, and the name was the beginnings of the reference to the huihui or the Hui as they are know today.

 

By the time of the Song Dynasty, Muslims had come to dominate the import/export industry.[2] The office of Director General of Shipping was consistently held by a Muslim during this period.[3]In 1070, the Song emperor Shenzong invited 5,300 Muslim men from Bukhara, to settle in China in order to create a buffer zone between the Chinese and the Liao empire in the northeast. Later on these men were settled between the Sung capital of Kaifeng and Yenching (modern day Beijing).[4] They were led by Prince Amir Sayyid “So-fei-er” (his Chinese name) who was reputed of being called the “father” of the Muslim community in China. Prior to him Islam was named by the Tang and Song Chinese as Ta-shi fa (“law of Islam”). He renamed it to Hui Hui Jiao (“the Religion of Double return”).[5] It was during the Mongol Yuan Dynasty, (1274 – 1368), that large numbers of Muslims settled in China. The Mongols, a minority in China, gave Muslim immigrants an elevated status over the native Han Chinese as part of their governing strategy, thus giving Muslims a heavy influence. Hundreds of thousands of Muslims immigrants were recruited and forcibly relocated from Western and Central Asia by the Mongols to help them administer their rapidly expanding empire.[6] The Mongols used Persian, Arab and Uyghur administrators to act as officers of taxation and finance. Muslims headed most corporations in China in the early Yuan period.[7] Muslim scholars were brought to work on calendar making and astronomy.

 

During the following Ming Dynasty, Muslims continued to be influential around government circles. Six of Ming Dynasty founder Zhu Yuanzhang’s most trusted generals were 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. Additionally, the Yongle Emperor hired Zheng He, perhaps the most famous Chinese Muslim and China’s foremost explorer, to lead seven expeditions to the Indian Ocean, from 1405 and 1433. However, during the Ming Dynasty, new immigration to China from Muslim countries was restricted in an increasingly isolationist nation. The Muslims in China who were descended from earlier immigration began to assimilate by speaking Chinese dialects and by adopting Chinese names and culture. Mosque architecture began to follow traditional Chinese architecture.

 

The rise of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) made relations between the Muslims and Chinese more difficult. The dynasty prohibited ritual slaughtering of animals, followed by forbidding the construction of new mosques and the pilgrimage to Mecca.[8] The Qing rulers belonged to the Manchu, a minority in China, and employed the tactics of divide and conquer to keep the Muslims, Hans, Tibetans and Mongolians in conflict with each other. These repressive policies resulted in five bloody Hui rebellions, most notably 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.

 

After the fall of the Qing Dynasty, Sun Yat Sen, who established the Republic of China immediately proclaimed that the country belonged equally to the Han, Hui (Muslim), Meng (Mongol), and the Tsang (Tibetan) peoples. Conditions for the Muslims worsened during the Cultural Revolution. The government began to relax its policies towards Muslims in 1978. Today, Islam is experiencing a modest revival and there are now many mosques in China. There has been an upsurge in Islamic expression and many nation-wide Islamic associations have been organized to co-ordinate inter-ethnic activities among Muslims.[9]

 

 

People

See also: Hui people, Uyghur people, Kazak, Dongxiang, Kyrgyz, Salar, Tajik, Uzbek, Bonan, Tatar, and Tibetan Muslims

 

Ethnic Groups

Muslims live in every region of China. The highest concentrations are found in the northwest provinces of Xinjiang, Gansu, and Ningxia, with significant populations also found throughout Yunnan province in southwest China and Henan Province in central China. Of China’s 55 officially recognized minority peoples, ten groups are predominately Muslim. The largest groups in descending order are Hui (9.8 million in year 2000 census, or 48% of the officially tabulated number of Muslims), Uyghur (8.4 million, 41%), Kazak (1.25 million , 6.1%), Dongxiang (514,000, 2.5%), Kyrgyz (161,000), Salar (105,000), Tajik (41,000), Uzbek , Bonan (17,000), and Tatar (5,000).[10] However, individual members of traditionally Muslim ethnic groups may profess other religions or none at all, while sizable Muslim communities exist among ethnicities whose members typically belong to other religions, as in the case of the Tibetan Muslims. Muslims live predominantly in the areas that border Central Asia, Tibet and Mongolia, i.e Xinjiang, Ningxia, Gansu and Qinghai, which is know as the “Quran Belt”. [11]

 

 

Number of Muslims in China

 The neutrality of this section is disputed.

Please see the discussion on the talk page.

This section has been tagged since December 2007.

 

China is home to a large population of adherents of Islam. According to the CIA World Factbook, about 1%-2% of the total population in China are Muslims,[12] while the offical figures show that Muslims constitute about 1.5% of the Chinese population.[13] The various censuses asserted that there may be up to 20 million Muslims in China.[14]

 

The BBC gives a range of 20 million to 100 million (7.5% of the total) Muslims in China.[15] The figure of 100 million is based on a 1938 statistical yearbook placing the number of Muslims at 50 million, as well as census data from the 1940s, which showed roughly 48 million Muslims.[16] Demographers at the University of Michigan contend in contrast that the only way the Muslim population of China could be substantially higher than the officially counted 20.3 million in the 2000 census is if there were a very large hidden or uncounted number of Muslims in China; but a large undercount of Muslims has not been documented and remains speculative.[17] However, the accuracy of the religious data in the census is questioned. While official data estimated 100 million religious believers in China, a survey taken by Shanghai University declared a dramatically different 300 million believers, three times the government’s estimate. The survey also found that Buddhism, Taoism, Islam and Christianity are the country’s five major religions. The number of followers of Buddhism, Taoism and Christianity in the survey had radically higher numbers than in the census.[18]

 

 

Religious Practice

The vast majority of China’s Muslims are Sunni Muslims. A notable feature of the some Muslim communities in China is the presence of female imams.[19]

 

 

Chinese Muslims and the Hajj

Some Chinese Muslims may have made the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca on the Arabian peninsula between the fifteenth and eighteenth centuries, yet there is no written record of this prior to 1861.

 

Briefly during the Cultural Revolution, Chinese Muslims were not allowed to attend the Hajj,and only did so through Pakistan, but this policy was reversed in 1979. Chinese Muslims now attend the Hajj in large numbers, typically in organized groups.

 

A record 9,600 Chinese Muslim pilgrims from all over the country attended the Hajj in Mecca, Saudi Arabia in 2006[20]

 

 

Representative bodies

 

Islamic Association of China

Main article: Islamic Association of China

The Islamic Association of China claims to represent Chinese Muslims nationwide. At its inaugural meeting on May 11, 1953 in Beijing, representatives from 10 nationalities of the People’s Republic of China were in attendance.

 

 

China Islamic Association

Main article: China Islamic Association

In April 2001, the government set up the China Islamic Association, which was described as aiming to “help the spread of the Qur’an in China and oppose religious extremism”. The association is to be run by 16 Islamic religious leaders who are charged with making “a correct and authoritative interpretation” of Islamic creed and canon.

 

It will compile and spread inspirational speeches and help imams improve themselves, and vet sermons made by clerics around the country. This latter function is probably the key job as far as the central government is concerned. It is worried that some clerics are using their sermons to spread sedition.

 

Some examples of the religious concessions granted to Muslims are:

 

In areas where Muslims are a majority, the breeding of pigs is not allowed, in deference to Muslim sensitivities

Muslim communities are allowed separate cemeteries

Muslim couples may have their marriage consecrated by an Imam

Muslim workers are permitted holidays during major religious festivals

Chinese Muslims are also allowed to make the Hajj to Mecca, and more than 45,000 Muslims have done so in recent years.[21]

 

Islamic education in China

Over the last twenty years a wide range of Islamic educational opportunities have been developed to meet the needs of China’s Muslim population. In addition to mosque schools, government Islamic colleges, and independent Islamic colleges, a growing number of students have gone overseas to continue their studies at international Islamic universities in Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Iran, and Malaysia.[22]

 

 

Culture and heritage

The Mongol conquest of the greater part of Eurasia in the 13th century brought the extensive cultural traditions of China, central Asia and western Asia into a single empire, albeit one of separate khanates, for the first time in history. The intimate interaction that resulted is evident in the legacy of both traditions. In China, Islam influenced technology, sciences, philosophy and the arts. In terms of material culture, one finds decorative motives from central Asian Islamic architecture and calligraphy, the marked halal impact on northern Chinese cuisine and the varied influences of Islamic medical science on Chinese medicine.[citation needed]

 

Taking the Mongol Eurasian empire as a point of departure, the ethnogenesis of the Hui, or Sinophone Muslims, can also be charted through the emergence of distinctly Chinese Muslim traditions in architecture, food, epigraphy and Islamic written culture. This multifaceted cultural heritage continues to the present day.[23]

 

 

Islamic Architecture

Main article: Chinese mosques

 

The Niujie Mosque in BeijingThe first Chinese mosque was established in the 7th century during the Tang Dynasty in Xi’an. The Great Mosque of Xi’an, whose current buildings date from the Ming Dynasty, does not replicate many of the features often associated with traditional mosques. Instead, it follows traditional Chinese architecture. Mosques in western China incorporate more of the elements seen in mosques in other parts of the world. Western Chinese mosques were more likely to incorporate minarets and domes while eastern Chinese mosques were more likely to look like pagodas.[24]

 

An important feature in Chinese architecture is its emphasis on symmetry, which connotes a sense of grandeur; this applies to everything from palaces to mosques. One notable exception is in the design of gardens, which tends to be as asymmetrical as possible. Like Chinese scroll paintings, the principle underlying the garden’s composition is to create enduring flow; to let the patron wander and enjoy the garden without prescription, as in nature herself.

 

Mosques of ChinaChinese buildings may be built with either red or grey bricks, but wooden structures are the most common; these are more capable of withstanding earthquakes, but are vulnerable to fire. The roof of a typical Chinese building is curved; there are strict classifications of gable types, comparable with the classical orders of European columns.

 

 

Id Khar MosqueAs in all regions the Chinese Islamic architecture reflects the local architecture in its style. China is renowned for its beautiful mosques, which resemble temples. However in western China the mosques resemble those of the middle east, with tall, slender minarets, curvy arches and dome shaped roofs. In northwest China where the Chinese Hui have built their mosques, there is a combination of east and west. The mosques have flared Chinese-style roofs set in walled courtyards entered through archways with miniature domes and minarets (see Beytullah Mosque). [25] The first mosque was the Great Mosque of Xian, or the Xian Mosque, which was created in the Tang Dynasty in the 7th century.

 

 

Halal food in China

 

A package of halal-certified frozen food (steamed cabbage buns) from Jiangsu province, ChinaMain article: Chinese Islamic cuisine

Due to the large Muslim population in western China, many Chinese restaurants cater to Muslims or cater to the general public but are run by Muslims. In most major cities in China, there are small Islamic restaurants or food stalls typically run by migrants from Western China (e.g., Uyghurs), which offer inexpensive noodle soup. Lamb and mutton dishes are more commonly available than in other Chinese restaurants, due to the greater prevalence of these meats in the cuisine of western Chinese regions. Commercially prepared food can be certified Halal by approved agencies. [26]

 

 

Calligraphy

Main article: Sini (script)

Sini is a Chinese Islamic calligraphic form for the Arabic script. It can refer to any type of Chinese Islamic calligraphy, but is commonly used to refer to one with thick and tapered effects, much like Chinese calligraphy. It is used extensively in mosques in eastern China, and to a lesser extent in Gansu, Ningxia, and Shaanxi. A famous Sini calligrapher is Hajji Noor Deen Mi Guangjiang.

 

 

Martial arts

Main article: Muslim Chinese martial arts

Muslim development and participation at the highest level of Chinese wushu has a long history. Many of its roots lie in the Qing Dynasty persecution of Muslims. The Hui started and adapted many of the styles of wushu such as bajiquan, piguazhang, and liuhequan. There were specific areas that were known to be centers of Muslim wushu, such as Cang County in Hebei Province. These traditional Hui martial arts were very distinct from the Turkic styles practiced in Xinjiang.[27]

 

 

Chinese terminology for Islamic institutions

Qīngzhēn (清真) is the Chinese term for certain Islamic institutions. Its literal meaning is “pure truth.”

 

In Chinese, halal is called qīngzhēn cài (清真菜) or “pure truth food.” A mosque is called qīngzhēn sì (清真寺) or “pure truth temple.”

 

 

Famous Muslims in China

 

Explorers

Zheng He, mariner and explorer

Fei Xin, Zheng He’s translator

Ma Huan, a companion of Zheng He

 

Military

Founding generals of the Ming dynasty: Chang Yuchun, Hu Dahai,Lan Yu, Mu Ying

The leaders of the Panthay Rebellion: Du Wenxiu, Ma Hualong

The Ma clique of warlords during the Republic of China era: Ma Bufang, Ma Chung-ying, Ma Fuxiang, Ma Hongkui, Ma Hongbin, Ma Lin, Ma Qi, Ma Hun-shan

Bai Chongxi, general in the Republic of China army

 

Scholars and writers

Bai Shouyi, historian

Tohti Tunyaz, historian

Yusuf Ma Dexin, first translator of the Qur’an into Chinese

Muhammad Ma Jian, author of the most popular Chinese translation of the Qur’an

Liu Zhi, Qing Dynasty author

Wang Daiyu, Master Supervisor of the Imperial Observatory during the Ming Dynasty

Zhang Chengzhi, contemporary author

 

In politics

Hui Liangyu, vice premier in charge of agriculture in the People’s Republic of China

Huseyincan Celil, Uyghur imam imprisoned in China

Xabib Yunic, Education Minister of the Second East Turkistan Republic

Muhammad Amin Bughra, Vice-Chief of the Second East Turkistan Republic

 

Other

Noor Deen Mi Guangjiang, calligrapher

Ma Xianda, martial artist

Ma Menta, organiser of Russia’s Wushu Tongbei Federation

 

 

^ Counting up the number of people of traditionally Muslim nationalities who were enumerated in the 1990 census gives a total of 17.6 million, 96% of whom belong to just three nationalities: Hui 8.6 million, Uyghurs 7.2 million, and Kazakhs 1.1 million. Other nationalities that are traditionally Muslim include Kyrghyz, Tajiks, Uzbeks, Tatars, Salar, Bonan, and Dongxiang. See Dru C. Gladney, “Islam in China: Accommodation or Separatism?”, Paper presented at Symposium on Islam in Southeast Asia and China, Hong Kong, 2002. Available at http://www.islamsymposium.cityu.edu.hk. The 2000 census reported a total of 20.3 million members of Muslim nationalities, of which again 96% belonged to just three groups: Hui 9.8 million, Uyghurs 8.4 million, and Kazakhs 1.25 million.

 

^ There are in China 48,104,241 Mohammedan followers and 42,371 mosques, largely in Sinkiang, Chinghai, Manchuria, Kansu, Yunnan, Shensi, Hopei, and Honan. “Ferm, Vergilius (ed.). An Encyclopedia of Religion; Westport, CT: Greenwood Press (1976), pg. 145. [1st pub. in 1945 by Philosophical Library. 1976 reprint is unrevised.]

^ Based on a post-enumeration survey and related studies, the 2000 census undercounted China’s population by 1.81%. This would amount to some 23 million persons. It is unlikely that any such undercount would consist primarily of members of Muslim nationalities. Instead, the undercount is most often attributed to the floating population of rural to urban migrants (who are not officially registered) and to rural populations in central China – not to minority populations or areas. For discussion of the undercount, see Barbara A. Anderson, “Undercount in China’s 2000 Census in Comparative Perspective,” PSC Research Report Report No. 04-565 (September 2004), Population Studies Center, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA. Available at: http://www.psc.isr.umich.edu/pubs/abs.html?ID=1872; and Guangyu Zhang, “Very Low Fertility in China in the 1990s: Reality or An Illusion Arising from Birth Underreporting?,” Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Population Association of America, April 2004.

 

Islamic Chinese Art (Dru C. Gladney’s photo album on Flickr.com)

The Tibetan Muslims, also known as the Kachee (Kache), form a small minority in Tibet. Despite being Muslim, they are classified as Tibetans, unlike the Hui Muslims, who are also known as the Kyangsha or Gya Kachee (Chinese Muslims). The Tibetan word Kachee literally means Kashmiri and Kashmir was known as Kachee Yul (Yul = Country).

 

Owing to their small population, the Tibetan Muslims are scattered throughout Tibet, much of whom can be found in Lhasa and Shigatse. If those not living in the Tibet Autonomous Region are not excluded, ethnic groups such as the Balti and Burig, who are also of Tibetan origin and consider themselves to be ethnically Tibetan, are Muslims as well. These groups, however, are predominantly found in the Indian-controlled Ladakh and the Pakistani-controlled Baltistan.

 

Ancestry

Generally speaking, the Tibetan Muslims are unique in the fact that they are largely of Kashmiri and Persian/Arab/Turkic descent through the patrilineal lineage and also often descendants of native Tibetans through the matrilineal lineage, although the reverse is not uncommon. Thus, many of them display a mixture of Aryan and indigenous Tibetan features.

 

Owing to Tibetan influence, they have adopted Tibetan names while retaining Persian or Urdu surnames. However, this is not as common as those among the Burig and Balti. In Baltistan or Baltiyul as the natives call it, youngster Muslims have started naming themselves in local Tibetan language like Ali Tsering, Sengge Thsering, Wangchen, Namgyal, Shesrab, Mutik, Mayoor, Gyalmo, Odzer, Lobsang, Odchen, Rinchen, Anchan, and so forth. Among Khaches, although the majority uses Tibetan for daily communication, Urdu or Arabic are used for religious services.

 

After the Chinese invasion of Tibet, Muslims were granted Indian citizenship by the Indian Government, which considered the Tibetan Muslims Kashmiris, and thus Indian citizens, unlike the other Tibetan refugees, who carry Refugee Satus Certificates.

 

 

History

The appearance of the first Muslims in Tibet has been lost in the mists of time, although variants of the names of Tibet can be found in Arabic history books.

 

During the reign of the Ummayad Caliph Umar bin Abdul Aziz, a delegation from Tibet and China requested him to send Islamic missionaries to their countries, and Salah bin Abdullah Hanafi was sent to Tibet. Between the eighth and ninth centuries, the Abbasid rulers of Baghdad maintained relations with Tibet. However, there was little proselytisation among the missionaries at first, although many of them decided to settle in Tibet and marry Tibetan women. In 710-720,during the reign of Mes-ag-tshoms the Arabs, who now had more of a presence in China, started to appear in Tibet and were allied with them along with the Eastern Turks against the Chinese. During the reign of the Sadnalegs (799-815), under Tride Songtsän (Khri lde srong brtsan – generally known as Sadnalegs) there was a protracted war with Arab powers to the West. It appears that Tibetans captured a number of Arab troops and pressed them into service on the Eastern frontier in 801. Tibetans were active as far West as Samarkand and Kabul. Arab forces began to gain the upper hand, and the Tibetan governor of Kabul submitted to the Arabs and became a Muslim about 812 or 815 [1]

 

The 12th century witnessed a large scale migration of Muslim traders from Kashmir and the Persian Empire to Tibet, most notable was the community that they established in Lhasa. Like their Arab predecessors, these men settled down and married Tibetan women, who followed their husbands’ religion. Proselytisation of Islam first took place in Baltistan and the Suru Valley from the 14th to the 16th centuries, which converted the vast majority of the Tibetan Burig and Balti communities.

 

Especially under the reign of Lozang Gyatso, the Tibetan Muslims led a relatively carefree life, and were given special privileges, in the sense that they were exempted from observing certain Buddhist religious customs. In the 17th century a small community of Muslims flourished in Lhasa working there mainly as butchers.

 

However, with the influx of Kashmiri immigrants to Ladakh and forced conversions of Buddhists to Islam, isolated conflicts between the Buddhists and Muslims were frequent, especially in Leh. There were even cases when members of the Soma Gompa and Jama Masjid came out to fight, thus resulting in tensions between Buddhist and Muslim members of the same family.

 

After the invasion of Tibet in 1959 a group of Tibetan Muslims made a case for Indian nationality based on their historic roots to Kashmir and the Indian government declared all Tibetan Muslims Indian citizens later on that year. [1]

 

 

Culture

As of today, most of the Tibetan Muslims are followers of the Sunni denomination, although the majority of the Balti and Burig are followers of the Shi’a denomination. Despite the factor of their religion, the Tibetan Muslims have comfortably assimilated into the Tibetan community, while following Islamic traditions. On the other hand, the Balti and Burig have partially adopted Iranian customs.

 

Especially in music, the Tibetan Muslims have made contributions to Tibetan culture. The Nangma, also known as Naghma in Urdu which means melody, are high-pitched tilting songs that have been popular among all Tibetans. They have also adopted Tibetan customs, especially in the field of marriage, although they have strictly maintained their Islamic customs at the same time.

 

Tibetan Muslims have unique architectural styles, and this is most notable among the Ladakhi. Mosques, for instance, are built in a quaint blend of Persian and Tibetan styles. This is evidenced in its beautifully decorated walls, sloping walls designed to withstand earthquakes, and even Kada scarfs being hanged at the doorway of the mosques. Shia mosques and Imambaras can be seen with prayer flags with black, green and red colors with Quranic verses on them.

 

Another interesting feature of Tibetan Muslim architecture is that their mosques encompass the Imambara, a small artefact surmounted on the domes of metal sheets.

 

 

Special privileges before Chinese rule

The Tibetan Muslims had their own mosques in Lhasa and Shigatse, and plots of land were given to bury their ancestors. They were also exempted from taking vegetarian meals, on Buddha’s birthday, which is mandatory for all followers of Tibetan Buddhism, and this practice upon the followers of Bön was not excluded. A Ponj (from Urdu/Hindi Pancch meaning village committee or Panchayat) was elected to take care of the affairs within the Tibetan Muslim community.

 

In addition, Muslims were even exempted from removing their caps to Lamas during a period in a year, when the Iron pole Lamas held sway over the town. Muslims were also granted the Mina Dronbo, a status that invited all Tibetans, irrespective of religion, to commemorate the assumption of spiritual and temporal authority by Lozang Gyatso, the fifth Dalai Lama. However, these special privellages ended with the beginning of the Chinese occupation of Tibet in 1959. Like the Buddhists, they were forced into exile, and the Chinese government treated them worse than the Buddhists. Food was not allowed to be sold to the Tibetan Muslims, and their leaders were tried by the government. Life was hard for the Tibetan Muslims until the 1980’s.[citation needed]

 

 

Islam during the Qing Dynasty

The rise of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) made relations between the Muslims and Chinese more difficult. The Qing rulers were Manchu, not Han, and were themselves a minority in China. They employed the tactics of divide and conquer to keep the Muslims, Hans, Tibetans and Mongolians in conflict with each other[citation needed]. The dynasty prohibited ritual slaughtering of animals, followed by forbidding the construction of new mosques and the pilgrimage to Mecca.

 

 Muslim Rebellions in China

 

Early revolts in Xinjiang, Shaanxi and Gansu

From 1755-1757, the Qianlong Emperor was at war with the Dzungars of Dzungaria. With the conquest of the Dzungaria, there was attempt to divide the Xinjiang region into four sub-khanates under four chiefs who were subordinate to the emperor. Similarly, the Qing made members of was a member of the Ak Taghliq clan of East Turkestan Khojas, rulers in the western Tarim Basin, south of the Tianshan Mts. In 1758-59, however, rebellions against this arrangement broke out both north and south of the Tian Shan mountains. Then in the oasis of Ush to the south of Lake Balkash in 1765. In Gansu, disagreements between the adherents of Khafiya and Jahriya, two forms of sufism as well as perceived mismanagement, corruption, and anti-Muslim attitudes of the Qing officials resulted in attempted uprisings by Hui and Salar followers of the Jahriya in 1781 and 1783, but they were promptly suppressed. Kashgaria was able to be free of Qing control during an incursion by Jahangir Khoja who had invaded from Kokand, which lasted from 1820 – 1828. The oases of Kashgar and Yarkand were not recaptured until 1828, after a three year campaign. In Kashgaria, this incursion was followed by another incurision in 1829 by Mahommed Ali Khan and Yusuf Khoja, the brother of Jahangir. In 1846, a new Khoja revolt in Kashgar under Kath Tora led to his accession to rulership of Kashgar as an authoritarian ruler. His reign, however, was brief, for at the end of seventy-five days, on the approach of the Chinese, he fled back to Kokand amid the jeers of the inhabitants..[2] The last of the Khoja revolts was in 1857 under Wali-Khan, a self-indulgent debaucherer , and the murderer of the famous German explorer, Adolf Schlagintweit. Wali Khan had invaded Kashgar from his base in Kokand, capturing Kashgar. Aside from his murder of Adolf Schlagintweit, his cruelty found many other reflections in the local legends. It is said that he killed so many innocent Muslims that four or six minarets were built from the skulls of the victims ( kala minara ); or that once, when an artisan made a sabre for him, he tested the weapon by cutting off the artisan’s son head, who came with his father and was standing nearby, after that with words ” it’s a really good sabre ” he presented artisan with a gift. This reign of tyranny did not make Kashgarians miss the Khoja too much when he was defeated by Qing troops after ruling the city for four months and forced to flee back to Kokand.[3]

 

 

Panthay Rebellion

Main article: Panthay Rebellion

The Panthay Rebellion lasted from 1855 to 1873. The war took place mostly in the southwestern province of Yunnan. Disagreements between Muslim and non-Muslim tin miners was the spark that lit the tensions that led to war. The Muslims were led by, for the most part of the war, by Du Wenxiu (1823-1872). The insurgents took the city of Dali and declared the new nation of Pingnan Guo, meaning “the Pacified Southern Nation”. The eventual suppression of the revolt was bloody and half the population of Yunnan is believed to have disappeared.[4]

 

 

Dungan Revolt

Main article: Dungan revolt

The Dungan revolt by the Hui from the provinces of Shaanxi, Gansu, Ningxia and Xinjiang, lasted from 1862 to 1877. The number of lives lost in the suppression of the rebellion is reckoned to be several million.[4] The failure of the revolt led to the flight of many Dungan people into Imperial Russia.

 

 

Culture

However, even in the Qing dynasty, Muslims had many mosques in the large cities, with particularly important ones in Beijing, Xi’an, Hangzhou, Guangzhou, and other places (in addition to those in the western Muslim reigions). The architecture typically employed traditional Chinese styles, with Arabic-language inscriptions being the chief distinguishing feature. Many Muslims held government positions, including positions of importance, particularly in the army.

 

As travel between China and the Middle East became easier, Sufism spread throughout the Northwestern China in the early decades of the Qing Dynasty (mid-17th century through early 18th century).[5] The most important Sufi orders (menhuan) included:

 

The Qadiriyya, which was established in China through Qing Jingyi also known as Hilal al-Din (1656-1719), student of the famous Central Asian Sufi teachers, Khoja Afaq and Kjoja Abd Alla. He was known among the Hui Sufis as Qi Daozu (Grand Master Qi). The shrine complex around “great tomb” (da gongbei) in Linxia remains the center of the Qadiriyya in China.

The Khufiyya: a Naqshbandi order.

The Jahriyya: another Naqshbandi menhuan, founded by Ma Mingxin.

 

 

 

After the fall of the Qing Dynasty, which was hostile to Muslims, there appeared to be a reason for hope as Sun Yat Sen, who led the new republic, immediately proclaimed that the country belonged equally to the Han, Hui (Muslim), Meng (Mongol), and the Tsang (Tibetan) peoples. When the People’s Republic of China was established in 1949, Muslims were to again suffer repression, especially in the cultural revolution.

 

Republic of China

The end of the Qing dynasty marked an increase in Sino-foreign interaction. This led to increased contact between Muslim minorities in China and the Islamic states of the Middle East. A missionary, Claude Pickens was a well-known Hui who had made the hajj between 1923 and 1934. By 1939, at least 33 Hui Muslims had studied at Cairo’s Al-Azhar university. In 1912, the Chinese Muslim Federation was formed in the capital Nanjing. Similar organization formed in Beijing (1912), Shanghai (19250 and Jinan (1934).[1]

 

Academic activities within the Muslim community also flourished. Before the Sino-Japanese War of 1937, there existed more than a hundred known Muslim periodicals. Thirty journals were published between 1911 and 1937. Although Linxia remained the center for religious activities, many Muslim cultural activities had shifted to Beijing.[2]

 

In the first decade of the 20th century, it has been estimated that there were between 3 million and 50 million Muslims in China proper (that is, China excluding the regions of Mongolia and Xinjiang). [3] Of these, almost half resided in Gansu, over a third in Shaanxi (as defined at that time) and the rest in Yunnan.

 

The Manchu dynasty fell in 1911, and the Republic of China was established by Sun Yat Sen, who immediately proclaimed that the country belonged equally to the Han, Hui (Muslim), Meng (Mongol), and the Tsang (Tibetan) peoples. This led to some improvement in relations between these different peoples.

 

 

People’s Republic of China

The People’s Republic of China was founded in 1949. Through many of the early years there were tremendous upheavals which culminated in the Cultural Revolution.

 

During the Cultural Revolution the Government attempted to dilute the Muslim population of Xinjiang by settling masses of Han Chinese there, and replacing Muslim leaders. The government constantly accused Muslims and other religious groups of holding “superstitious beliefs” and promoting “anti-socialist trends”.[3]

 

Since the advent of Deng Xiaopeng in 1979, the Chinese government liberalised its policies toward Islam and Muslims. New legislation gave all minorities the freedom to use their own spoken and written languages; develop their own culture and education; and practice their religion.[4] More Chinese Muslims than ever before are allowed to go on the Hajj.[5]

 

 

China today

Under China’s current leadership, Islam is undergoing a modest revival and there are now many mosques in China. There has been an upsurge in Islamic expression and many nation-wide Islamic associations have been organised to co-ordinate inter-ethnic activities among Muslims.

 

In most of China, Muslims have considerable religious freedom, however, in areas like Xinjiang, where there has been unrest among Uighur Muslims, activities are restricted.

 

China is fighting an increasingly protracted struggle against members of its Uighur minority, who are a Turkic people with their own language and distinct Islamic culture. Uighar separatists are intent on re-establishing the state of East Turkistan, which existed for a few years in the 1920s.

 

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, China feared potential separatist goals of Muslim majority in Xinjiang. An April, 1996 agreement between Russia, Kazakhstan, Tajikstan and Kyrgyztan, however, assures China of avoiding a military conflict. Other Muslim states have also asserted that they have no intentions of becoming involved in China’s internal affairs.[6]

 

China fears the influence of radical Islamic thinking filtering in from central Asia, and the role of exiles in neighbouring states and in Turkey, with which Xinjiang’s majority Uighur population shares linguistic ties.[7] After, September 11, many “ethnic” Muslims were forcibly evicted from Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.[8]

 

Muslim nations like Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey support Muslims in China. Turhan Tayan, the defense minister of Turkey, recently told China

 

“…many people living [in Xinjiang] are our relatives and that we will always be interested in those people’s welfare. Our government is and will continue to be sensitive over the plight of our Turkic and Muslim brothers throughout the world.”

 

China, however, continues to stress national unity.[9]

 

 

 

Xinjiang Province

 

Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region covers over 1,600,000 square kilometers (617,763 square miles), one-sixth of China’s total territory, making it China’s largest province. Xinjiang borders Tibet, Qinghai, Gansu, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Kirghizstan, Uzbekistan, Tadzhikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. With a population of over 19 million, Xinjiang is home to 47 ethnic groups including the Uygur, the major ethnic group in Xinjiang.

 

Being one of China’s five major pastoral areas, it has advanced livestock breeding. Its main industries cover petroleum, coal, textile, foodstuff and metallurgy. Vast in area, Xinjiang has various types of geographical conditions and multitude of regional and ethnic cultures, as well as abundant historical and cultural resources. Among its scenic spots and historical sites are while popular Ravin of Jianhu in Urumqi, Heavenly Lake of the Tianshan Mountain, Flaming Mountains of Turpan, The Mosque in Kaxi, ancient city ruins of Lanlo etc. Main traditional and famous specialties comprise carpet, leather, fine-cashmere, Hami melon and seedless grapes.

 

Yunnan ProvinceDian is short for Yunnan. It lies in the southwest in China. It is more than 380 thousand square kilometers in area. The population is 37.7 million.

 

Yunnan is located in Yungui Plateau. The hilly land occupied 93 percent of the area. And the basin only occupied 6 percent. The topography her is complicated. Approximately, the northwestern part is higher than the southern part. The rivers are parts of Jinsha River, Nu River, Nan pan River, Yuan River and Yiluowadi River. It is the moist monsoon climate of tropical highland in subtropical zone. The vertical change is very striking. Yun nan abounds in mineral resources. Mainly, there is tin, zinc, titanium, copper, antimony, and phosphorous.

Non-ferrous metals, tobacco and sugar production are in the first places in China. In agriculture, mainly, there is rice, rape and tobacco. Sugar-cane, tobacco, tea and tropical crops are in the important places in our country. The main communication is railway. The highway is important too.

In Yunnan, there is a lot of natural scene. The places of interest here are Dian Spring, Cang Mountain in Dali, Xishuang banna and so on. The traditional specialties are Dali sculpture, Yun tobacco, Yun tea, Yun medicinal herbs and silver ornament.

 

 

RESPONSE OF INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY ON PERSECUTION OF MUSLIMS IN MYANMAR

RESPONSE OF INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY
ON PERSECUTION OF MUSLIMS IN MYANMAR

  

  1. On discrimination of Muslims in Myanmar.
  2. On the Anti-Muslim riots in Myanmar.
  3. On the undemocratic Myanmar Military Government.
  4. On discrimination and Ethnic Cleansing of Rohingya Muslims of Arakan State, Myanmar.
  5. On the Myanmar Migrants including Myanmar Muslims and Rohingyas.
  6. On the various Myanmar Refugees.
  7. On the Myanmar Citizens visa for various purposes, Social visit, Tourist Visa, Student    Passes, Work Permits, Employment Passes, Professional Passes, Dependent Passes  etc.
  8. On the Permanent Residence and Citizen applications.
  9. On the issue of taking tough actions on Myanmar by the ASIAN.
  10. On the investment and trade in Myanmar.
  11. On the opposing parties in and outside Myanmar.
  12. The stands and responses of the various media, NGOs, opposition leaders of foreign   governments, UN, Human Right Associations, ILO, Islamic Organizations and Amnesty    International etc.
  13. Myanmar citizens opinion on the international community including ASEAN.Myanmar Muslims opinion on the International Muslims and on Muslim governments of  ASIAN.
  14. Myanmar Military leaders opinion on the International community, west, ASIAN, Muslim   countries and etc.

Note: I had compiled these data and written this article since early 90’s. So although it may look as an old issues at the first look  but sadly they are still relevant at the present. International community and Muslim countries around the world and ASEAN are in the same stage of closing their one eye on the atrocities of Myanmar Military on the Muslims in Burma. Although after the photo-video evidence of the recent brutal crack down on the peaceful demonstrations of Buddhist Monks and the people, stood as the clear evidence of what the Myanmar Military would commit inorder to be able to continue grasping the ruling power. The worse is their remaining half opend one eye was also partially blind with greed of their self interest of investments in Myanmar.

The following is the news report taken from The Star April 5 1993.(Malaysia) in order to guess the Malaysian Government’s stand on the Muslim Refugees from Myanmar. 

Poser over status of Myanmar Refugees

By SHAHANAAZ SHER HABIB. 

KUALA LUMPUR-. 

It is difficult to believe that those coming from Thailand were genuine Rohingya refugees, said-Deputy Home Minister Datuk Megat.

Junid Megat Ayob said yesterday.“Rohingyas are from the western part of Myanmar. It is impossible for them to pass through themainland of Myanmar and through Thailand down to Haadyai and to Malaysia without being caught”.

Surely, if they are pressed by the government, they would have been caught in Yangon as theywere trying to come over,” he said.Megat Junid was commenting on the 4,800 Rohingya Muslim refugees, claimed by the UNHCRto be in the country.

“Those coming by boat to Penang from west Myanmar might be genuine Rohilngyas”, Megat Junid said. He was speaking to reporters after opening the Malaysia-China Friendship Association’s first annual general meeting.

To suggestions that there were over – 4 000 Rohingyas refugees in the country, Megat Junid said he had to determine if it was true. He said there were many who claimed to be Rohingyas to take advantage of the good times in the country.

They would be deemed as illegal immigrants and will be sent back to their country.

Megat Junid said there had been cases where the respective embassies refused to take responsibility for the illegal immigrants.

  1. In such cases, we will detain them,
  2. have them work in prison
  3. and earn their passage back to their country,” he said.

They would not be allowed to work legally in the country, he said.

Asked whether Malaysia was practicing double standards,

Megat Junid said it was not so as the refugees should “come in the correct way”

“The Bosnians proved they had been pressed and were real war refugees.

]But as for the Myanmarese who came  in through Haddyai, it is very difficult to say whether were war refugees”, he said.

He also said Abim or other associations could take up the Rohingya cause.

According to UNHCR acting representative for Malaysia and Brunei, Sten  Bronee, to date some 4,600 Rohingyas here had been registered with the UNHCR as having refugee status.To a question, Bronee said the Rohingyas worked illegally in the country to support themselves.

That was in 1993. We have to thank the Malaysian Government even for closing their one eye SOMETIMES, allowing our Rohingya brothers to temporarily stay and work illegally in Malaysia. But they are still not accepted officially by the relevant authorities here although there were repeated “official” rumours but still need to renew the pass at the UNHCR office every six months.

We here by want to thank UNHCR and ABIM for helping our brothers. They are just refugees and they accept the help from ABIM, because the responsible Malaysian Government Authorities like the Deputy Home Minister at that time had officially advised them, which could be seen in the above Newspaper report: The Star April 5 1993.(Malaysia).

But now that very powerful (at least his remarks reported above were cruel, false, ill advised and AGAINST the International norms as ILO could take action to any government using forced labour in detention centers.)  That Deputy Home Minister (believed to be acting like defacto Home Minister) lost his job, lost his parliamentry seat and also his new wife and is in ICU with terminal Prostate cancer.

Our brothers, Burmese Muslims and Rohingyas are like drowning person; if some one extended the helping hand, they no choice or have a chance to look at the face but to accept that. The most important and right thing to do is to hold the extended helping hand to get out of the water. So ABIM extended the helping hand and the Malaysian authorities advised the Rohingyas to accept that.

May we just refresh the events then with the newspaper reports.Let’s look at the another article published in_

 Berita Harian, 2 May 1997.

Report by Mohd. Shah Abdullah from Kota Bharu.

“Before Accepting Myanmar (Burma) into ASEAN”

Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia (ABIM) asked Malaysian government and ASEAN countries to study more from different aspects about the Burmese military junta’s behavior before accepting as a new membership.

ABIM’s president Asst.Prof Dr. Mohd Nur Manuty questioned about the very much unsatisfactory human right record of Burmese junta in general and its ill treatment on Muslims in particular. 

He mentioned that ABIM have the full information about the juntas role behind the recent razing of several mosques in Rangoon, Mandalay and other big cities in central Burma as well as the new exodus of Rohingya Muslims from Arakan State.

He also pointed out that the Burmese military junta didn’t respect the opinion of Muslim community and OIC( Organization of Islamic Countries),on the issues related to the Muslims in that country. 

“Whatever the good result will be (after accepting Myanmar into ASEAN), the ill fate of Muslims must be put into strong consideration “, he told to reporters after opening the ABIMs 24th. State Annual General Meeting in Kelantan.

ABIM was asked to comment about the American State Department spokesman Nicholas Bum recently lobbying ASEAN to put pressure on Burma and not to accept into ASEAN this year.  Burn stated that it would make more democratization process and better human rights record in Burma. 

However, Malaysian Foreign minister Datuk Abdullah Ahmad Badawi (now the PM of Malaysia)said ASEAN have the independent decision to bring Burma into the grouping and the American pressure will not effect it.

Also present at the meeting was YDP ABIM Kelantan Mostapha Mohammad, Deputy Secretary of the Kelantan State Kassirn Mohammad and Deputy YDP of Kelantan Islamic Affairs Council (MAIK) Datuk Ashaari Azmi Abdulla.  Dr. Mohd Nur said ABIM is not influenced by Washington’s policy but urging ASEAN to be careful about the human right record of Myanmar before attempting major decision.

According to Dr Mohd Nur, ABIM was called for a discussion with the Secretary General of Foreign Affairs on Myanmar issue earlier.  ” ABIM is ready to meet again and discuss more details with Malaysian Foreign Minister, Ambassador of Myanmar in Kuala Lumpur and ASEAN Secretariat about the Myanmar’s entry into the ASEAN.”

“We also believe that the Burmese military junta is hiding and misleading information related to the Muslims in Burma”.

Below is the another view of a Malaysian on the treatment of Migrants in Malaysia and Australia.

How are we different from Pauline Hanson?

By Verna Kanargaratnam.Kuala Lumpur. Star Newspaper. March 1997.

I AM compelled to agree with Stephanie Poh Shan Shan in her letter entitled Aussies are against racism too (Speaking Up, Feb 25).

I have lived in Western Australia for three years as a student and returned to Malaysia in 1994.  Since my return I have been back to Australia twice on holiday to visit my friends who are all Australians.

The current issue on the statement by Pauline Hanson has been blown out of proportion in our papers here.  During my visit to Perth last December, I asked my friends what they thought of her statement.  All my friends opposed it, saying it was unjust and unfair as most Australians are against racism.

Racism happens in almost every country and most often against the minority group. 

I find it really hypocritical of Malaysians who claim that Australians are racist when they themselves are racist.

  • Take for example the Indonesian and Bangladeshi workers in our country today.  There have been reports that there are_
  • too many of them so much so
  • they are jeopardizing the jobs of our local people. 
  • They have also been blamed for the increase in crime rate,
  • for spoiling our manpower market since they are willing to work for very low wages and longer hours, and the list goes on. 

Now, which profit-making company will not employ them rather than our locals if their profit margin can be increased?  It’s simple economic sense. Likewise, this situation also happens in Australia where Asians are a minority and quite willing to work below minimum wage. 

Hanson also states that the crime rate will increase if Australia is ‘swarnped’ by Asians which is not a very fair statement.  Her statement about Asians migrating to Australia is similar to what we are saying about immigrants from our neighbouring countries. 

So in what way are we different from Pauline Hanson?

From my experience, Australians in general are very warm people and I have lived with them for three years as a student with no racial problems.I also think it is very rude to go to a country and call its people lazy and stupid.  What right have we got to judge them on their own soil?  They have different priorities from Malaysians.  Just because Australians are not as materialistic as Asians does not make them any more lazy than we are greedy.Calling them stupid is a joke, because we willingly pay thousands of dollars for our children to be educated by these so-called less intelligent human beings.  Now, would you accept people who did and said such things about you with open arms?

So Malaysians, give it a break. If you really try, I am sure Australia won’t be as bad as you perceive it to be. Stephanie and I are living proof. 

 Let’s read this Bernama report printed in The Star, March 9, 1992. 

KUALA LUMPUR:

Malaysia has asked Myanmar to stop the oppression of Rohingya Muslims, many of whom have been forced to flee the country.

Foreign Minister Datuk Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said yesterday, that the refugees should be allowed to return to Mynmar with the promise that no action would be taken against them.

He said Malaysia viewed with grave concern the action that had been taken, particularly by the Myanmar military against the community.

The Foreign Ministry would convey Malaysia’s stand to Mr U Ko, the Myanmar ambassador here.

He said Malaysia would also inform its permanent representative in the United Nations to support any decision of the world body on the matter. “We have been observing developments following action taken against the community.”

Abdullah said_

  1. Malaysia did not think that its position meant interference in Myanmar’s domestic affairs because
  2. Myanmar’s action had burdened neighbouring countries
  3. and might disrupt stability in the region.
  4. He said Yangan should cease all actions against the Rohingya Muslims in order to stem the outflow of refugees from the country.

We hope that his eyes would not be blurred now by Malaysia’s investment and trades with SPDC.  

Newspapers reported that some 135,000 Rohingya Muslims from the Arakan province had fled into Bangladesh so far. The arrival of the refugees had worsened the economic and social problems of Bangladesh, which has a population of 111 million. An officer of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees said yesterday in Dhaka that Bangladesh would be faced with a “major disaster” unless the flow of the refugees was checked.      

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mahathir Mohamad had said on Saturday that the plight of the Rohingya Muslims should be resolved immediately.

He said this after chairing a meeting of the Umno Supreme Council here. 

New Straits Times, Malaysia,

THURSDAY, MARCH 12,1992

Islamic nations slam Myanmar for  persecuting Muslims

NICOSIA, Wed. – The 46 nation Organization of ‘Islamic Conference (OIC) today condemned Myanmar for what it termed a campaign of repression and persecution against its Muslim community.

OIC secretary-general Hamid al-Gabid urged member States and foreign countries to provide “generous assistance” to Bangladesh where around 180,000 Burmese Muslims have taken refuge since December.

The OIC “strongly condemns the campaign of repression and persecution being waged by the Myanmar authorities and which is characterized by flagrant abuses of the human rights of the Muslim  Myanmar people,” he said in a statement.

The campaign, which Gabid said, was accompanied by “threats and intimidations” against Dhaka, had led to the exodus of more than 180,000 Muslims  known as Rohingyas to Bangladesh.

He said the OIC, based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, has sent a mission to Bangladesh to study relief needs.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has appealed for US$27.5 million (MR-71.5) in emergency aid for refugees, who it says may number 300,000 by the end of April.

In Singapore, the Foreign Ministry expressed concern that the influx of Myanmar Muslim refugees into Bangladesh could lead to regional instability.

“The influx of large numbers of refugees from Myanmar into Bangladesh is creating a potential area of instability for the region and human suffering.”

Singapore hopes that the Myanmar authorities would take action that would allow the refugees to return home safely and thus defuse a potential source of regional in stability and tension,” a Ministry spokesman said in a statement.

In Islamabad, a Foreign ministry spokesman said Pakistan had conveyed its concern to Myanmar. “We have been in touch with the Myanmar Government,” he said, adding “we hope that the Muslim minority will be treated with sympathy and understanding and their freedom and human rights will be respected”.

Meanwhile, Bangladesh went on a diplomatic offensive and flew a group of 45  Western, Asian and Arab diplomats to the camps.

A Bangladesh Foreign Ministry official said the diplomatic visit was part of a Government plan to “internationalize the issue to force Myanmar to take back its nationals and guarantee their safety”.

“We are also seriously working on the possibility of calling an emergency meeting of the UN Security council to discuss the issue,” he said. – Agencies.    

The following is one of the best articles I have read in Malaysian Newspapers. We want to congratulate for her well-done research and bravery in writing the truth against the will of some people in authority. It was written in the_

Sun Newspaper on August 24 1996, by Sheryll Stothard. 

“Malaysia’s moral blackout”.

A media release I received last week ended with a quote from Cenpeace spokesman,Fan Yew Teng

“Last week, we had an electricity black out and our Prime Minister said he was as ashamed.

This week we have a moral black out and no one talks about it.”         

He was referring to the five day state visit of General Than Shwe, head of Burma’s- oh- sorry Myanmar’s SLORC.

As a Malaysian, I have to question the inconsistency in our foreign poicy as far as repressive leaders are concerned. 

As a taxpayer, I protest that some of my tax dollars have been spent on hosting representative from one of the most repressive immoral and backward “governments” in the world. I am not an activist. In fact, I frequently am irritated by the holier-than-thou exhortations NGOs are sometimes given to.  Yet, in this situation, I am sure I echo the feelings of many non-NGO, non-activist Malaysians as far as the SLORC is concerned.

Why do I feel so strongly about this? Why can’t I accept Asean’s poli-constructive engagement” with the SLORC.

For one thing, I cannot reconcile myself with Malaysia’s split I identity problem when it comes to human rights abuses in foreign countries. Flying in the face of established Western agendas over the last decade, Malaysia has been laudably vocal in condemning human rights abuses such as Bosnia, the Middle East, Chechnya and South Africa.

However that well-known Malaysian moral outrage tapers off into a whimper as we get closer to home. We dismissthe atrocities in East Timor even to the extent of saying that Malaysians  who get killed in the crossfire deserve it.  Indonesia is a member of the Asean and we cannot criticize our partners – which seem to be the underlying reason.

With Myanmar, we don’t even, have that excuse, however feeble.

Why invite Southeast Asia’s version of Radovan Karadzic as a state guest to our country?

  1. The economic reasons aren’t even compelling enough to warrant mention.  Surely, we’re making enough money economically in Vietnam, Cambodia and various impoverished African states.  Why Myanmar? 
  2. Take away the bleeding heart liberalist rhetoric of Western proponents of democracy. 
  3. Take away even the personality cult of Nobel Peace Prize recipient Aung San Suu Kyi.
  4. Take away the Western threats of economic sanctions. 
  5. Take away all that, even John Boorman’s silly movie Beyond Rangoon. 

What do we have?

The SLORC was formed in September 1988 and promptly declared martial law. 

This was just an academic continuance of the brutal regime of Ne Win and his military cronies who assumed power after a coup in 1962. 

Earlier in 1988, the army gunned down pro-democracy students and started a nationwide offensive against the country’s brightest- who were the only hope Myanmar had for a long time.

How can any one shoot their children?

Why bother to educate them and then gun them down like defenseless animals in the streets.

How can we accept this?

Why rave about Bosnia when we accept and condone the same in Myanmar?

What does that say about us.Malaysians are frequently referred and look up to by the international Muslim community as respected spokesman for the faith.

Yet we have invited a representative of a “government” responsible for the decimation of Rohingya Muslims in the Arakan area of Myanmar. Since the SLORC took over till 1992, over 26o,ooo Muslim Myanmarese have fled the country. Backed by the SLORC, a border development programme was introduced for the purpose of forcibly removing the Muslim population from the country’s north-western frontier. The SLORC says that there are 690,000 Muslims in the Arakanese area. Muslim groups and the Bangladeshi government calculate the population at 1.4 million. 

That’s quite a lot of Muslims for the SLORC to kick out rape, maim and kill.

I have been using the word “government” loosely in reference to the SLORC/SPDC. 

  1. Well, technically and morally I am wrong and so is anyone else who thinks so.
  2. In May 1990, the National League for Democracy won a landslide victory in Myanmar’s general elections, winning 392 of the 485 seats available, despite the harsh conditions imposed on the NLD and on Aung San Suu Kyi by the military.
  3. When it was time to hand over power to the elected government, the SLORC responded by throwing NLD-MPs into jail. 
  4. Many have been tortured and killed since.
  5. So whom have we invited to Malaysia and aligned ourselves to?
  6. The leader of military generals who are completely in their willingness to kill and enslave the people of Myanmar.

To businessman who has jumped on the bandwagon to Myanmar, some cautionary advice is in order. Even if you amoral, doing business with the SLORC is a huge investment risk. 

  1. You might initially make some money off a population enslaved by the SLORC.
  2. But enjoy the short ride while it lasts.
  3. If the SLORC/SPDC can decimate and kill its own people, it is unlikely that they will honour any agreement made with foreigners the moment higher bidder – whether Asian or Western turns up.
  4. Malaysians have a responsibility to ensure that our reputation for tolerance and moral integrity in this region is not compromised, The future of Myanmar is in the hands of Asean, not the West.  We are in the position to effect much needed change in that country. 
  5. In light of the SLORC’s history, “constructive engagement” is not the way to go. 
  6. We are not doing the people of Mvanmar a favour by inviting their leaders to our country to talk business.
  7. Instead, we have justified the oppression. 

And in the case of Malaysian companies doing business there, we’re just twisting the knife in deeper.

And for that, I am truly and deeply ashamed.  Surely, we are better than that.  Or are we? 

And the following is the response of the Thailand Newspaper.1.6.97.

THE NATION EDITORIAL. 

“SHAMEFUL FOR ASEAN TO EMBRACE BURMA” 

Asean will never be the same again. 

  1. By embracing Burma as a member it has itself become a pariah organization. 
  2. Coming as it does on the eve of the 30th anniversary of the founding of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the decision yesterday will have repercussions far beyond whatever Asean leaders may envisage. 
  3. It has indeed irreversibly damaged the organization’s integrity and setback some three decades of achievement.
  4. We firmly believe the applications for membership by Burma, Laos and Cambodia should be judged on their individual merits and readiness, just as it has always been in other regional organizations. 
  5. But still, these qualifications are secondary to their peoples’ desire for freedom and democracy.
  6. To accept Burma without any conditions is to ignore the aspirations of the Burmese people., who voted for Aung San Suu Kyils National League for Democracy (NLD in 1990.
  7. Why bless a regime that is clearly not legitimate? 
  8. A regime that is willing to go back on its word.
  9. From the beginning, the Burmese junta’s motive in bidding for membership of Asean was obvious a regional aegis to prolong its own repressive rule and to fight against Western pressure for openness. 
  10. By exploiting Asean’s strengths and weaknesses the junta leaders have been able to turn the membership issue into an East-West divide – Asean against the West.
  11. In the two years Burma has sought a closer rapport with Asean it has never lived up to regional or international norms of conduct and behaviour. 
  12. Now, Asean would like us and the world to believe that as a member of Asean, the Slorc leaders will be more enlightened, Open-minded and less oppressive.
  13. The Asean leaders’ decision yesterday was a triumph of evil over humanity. 
  14. There is a Thai saying that one rotten fish can spoil the whole basket of fish.

The biggest disappointment must be those Thai leaders who failed to play appropriate roles in leading Asean.  Partisan politics and self-interest on the part of various authorities completely destroyed the unanimity of Thailand’s positions and policies.  They will have to beat responsibility for the future of the Burmese people.Nonetheless, we welcome the decision to take in Laos and Cambodia, despite the political uncertainty in Phnom Penh.  Laos has been preparing for this eventuality the longest, knowing full well their inadequacies.  The Laotian and Cambodian peoples are supportive of their governments’ desire to join Asean.

Actually Thailand Newspapers_

  1. are independent
  2. and not the mouthpiece of the Thai government.
  3. They are usually critical
  4. but always give fair reporting in any subject about any country.
  5. They have a lot of dignity
  6. and command respect.
  7. Not only in reporting
  8. but comments
  9. and even sometimes predictions also done sometimes.
  10. They are famous for the investigative reporting,
  11. which is very rare and impossible to find in this part of the world.
  12. For example, the Nation published the full page article of Bertil Lintner, predicting that Ne Win will create an anti-Muslim riots in 1988, two months earlier than the actual happening.
  13. He had even predicted correctly that, that racial riots will backfire and the resulting snowball effect will cause the downfall of Ne Win.
  14. When compare to the news blackout regarding the Anti-Muslim riots of Burma in Muslim Asean countries, it was a very brave stand we all should applaud.
  15. We had sent the news to those “Muslim” newspapers, personally as well as by post- but they refused to publish giving the lame excuse as those were sensitive news for their countries. What a BULL SHIT, New Straits Times and Stars. The Stars decided it is not sensitive when their fellow Chinese were suffering in Indonesia during Anti-Chinese Riots.
  16. Although Thailand is a Buddhist dominant country, have a sizable population of Muslim population, situated very near and even shared a common border with Burma, they never cover up those racial riots against Muslims by giving lame excuse as a sensitive issue.
  17. They even published the colour photographs of the Buddhist Monks destroying the Mosques and tearing and throwing the Holy Korans.
  18. But the Asian Muslim newspapers cowardly blackout those even when offered the photos.

On 17th. Jan 1999 night on Malaysian NTV7’s Date line programme_

  1. we have seen a disgusting and a shameful comment from a Chinese Journalist from the Star English newspaper from Malaysia.
  2. We even want to vomit. While denouncing the foreign newspapers, he mentioned that even the Asean newspapers are the same and he especially picked the Thailand newspapers.
  3. He complained that the Thai newspapers keep on writing about Myanmar.
  4. What is wrong with that, my stupid “Syncophant journalist”?
  5. You have no right to comment about Thailand and Myanmar.
  6. You are disqualified to comment according to your “ASEAN SPIRIT”.
  7. Don’t interfere in our internal affairs.
  8. We know your very poor basic general knowledge when you comment to the CNBC that United States is a racially homogenous country!
  9. CNBC representative hit you back immediately with irrefutable proof that he himself is a “Black” and there are a lot of sensitivities to be careful in his country but they have to always reveal the truth.
  10. And you have stupidly said that there is no such thing as investigative reporting as far as you are concern.
  11. And you have shamelessly agree that your profession here is to support establishment. Don’t call yourself a journalist. You are just the propaganda specialist or advertisement section officer only.
  12. We don’t care your “duties” here, even if you refused to print the atrocities against the Muslims in Myanmar but please do not stupidly interfere or condemn the Thai newspapers’ good job of reporting of Myanmar.
  13. We hope you are not the victim of “turn over” by the Myanmar Military.
  14. Who knows, the carrot and stick can come from any-where. But fear and favour should not dictate a good journalist.

The previous youth leader although a Muslim, announced in the newspapers that he had recently came back from Myanmar and there were no Anti-Muslim activities there.

  1. He was later removed from office because of unrelated another reason but who knows, may be because of that sin against the religion.
  2. His deputy promised to head a team to go to Myanmar to probe the truth.
  3. But no official report came out when they returned.

In Islam, if some one commit a sin or wrong doing, we must respond in one of the three grades of responses, according to our Iman or Faith.

  1. If we have enough power, we have to physically use forced to stop that.
  2. If we are weak to use force, we have to verbally protest our displeasure and tell to stop that.
  3. If we are too weak and dare not open our mouth, at least we have to hate that act in our heart. This is the weakest Iman or Faith in Islam.This is our faith and is a mandatory in Islam.
  4. If we help the wrong doer by covering up, it is a sin not only according to the religion, but also committing a crime according to the human laws.
  5. If someone knows that another person is committing a crime and kept quiet, it is a sheer cowardice.
  6. But if his silence is for some hidden agenda or undisclosed benefits he could get from that person i.e. to save his personal interest he also is guilty and partially responsible for that crime.
  7. And we must consider the possible consequent mischief of, for example the repetition of that crime or progression into committing of more atrocities.
  8. If that person covers up and says that nothing is wrong, he is guilty for obstructing the justice.
  9. It is curious to note that not only the Muslim countries in ASIAN but also the remaining Islamic countries have failed to help the Muslims of Myanmar effectively.

OIC countries, leaders and all the Arabs are almost always busy with Palestinian-Israel and Iraq problems and infightings amongst themselves.

  1. But the Christian welfare organizations,
  2. Christian Western Countries
  3. and the “notorious” (more correctly famous for the Myanmar Muslims) George Soros (of Jew faith) are helping the Myanmar Muslims.
  4. Even the Rohingya leader Professor Zakaria had voiced his concern about those strange phenomena. He is rightfully worried about the possible consequences of the growing influences of those non-Muslim donors and helpers.
  5. No wonder not only the whole population of Myanmar peoples but the Muslims there hate all the governments of Asean.

Asean said that they were accepting the Myanmar as a country. But all these governments done all the dealings with the Military government. Myanmar peoples are neglected.

  1. Even among the Asean countries, ordinary civilian Myanmars are discriminated.
  2. Although we are Asean members we need visa to enter Asean countries. Visa exemption is for the cronies of the Myanmar Military government only.It is even more difficult to get a visa nowadays. Before joining Asean, Myanmars could enter Singapore without visa. Now we are Asean members, but we now need a visa not like other members.
  3. Although some Asean leaders especially Chinese Chauvinist  Singaporian leaders are shouting about meritocracy and some of them declaring that their law never look at the colour of the skin nor discriminate, Myanmars are denied the chances those great, fair ASEAN leaders have reserved for other foreigners.
  4. For them, white skin people from US and EU, rich people from Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Arabs and other ASEAN (except Myanmar) e.g. Thailand, Indonesia, Philippine, Singapore and Malaysia and some common wealth countries are important. All the facilities, favours and jobs must be reserved for them. Not for Myanmars, even if that Myanmar happens to be a Muslim and the host country is a Muslim dorminent country.
  5. Even Myanmar workers are not allowed to register at their Immigrations, except special approval on and off. Even among the illegals in the detention camp, the citizens of few most favoured countries are allowed to register and so legalized but not Myanmars. (In  80’s up to early 90’s but when Bangladesh refused contract to their oil company and awarded the tender of US oil company but Myanmar SPDC allowed their oil company to invest, they stopped Bangalis and started to accept Myanmars)
  6. In Singapore and Brunei, most of the Myanmar professionals are not allowed to register, although the same qualified person may be registered if sponsored by the Myanmar Military government or if they can show the registration from the west(although they got the degree from Myanmar Universities.)
  7. Even to get a student visa or to get a training post or to get a dependant visa, these governments made it difficult for Myanmars.
  8. Even in Singapore, Indian citizens and of course Chinese foreigners are treated much more favourably than Myanmars.
  9. And for the PR and citizenship applications there are discrimination laws or Rules and Regulations or Government secret Circulars in all Asean countries. Once we were surprised to be told by a cabinet Minister that there is a Cabinet ruling to be careful on Myanmars and there was no exemption even for Myanmar Muslim Professionals legally working here. But we have to be fair by recording here that almost all of the authorities are willing to extend their help to us unofficially.
  10. Myanmar Embassy told us that the mutual tax exemption agreement is for the government’s official business only. So what is the use benefit the ordinary Myanmars got by entering ASEAN.
  11. All of us know that the children and the friends of some of the ASEAN leaders got big projects and contracts in Myanmar.

Kim Dae Jung, former political prisoner and the former President of the Republic of Korea’s views told to the Asiaweek (Sourse Reitures)

  1. As the president of the Republic of Korea, I should not comment on the affairs of another country. 
  2. In the past, for example, I took great interest in the situation of Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar. 
  3. I sent letters and worked with Corazon Aquino [former president of the Philippines] through an international forum. 
  4. More than 100 Korean National Assembly members wrote a letter to the Myanmar government urging it to hold dialogue with Suu Kyi. 
  5. Nowadays, it is not easy to comment on such things.”
  6. There is concern, in particular among Asean’s older, more developed members, that letting in authoritarian countries such as Burma has damaged the groups ties with the West and endangers efforts to promote transparency and democracy.

‘Myanmar has provided a valuable lesson, that you can’t really change a country. Even though Asean tries to constructively engage Myanmar, the change has been too slow,” said Kao Kim Hourn, director of the Cambodian Institute for Cooperation and Peace think tank

‘Myanmar has damaged Asean but it’s in Asean’s ultimate interest to make sure it’s united – all 10 countries,” he said. , “That’s very important if Aean wants to play on the international diplomatic stage, be it engaging China, Russia or India.

Military-ruled Burma did join Asean last year despite objections from some of the group’s Western allies over its dismal human rights record and political suppression.  Laos also joined at the same time, bringing the group’s membership to nine.

The more liberal Asean members fear the conservatives could put the breaks on Political and economic reform and tarnish Asean with their political and rights problems.

“People like Thailand and the Philippines don’t want to create a situation in which they’ll be continually outnumbered by the hard-liners,” said Steve Heder of London University’s School of oriental and African Studies.

If Burma, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam line up on certain issues,

  • whether it’s human rights,
  • democracy
  • or international trade,

then the old Asean independence of action is severely compromised,” he told. 

People like Surin Sukhumbh and senior foreign ministry officials in the Philippines, they’re good  liberals who genuinely believe the way forward for the whole of southeast Asia is further democracy and transparency,” Heder said, referring to Thai Foreign Minister Surin Pitsuwan andhis deputv. Sukhumbhand Paripatra.

They don’t want to be dragged down by the  Khin Nyunts and the Hun Sens,” he said referring to Burma’s powerful military intelligence chief Khin Nyunt.

“If anything there’s been negative progress.” Heder said,  “Military intelligence is increasingly taking over. This is not what Asean envisaged.

Despite the costs, Asean has little choice but to try and manage its members’ political turmoil. The group says Cambodia’s membership is only a question of time.

“Asean should manage diversity,” said Kao Kim Hourn. “Burma has damaged Asean but it has been able to deal with that. If it’s a mature regional organization it can handle Cambodia.”

EU/ASEAN end impasse over Burma for now.

Since the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ (Asean) inclusion of Burma in its regional grouping in July of 1997, the European Union (EID has cancelled bilateral meetings with Asean because of concerns over the Burmese government’s poor human rights record.  But for now, the impasse between the EU and Asean over Burma has passed, and the delayed 13th Asean-EU Meeting is planned to be held in Bangkok.Hand in hand with this decision to meet with Asean is not only the EUs renewal, but also strengthening, of sanctions against Burma.According to a Burma watcher, the meeting is a one-shot deal to work out the glitches of EU financial assistance to Asean, which has been put on hold because of the delay over Burma.

In addition to the previous sanctions, which include_

  1. a ban on visas to the Burmese leadership,
  2. the suspension of high level government visits,
  3. an arms embargo,
  4. as well as the suspension of non-humanitarian aid,
  5. the new sanctions ban entry visas for officials
  6. and transit visas for military authorities.Armed forces officers and members of the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) will be forbidden to enter EU member countries to go on to third countries.
  7. Why should European airports or capitals be open to SPDC officials as a convenient stopping points –
  8. and shopping or tourism havens – on the way to meetings in New York or Geneva?” pondered one British-EU official.

This is the first response by any major non-Asian government to the recent deterioration of the political situation inside Burma.  SPDC actions have included the provocation of two highway standoffs between the government and the National Democracy League (NLD) of Aung San Suu Kyi, the arrests of hundreds of NLD members, and persistent attacks in the Burmese press against Suu Kyi.

Furthermore, the recent rejection of an EU proposal for senior EU officials to talk with NLD officials did not help the positions of EU advocates for engagement.“The Burmese basically said get lost, which strengthens the argument of those countries that want to see the sanctions toughened up”, said a senior EU diplomat.

The proponents for a tougher approach to Burma are Britain, Denmark, and the Netherlands.  However, the EUs position is hardly united as French officials opposed sanctions and Britain’s proposals for tourism restrictions.

It seems now that Burma is split over whether the decision to join Asean was a good idea.  It was originally thought to be a source of support but now it has become a source of pressure for reform from the outside. 

“Burma thought that Asean would serve as a shield to ward off foreign criticism,” says Josef Silverstein, professor emeritus of political science and a Burma scholar at Rutgers University in New Jersey. 

But it has only created further pressure from its neighbors.  The problem is that the rest of Asean feels it has to pressure the generals in Rangoon into mending their ways, so as not to jeopardize ties with the EU. 

“Asean has provided no shield for Burma, no protection not even a fig leaf”, says Silverstein.

The EU has modified its strategy for applying human rights pressure on Burma, so that it can engage the rest of Asean.  But, Burma’s future participation in EU dialogue will hinge on improvement in its human-rights record. 

But how long can the rest of Asean bear the burden for Burma especially in light of their seemingly reluctance to change. 

Perhaps Asean and the EU will be back to square one in eighteen months when the next conference is scheduled or, alternatively, a major change in Asean protocol.              

The Congressmen called for the immediate release of these and other political prisoners and noted that: “The prosecution, imprisonment and possible execution of these individuals for the legitimate exercise of fundamental political rights is an affront to the values of civilized nations.” 

Most Reverend Archbishop Desmond Tutu in his foreward to Burma, Country in Crisis, wrote,

“I asked to use this booklet to learn about Burma. And I urge you to turn that knowledge into action. In South Africa, we gratefully learned that the people’s voice raised is indeed a most powerful tool. It is time we raised our voices together to demand that our governments and the world community take effective action to bring respect for human rights and democracy to Burma.”

“Burma turned into a backwater hell”

NATION, Thailand’s independent newspaper,

THURSDAY, JUNE 18,1992.Sydney.

AN AUSTRALIAN judge yesterday called for western and Asian countries to overthrow the government of Burma, which, he said had turned the country into a mass, poverty-stricken concentration camp.

In an investigation of Asian refugee trouble spots, judge, Marcus Einfeld said he found in Burma mass atrocities, human fights violations and a government policy of exterminating Aids victims with cyanide injections.

Like Cambodia’s Pol Pot, he said, Burmese leaders “have turned Burma into a backwater hell and disguised it all as a pantomime of charming touristic folklore.”

There should be widespread at what was once a free and rich being turned into a mass poverty-stricken concentration camp.”

If the world had done to Burma even a fraction of what it had done to South Africa the government of Ne Win would not have been able to hold on, Einfeld said.Instead it had taken refuge in withholding official aid while allowing the private sector to hone in on the opportunities thrown up by a regime

“whose priority is the repression and vandalizing of peaceable and kind human beings,”

But he described the situation in Bangladesh, which had received 268,000 Burmese refugees as one of the most serious refugee problems in the world. Nevertheless, Bangladesh had developed a “generally” excellent capacity for disaster relief.Einfeld’s investigation was commissioned by the Australian refugee aid organization Austcare. The Australian branch of the International Commission of Jurists was also involved.

Apart from the brutality and repression, he said there was also evidence that to counter an Aids epidemic the government was killing infected people by injecting them with cyanide.

This was done “apparently in the vain hope of eradicating the disease“, which was growing out of control in Burma.“This monstrous policy dramatically manifests yet another reason why this regime must be removed.

The active intervention of Western and Asian Countries would be needed, he said, to overthrow the regime.

The Burmese junta is largely armed and supplied by China and financed by the drug trade, by democratic countries and by their commercial enterprises.

But he said up to now, businessmen of democratic countries were still operating “their peculiar brand of exploitative amoral-or immoral profiteering” in Burma.

There are hundreds of reports of atrocities and human rights violations, enforced slave labour and “rape on an appalling scale.

He had seen signs of the brutalities in the Arakan region, Einfeld said.“There are hundred of reported cases where women have been abducted and forced to carry heavy loads through mountainous terrain, raped repeatedly every night and fed almost nothing.”

THE STAR MONDAY March 16, 1992. Malaysia.

THE immense sufferings of the Rohingya Muslims should persuade the Malaysian and other Asean governments to address the one fundamental issue inMyanmar today – a harsh, haughty, dictatorship, obsessed with the perpetuation of its own power, whatever the costs and consequences.

It is a dictatorship, which has suppressed and suffocated the voice of its own people as few repressive regimes have done in recent times.

  1. Even after the people rejected the ruling junta through elections, which it tried so hard to rig, the junta has refused to surrender power to the people.
  2. The message from the masses could not have been clearer.  Though its leader, Aung San Suu Kyi was under house arrest, the National League for Democracy (NLD) won 392 out of 485 seats in Parliament in the May 27, 1990 elections.
  3. The junta sponsored, National Unity Party, on the other hand, obtained only 10 seats!
  4. After the elections, the junta began imprisoning the elected leaders of the NLD.  According to one source, in the second half of 1989 alone, 3,000 persons were imprisoned for political reasons.
  5. Even before all this, in September 1988, the military junta crushed a nation wide pro-democracy revolt with such brutal force that it shocked high level Yangon bureaucrats themselves. 
  6. It is estimated that about 12,000 protestors, many of them students, were killed mercilessly.
  7. Since January 1990 as many, as 500,000 people in different parts of Myanmar have been forcibly expelled from their homes and relocated in new areas, as part of the junta’s drive to weaken grassroots support for the NLD.
  8. The junta began a massive military exercise to break the back of minority rebellions, which have been going on for a long while.The Karens, a largely Christian minority, are now under tremendous pressure. 
  9. So are the Muslim Rohingyas.The plight of the Rohingyas then is part of a much larger problem.It is true that in some respects the Rohingyas are in a more desperate situation than most of the other victims of the junta’s repression.
  10. The Rohingyas were an independent people who ruled their own land, Arakan, for centuries until it was invaded and annexed by the Burmans in 1784.This is one of the main reasons why the Rohingyas have always resented what they regard as Burman colonization of Arakan.They allege that the military junta is trying to change the very character of their homeland by destroying entire communities, demolishing whole villages.
  11. In November 1990, for instance, 30,000 Rohingyas were uprooted from their villages.Many of these uprooted Rohingyas are regarded as ‘stateless’ by the junta, though they had lived in Arakan for generations.
  12. But the tragedy that confronts the Rohingyas and the people of Myanmar as a whole can only be overcome if the junta is made to relinquish power.
  13. For a start, Asean governments should demand that the junta transfer power to the NLD – ineffect, the legitimately elected government of the day.
  14. This will of course require the immediate release of Suu Kyi and other political, prisoners from the NLD. 

If the junta cannot be persuaded to act responsibly, then Asean governments should contemplate the following measures: 

  • THE cessation of all arms supplies to the junta, whether direct or indirect, from any source within the region. 
  • THE cessation of all forms of economic collaboration with, and assistance to, the junta emanating from both the public and private sectors in the region. 

In this concern, Thailand, in particular, should act with integty and honesty.In a nutshell, the time has come for Asean to act, for the people of Myanmar cannot wait anymore.

DR CHA.NDRA MUZAFFAR, Penang, Malaysia.

The following is the very strong article written in 1992, now the views, perceptions and reports become unbelievingly softer.

“Strangers in their own land”,

New Straits Times, March, 11, 1992. 

THE rulers of Myanmar have been afflicted with xenophobia for a long time, preferring that the country make-do and improvise with scarce resources and in seedy circumstances rather than risk infection by foreign ideas and influences. 

Now, their xenophobia has spread to encompass thousands of Muslim Rohingyas in the Western State of Arakan.  People who have lived in Myanmar for generations have suddenly been classified aliens. 

To encourage their leaving the country, soldiers have been torching homes, stealing property, and raping women, killing hundreds and detaining thousands.Myanmar has been denying the tales of atrocities, charging that they are fabrications of foreign enemies. 

Sounds like either xenophobic paranoia or a whitewashing of complicity.

Is one to discount hundreds of graphic eyewitness accounts of pillage and slaughter and mass graves? 

What explains the hurried exodus in the past three months or so of up to 170,000 refugees fleeing into Bangladesh? 

Would people, under no, compulsion, willingly give up home and field for life in refugee camps, subject to diseases and the charity of Bangladesh and international aid organizations?

There are also reports that Myanmar has put close to 100,000 troops in the border regions next to Bangladesh.  If one is not to see this as the prelude to war with Bangladesh (and there is no discernible reason for such an event), then one must see this large force as being emplaced to prompt a fleeing of the remaining “aliens” and to ensure they do not return to their homes.

The world has seen another nation shutting out the outside and; turning against its own people in a rampant fit of bloodletting. 

Cambodians still bear livid scars and memories of that ghastly dark time. One hopes the current situation in Myanmar is not a prelude to another grisly nightmare. It is one thing to send in troops to take on hill tribes who want separation and independence.

It could be argued that a government has the right to suppress separatist movements by force of arms.However, in the case of the Rohingyas, Myamnar seems to be persecuting an ethnic, religious community without even bothering to justify the violence by saying that it had anything to do with the Rohingya Solidarity Organisation (which does advocate armed insurgency to free Arakan).

Malaysia has chosen to maintain relations with Myanmar because it believes persuasion rather than isolation is a better course of action to influence events in the country.

Myanmar has clearly shown that it is prepared to go its own course without the support of other countries (though relying heavily on Chinese military supplies for its current spate of campaigns), so international ostracism is no real threat. 

One hopes Malaysia’s expressed concern over the reported persecution of the Rohingyas will influence the government in Yangon to re-consider its policies and practices.  Myanmar may feel that when it comes to the crunch, it does not need friends, but no regime can be maintained indefinitely by fear and killings. 

  • Sooner or later there will be an accounting. 
  • Professing to be Buddhists, the generals, should realize that.
  • It is alienating its own peoples.
  • It is alienating its neighbours. 
  • Are compassion and peace such alien concepts to the generals? 
  • What is the point presiding over a depopulated land?

Since 1992 the SLORC had accepted a Chinese offer to build a deep-water port on Hainggyi island at the mouth of the Bassein River. 

  • Defense analysts suggest that the island could become a base for the future Chinese ballistic missile submarine fleet.
  • Yangon had allowed China access to three islands off the Myanmar coast for signals intelligence :
  • Ramree island south of Akyab in western Arakan State,
  • Coco island in the Indian Ocean,
  • and Zadetkyi island or St Matthew’s island off the Tenasserim coast in the south-east. 
  • Satellite images indicate that a 45-metre antenna for monitoring radio traffic has been set up on Coco island.

Economic and military support for the regime has come from its Asian neighbours and near neighbours, primarily Thailand, China and Singapore.  China is Myanmar’s most important ally. 

Since 1989 more than a dozen economic and aid agreements have been signed between the two countries.Human rights have become an important test of attitudes to Myanmar.

In May 1991 the European Community (EC) foreign ministers condemned Myanmar’s human rights record, halted sales of military equipment and invited their Association of South-east Asian Nations (ASEAN) colleagues to do likewise.

The ASEAN group refused to take this approach, preferring instead to pursue a policy of “constructive engagement” with Yangon. 

The chief focus of Western human rights concern hasbeen Aung San Suu Kyi, who, until July 1995, had been held under house arrest for more than five years.  The award of the Nobel Peace Prize to her in October 1991 gave her an even higher profile and, combined with the exodus of Rohingya Muslim refugees to Bangladesh and the annual offensive against the Karen rebels, meant that by early 1992 Myanmar was more isolated internationally than at any time since the 1970s. 

The Muslim countries of Indonesia and Malaysia condemned the junta’s treatment of the Rohingyas and ASEAN refused Myanmar’s request to attend its annual foreign ministers’ meeting in Manila.

However, in September 1992 Myanmar was allowed to rejoin the Non-aligned Movement, which it left in September 1979. 

Most foreign governments welcomed the relaxation in the SLORC’s policies from mid-1992.  US blasts Myanmar junta for rights abuses.

The Sun,

March 1, 1999.Bangkok, Sun:

An annual US government report on human rights has accusedMyanmar’s military authorities of condoning a range of abuses.

The Burma Country Report on Human Rights Practices for 1998 said the people of Myamnar, especially women and children of ethnic minority groups, are subject to severe mistreatment.

“Citizens continued to live subject at any time and without appeal to the arbitrary and sometimes brutal dictates of the military dictatorship,” the report said.

There continue to be credible reports, particularly in ethnic minority dominated areas, that soldiers committed serious human rights abuses, including extrajudicial killings and rape.

“Prison conditions are harsh and life threatening.“Arbitrary arrests and detentions for expression of dissenting political viewscontinued with increasing frequency in an effort to intimidate the populace intosubmission in the face of deepening economic and political instability”

About 200 opposition MPs had been detained since September and there weremore than 1,000 political prisoners in custody, it said.

Such accusations, made frequently by international human rights groups, arerepeatedly denied by the ruling State Peace and Development Council (SPDC).

The report said women and children of ethnic minorities were being forced toperform arduous manual labour for the military, harassed, raped and sometimessold as prostitutes in neighbouring Thailand.

“During tlfe SPDC’s anti insurgency operations, members of the military forcesare responsible for arbitrary killings, rape, village relocations, the destructionof homes and property, and forced labour inflicted on ethnic minorities,” it said.

The SPDC, formerly known as the State Law and Order Restoration Council,has ignored the results of the 1990 elections won easily by the National League fordemocracy under Nobel laureate Aung San Sun Kyi.In a rare press conference on Thursday,  Suu Kyi said that authorities she wasreleased from six years of house arrest in 1955 she was still unable to enjoy a normal life.

The International Freedom Act of 1998

Shack, John, Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights,and Labor before the Committee on Foreign Relations, U.S. Senate

“The International Freedom Act of 1998”, 5/12/98ABSTRACT –

The Honorable John Shack testified before the Committee on Foreign Relations, United States Senate, concerning the work being done by the U.S. State Department to promote religious freedom around the world and to present its perspectives on Senate Bill 1868 (International Freedom Act of 1998). He emphasized that freedom of religion is a bedrock issue for the U.S. and its citizens, relating to the concept of democracy itself.

The present situation of religious persecution and violent intolerance toward minority populations in Burma …. is reviewed. Concerns about the proposed legislation are discussed with respect to the definition of religious persecution and how to provide incentives for improvement in the situations discovered. Throughout the world, the United States upholds human rights, including the principle that freedom of religion, conscience and belief is a universally recognized human right and fundamental freedom.

As President Clinton declared on Religious Freedom Day, January 16, 1998,

“We must continue to proclaim the fundamental right of all peoples to believe and worship according to their own conscience, to affirm their beliefs openly and freely, and to practice their faith without fear of intimidation.”

Freedom of religion is a bedrock issue for the American people and its government.

Indeed, the United States in large part was founded by people who fled religious persecution and intolerance. Their desire for religious freedom prompted the establishment of many of the colonies, where they wrote the principle into their laws and charters.

As the poet James Russell Lowell wrote, religious freedom was the seed that produced democracy.

Our country’s founders recognized the importance of religious freedom.

Thomas Jefferson called it “the creed of our political faith [and] the text of our civil instruction.”

He recognized the inherent link between religious freedom and freedom of speech, assembly, and association.

That is why he and the other Founding Fathers insisted on the prominent placement of freedom of religion in the Bill of Rights, as the First Amendment to the Constitution.  

If people lack religious freedom, other human rights violations, intolerance and violence are more prevalent

Mr. Chairman, it would be a mistake to regard religious freedom as a uniquely American value.

  • It is a concept basic to every one of the world’s major belief systems.
  • It also is an internationally recognized human right.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights recognize that all citizens have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.

This right is inherent in the dignity of every human being.

No government can legitimately deny it, no matter what the justification, for it is universal, inalienable, and endowed by virtue of birth.

Unfortunately, however, there are some in the world today who refuse to recognize this fundamental right and who discriminate against, restrict, or even persecute those of other faiths.

Whether Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Jew, Hindu, Baha’i, or of another creed, believers around the world continue to suffer for their faith.   

Statement by Lim Kit Siang – Malaysia Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General, 29th November 1996.

ASEAN Informal Summit in Jakarta tomorrow should take serious note of the resolution by the UN General Assembly’s social, humanitarian and cultural committee deploring Myanmar for continuing violations of human rights

The application by the Myanmar military junta, State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC), to join ASEAN is expected to be one of the main issues at the ASEAN Informal Summit in Jakarta tomorrow, especially as the Chairman of SLORC, Gen Tan Swe, has been invited to the Jakarta meeting.

The ASEAN Informal Summit in Jakarta should take serious note of the resolution by the UN General Assembly’s social, humanitarian and cultural committee on Wednesday deploring the continuing violations of human rights in Myanmar.

The UN General Assembly committee passed a resolution by consensus rebuking SLORC for

  1. suppressing opposition,
  2. using forced labour to build its economy,
  3. torturing prisoners,
  4. abusing women
  5. ]and conducting summary executions.

This resolution would be transmitted to the UN General Assembly for formal adoption next month, and by past practice, the General Assembly invariably reflects the stand taken by the committee.

ASEAN should advise SLORC/SPDC to-

engage in substantive political dialogue

  • with Aung San Suu Kyi
  • and other political
  • and ethnic leaders

for national reconciliation and democratic reforms.

However, the National Convention is no longer a legitimate process since the National League for Democracy (NLD) which won the 1990 general elections in Burma has suspended its participation in the National Convention.

The continuation of the present National Convention is a direct violation of the principle established in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that “the will of the people shall be the basis of authority of government”.

ASEAN’s “constructive engagement” policy must be one_

  1. where the ASEAN leaders can give constructive views to SLORC
  2. as to how it could return to the mainstream of the international community.
  3. It must not a blank-cheque to the Myanmar military junta to disregard international opinion
  4. by continuing with its violations of human rights against its people
  5. in return for opening up economic opportunities for ASEAN countries to exploit in Burma. (29/11/96)  

Media Statement by Lim Kit Siang

Call on Dr. Mahathir to exert pressure on SPDC to have genuine dialogue with NLD and ethnic minorities for greater political and economic reforms in Burma during his visit in Rangoon next week 

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad should exert his influence as a key leader in ASEAN on the ruling State Peace Development Council (SPDC) to have genuine dialogue with the leadership of National League for Democracy (NLD) and ethnic minorities to seek the best solution to the problems faced by Burma during his visit to Rangoon from 9th to 10th March 1998.

The Secretary General of NLD Aung San Suu Kyi has been calling for dialogue with the military junta for many years and has expressed her willingness to work with SPDC to solve the problems faced by Burma,

but the military junta has been ignoring her call and has shown its insincerity in its superficial dialogue with NLD last year

which purportedly excluded the key leaders of NLD, especially Aung San Suu Kyi, U Kyi Maung and U Tin Oo.

It is clear that there has been no improvement in the political and economic situation in Burma since it was admitted into ASEAN in July 1997.

The universities have been closed for more than 16 months, besides the continuation of human rights abuses in all parts of that country.

The only change made by the military junta after being admitted into ASEAN was the change of name from State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) to State Peace Development Council (SPDC) in last November

which brings no significant changes to the policies and system of that country.

The continuation of human rights violation and deterioration of economic situation in Burma after the admission of Burma into ASEAN shows to the international community that the Constructive Engagement policy of ASEAN has failed.

The Constructive Engagement policy with Burma has been seen as a lip service of ASEAN rather than a sincere engagement policy with the military junta of Burma in bringing betterment of social and political reforms to the suffering people of Burma.  (6/3/98)

Another Media Statement by Lim Kit Siang

DAP calls for a “constructive intervention” policy on inter-ASEAN relations Malaysia should support the Thai proposal to end the ASEAN policy of non-interference in one another’s internal affairs.

Thai Foreign Minister Surin Pitsuwan had proposed last month that Asean members, which traditionally avoid delving into one another’s affairs, should change this policy, adding that this would result in greater flexibility which would help Asean recover some of the clout it has lost due to the Asian financial crisis. Philippine Foreign Under-secretary Lauro Baja has said that the ASEAN foreign ministers, which will meet in Manila later this month, will discuss the Thai proposal. Baja also confirmed press reports that the Philippines was already taking a position of “flexible engagement” with Asean member Burma, aimed at helping avoid a political upheaval in that country. Malaysia should in fact go one step further to propose that ASEAN adopt a “constructive intervention” policy on inter-ASEAN relations. The first country for such an ASEAN “constructive intervention” policy to be put into practice is undoubtedly Burma, where opposition groups in the country had recently warned that serious social unrest was set to erupt in that country amid rising tensions with government forces. Burma’s military Government has lashed out at Thailand and the Philippines for “presumptuous” comments about its internal situation and warned their interference could damage ASEAN unity. Thailand, the Philippines and hopefully Malaysia should not allow such threats from steering ASEAN into the new territory of “constructive intervention”. (11/7/98)   ASEAN should learn from the failure of the “constructive engagement’ policy on Burma and craft a new pro-active approach to protect ASEAN’s international credibility by helping Burma embark on the road of democratic reforms and national reconciliation  Media Conference Statement – the launching of the book “From Consensus to Controversy – ASEAN’s Relationship with Burma’s SLORC” by Lim Kit Siang  It is most regrettable that despite the failure of ASEAN’s “constructive engagement” policy on Burma and widespread objections in the region, Burma would be admitted into ASEAN next week.In giving legitimacy to the repressive military junta in Burma, ASEAN stands the risk of undermining its international credibility and legitimacy, especially if the State Law and Restoration Council (SLORC) uses its new-found legitimacy to crack down on the National League for Democracy and Burmese opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi.It is very sad that on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of Matyrs Day, Burma is no nearer to a new democratic beginning. On the contrary there are ominous signs that the Burmese military rulers might be setting the scene for a new wave of repression after Burma had been officially admitted into ASEAN next week.Two weeks ago, for instance, Lieutenant-General Tin Oo, one of the country’s four most powerful elements, warned that the military government had been watching “destructive elements” – SLORC’s code word for NLD and Aung San Suu Kyi – and would take action against them if they did not mend their ways.ASEAN governments must make it very clear to the SLORC leaders next week that admission into ASEAN is not a licence for gross violation of human rights and that although ASEAN countries do not interfere in each other’ domestic affairs, SLORC should not undermine ASEAN’s international image, credibility and legitimacy through a new wave of repressions against pro-democracy activists.In fact, ASEAN should learn from the failure of its “constructive engagement’ policy on Burma.The time has also come for ASEAN to give greater meaning to the regional grouping on its 30th anniversary by showing the world that South East Asian nations could not only become economic powerhouses, but also become human rights models.There is no more meaningful way to mark ASEAN’s 30th anniversary than the establishment of an ASEAN Commission of Human Rights to uphold human rights in the region and address regional concerns that Burma’s admission would be a setback for democracy and human rights, not only in Burma, but also for the other ASEAN nations.The ASEAN Commission of Human Rights should be an important plank of a “comprehensive ASEAN policy on Burma” to help Burma embark on the road towards democratisation and national reconciliation.(18/7/97)   OPEN LETTER to ASEAN Foreign Ministers meeting in Kuala Lumpur tomorrow to discuss the timing of full membership for Myanmar by Lim Kit Siang. 30th May 1997 Honourable ASEAN Foreign Ministers Myanmar’s membership in ASEAN  The human rights record of SLORC had worsened since it had acquired observer status in ASEAN. It had continued to defy the annual United Nations General Assembly resolution calling for democratisation and it had refused to co-operate with ASEAN countries to make a success of the ASEAN constructive engagement policy in the past seven years to achieve tangible or measurable progress in democratic reforms and national reconciliation.While ASEAN governments do not want to ostracise Myanmar, they should not reward SLORC for its poor human rights record by admitting it into ASEAN this year.The ASEAN Foreign Ministers should take seriously the warning of Aung San Suu Kyi in a videotape to ASEAN leaders that admitting Myanmar into ASEAN might trigger an increase in the SLORC repression of political and human rights.Suu Kyi said in the videotape that Myanmar under SLORC is not going to be any credit to ASEAN. But she thinks is the possibility that admission into ASEAN will make SLORC even more obdurate and oppressive than ever.”Just as any regional or international organisation which admitted South Africa in the heyday of the apartheid regime would rightly incur international opprobrium, ASEAN Foreign Ministers must be fully aware of the great damage to the international reputation of ASEAN if Myanmar is admitted without any improvement in its abysmal human rights record.Furthermore, Burma’s admission into ASEAN must be contingent on SLORC co-operating with ASEAN countries to make a success of the ASEAN constructive engagement policy to promote democratic reforms and national reconciliation.For the past seven years, ASEAN’s “constructive engagement” policy had been very one-sided, confining its contacts with SLORC, when the ASEAN governments should reach out to “constructively engage” with both SLORC and the pro-democracy forces led by Aung San Suu Kyi. The ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Conference should respond positively to the invitation by Sui Kyi in her videotape message that:“If ASEAN is truly interested in constructive engagement, it should try to engage with both sides in Burma, with the (regime) as well as the democratic opposition.“ASEAN should be engaged with the National League for Democracy as well, because we are the party, which was elected by the people in the democratic elections of 1990”. The ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ should seriously consider the hosting of a dialogue between SLORC and the pro-democracy forces led by Aung San Suu Kyi in the hope that such a dialogue under the auspices of ASEAN could help break the present political impasse in Burma and move Burma towards the road of democratisation and national reconciliation – and pave the way for Burma’s eventual admission into ASEAN.Thank you.Yours truly,Lim Kit Siang Parliamentary Opposition Leader Secretary-General, Democratic Action Party Malaysia (30/5/97)  Aliran’s Media Statement “Democracy Further Stalled in Burma”. Aliran views with deep concern the recent political stand-off between Burma’s opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and the country’s military junta. In the recent incident, Suu Kyi was prevented by the military from travelling freely in her own country to exercise her democratic rights and to meet her political supporters. This prompted her to stay put in her Toyota Mark II sedan as a mark of protest. The military regime’s latest action against her would have had serious implications for the health of the already ailing opposition leader. It also reflects the regime’s increasingly arrogant display of political barbarism. The political recalcitrance flaunted by the Burmese military regime makes an ugly mockery of the much-hyped ASEAN notion of “constructive engagement” and the zealously guarded policy of non-interference in the internal affairs of member countries. Fellow ASEAN member states must in no uncertain terms make it known to the Burmese regime that enough is enough and that Suu Kyi and her colleagues should be given their rightful democratic place in Burma. ASEAN as a regional group cannot afford to be seen as being selective when it comes to reprimanding nations that have breached international norms of justice and democracy. Unless ASEAN corrects itself in this respect, its international reputation will be jeopardised and, worse, it will be perceived as a group that doesn’t practise wha it preaches to other, especially those in the West; in short, it is often seen as a group that practises double standards. Dr Mustafa K. Anuar Asst. Secretary 30 July 1998.           

Roots of Burmese Muslims

Roots of Burmese Muslims 

There is definitely direct spread of Islam to this part of the world and Burma/Myanmar directly from Arabia and Africa continent. But I hereby wish to stress on the one root or SEED OF ISLAM that came to Burma from India.

Islam began in Asia in the 7th century during the life of Muhammad. The greatest number of adherents of Islam has lived in Asia since the beginning of Islamic history.

Islam was started on the Arabian Peninsula by Muhammad in the 7th century. Since then it began spreading rapidly. Till his death (in 632), Muhammad managed to unite the whole of the Arabian peninsular into one country with Islam as the official religion.  

Today most Muslims live in Asia. The majority of notable Muslim religious leaders are based in Asia. Asian countries with high Muslim population include: Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Kuwait, India, Turkey, Russia, Yemen, Oman, and Qatar. One of the important 20th century figures that developed Islam was Muhammad Iqbal – a philosopher. Another important Asian Muslim was Abdullah Yusuf Ali, an Indian Muslim from Mumbai who translated the Qur’an to English. 

It is necessary for academic purpose because most of the Muslims in Myanmar are Sunni Muslims from the Hannafi sect. From the Bosnia, Kosovo, Albania, Turkey, Central Asia (break away countries from Russia), Afghanistan, China, Pakistan, India and Bangladesh most of the Muslims are from this same sect.  

Muslims from Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and Brunei are from the Shafi sect of Sunni. Shafi sect is known to be spread by the sea route.  

In contrast to this, Hannafi sect is known to be spread by the land route. Arabs propagate Islam directly to the Central Asia and Turky.

The Mongols, e.g. Gin Ghist Khan, although they are Buddhists employed the Muslim Turks and Central Asians and cause the spread of Islam to this part of the world. In this case, the saying, ‘conquerors are conquered’ need to be explained thoroughly.

The conqueror U Tar Tars took over Turkey, Iran and Iraq, and they killed the millions of men and children and married those Muslim women left behind. Their new wives strangely converted them into Islam and they accepted the Islamic cultures. So this is the living proof of the saying, ‘conquerors are conquered’.

And those Tar Tar/Turk descendents’ armies invaded Afghanistan, India subcontinent (future India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.) and established the Moghol Islamic Empire. So the Central Asia Muslims, Chinese Muslims, Yunan Chinese Muslims and Burma’s Chinese Muslims or Panthays and many of the Burmese Muslims are also their descendents. Even the Muslims in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia got Islam from those Chinese Muslims.

islam-by-country-smooth.png  Distribution of Islam per country.

Green represents a Sunni majority

and blue represents a Shia majority.  

 Today, Islam in Mongolia is mainly practiced by the Kazakhs of Bayan-Ölgii aimag in western Mongolia. The U.S. Department of State estimates that Muslims form 6% of the population, or roughly 150,000 people. 

When the Mongol Empire broke up into four khanates, three of the four khanates became Muslim. These were the Golden Horde, Hulagu’s Ulus and Chagatai’s Ulus. The Yuan Empire also embraced Muslim peoples such as the Uyghurs. Although the court of the Yuan Empire adopted Tibetan Buddhism as the official religion, the majority of the ordinary Mongols, especially those who continued living in Mongolia proper, remained Shamanists.  

In 1257, Hulagu Khan amassed an unusually large army, a significant portion of the Mongol Empire’s forces, for the purpose of conquering Baghdad. When they arrived at the Islamic capital, Hulagu demanded surrender but the caliph refused. This angered Hulagu, and, consistent with Mongol strategy of discouraging resistance, Baghdad was decimated. Estimates of the number of dead range from 200,000 to a million. 

The Mongols destroyed the Abbasid Caliphate and The Grand Library of Baghdad, which contained countless, precious, historical documents. The city would never regain its status as major center of culture and influence. 

In 1401, warlord of Turco-Mongol descent Tamerlane (Timur Lenk) invaded Iraq. After the capture of Bagdad, 20,000 of its citizens were massacred. Timur ordered that every soldier should return with at least two severed human heads to show him (many warriors were so scared they killed prisoners captured earlier in the campaign just to ensure they had heads to present to Timur. 

Timeline of Mongol invasions            

  1. 1205–1209 invasion of Western China            
  2. 1211–1234 invasion of Northern China            
  3. 1218–1220 invasion of Central Asia (North eastern of Persia)            
  4. 1220-1223, 1235-1330 invasions of Georgia and the Caucasus (North and north western of Persia)            
  5. 1220–1224 of the Cumans            
  6. 1223–1236 invasion of Volga Bulgaria            
  7. 1231–1259 invasion of Korea  
  8. Mongol invasion of Europe            
  9. 1237–1242 invasion of Rus            
  10. 1241 invasion of Poland, Lithuania and Bohemia            
  11. 1241 invasion of Hungary            
  12. 1241 invasion of Austria and Northeast Italy            
  13. 1242 invasion of Serbia and Bulgaria            
  14. 1241-1244 invasion of Anatolia            
  15. 1251-1259 invasion of Persia, Syria and Mesopotamia            
  16. 1252-1472 Mongol military campaigns in Russia            
  17. 1257, 1284, 1287 invasions of Vietnam            
  18. 1258 invasion of Baghdad            
  19. 1258-1259 invasion of Galych-Volhynia            
  20. 1259 raid against Lithuania and Poland            
  21. 1264-1265 raid against Bulgaria and Thrace            
  22. 1274, 1281 invasions of Japan            
  23. 1274 raid against Bulgaria            
  24. 1275, 1277 raids against Lithuania            
  25. 1277 invasion of Myanmar            
  26. 1279 invasions of Southern China            
  27. 1281 invasion of Syria            
  28. 1285 invasion of Hungary            
  29. 1285 raid against Bulgaria            
  30. 1287 invasion of Myanmar            
  31. 1287 raid against Poland            
  32. 1293 invasion of Java            
  33. 1297, 1299 invasions of India            
  34. 1299 invasion of Syria            
  35. Mongol invasions of India(1222, 1241, 1257, 1292, 1298, 1306 and 1327)            
  36. Mongol invasion of Myanmar (1300)            
  37. 1303 Mongol invasion of Syria            
  38. 312 Mongol invasion of Syria  

Mongols were highly tolerant of most religions, and typically sponsored several at the same time. At the time of Genghis Khan, virtually every religion had found converts, from Buddhism to Christianity and Manichaeanism to Islam.

To avoid strife, Genghis Khan set up an institution that ensured complete religious freedom, though he himself was a shamanist. Under his administration, all religious leaders were exempt from taxation, and from public service. Initially there were few formal places of worship, because of the nomadic lifestyle. However, under Ögedei, several building projects were undertaken in Karakorum. Along with palaces, Ogodei built houses of worship for the Buddhist, Muslim, Christian, and Taoist followers. The dominant religion at that time was Shamanism and Buddhism, although Ogodei’s wife was a Christian. 

Turkic-Mongol military bands in Iran, after some years of chaos were united under the Saffavid tribe, under whom the modern Iranian nation took shape under the Shiite faith.

Meanwhile Mongol princes in Central Asia were content with Sunni orthodoxy with decentralized princedoms of the Chagatay, Timurid and Uzbek houses. 

In addition to the Khanates and other descendants, the Mughal royal family of South Asia are also descended from Genghis Khan: Babur’s mother was a descendant — whereas his father was directly descended from Timur (Tamerlane).

At the time of Genghis Khan’s death in 1227, the empire was divided among his four sons, with his third son as the supreme Khan, and by the 1350s, the khanates were in a state of fracture and had lost the order brought to them by Genghis Khan.

Eventually the separate khanates drifted away from each other, becoming the Il-Khans Dynasty based in Iran, the Chagatai Khanate in Central Asia, the Yuan Dynasty in China, and what would become the Golden Horde in present day Russia. 

The Mughal Empire was an important imperial power in the Indian subcontinent from the early 16th to the mid-19th centuries.

At the height of its power, around 1700, it controlled most of the subcontinent and parts of what is now Afghanistan. Its population at that time has been estimated as between 110 and 130 million, over a territory of over a billion acres (4 million km2) 

The classic period of the Empire starts with the accession of Akbar the Great in 1556 and ends with the death of Aurangzeb in 1707, although the Empire continued for another 150 years. During this period, the Empire was marked by a highly centralized administration connecting the different regions of India. All the significant monuments of the Mughals, their most visible legacy, date to this period. 

Mughal is the Persian word for Mongol and was generally used to refer to the Central Asians who claimed descent from the Mongol warriors of Genghis Khan. The foundation for Mughal empire was established around 1504 by the Timurid prince Babur, a descendant of Genghis Khan and Timur, when he took control of Kabul and eastern regions of Khorasan controlling the fertile Sindh region and the lower valley of the Indus River. 

Babur’s son Humayun succeeded him in 1530 but suffered major reversals at the hands of the Pashtun Sher Shah Suri and effectively lost most of the fledgling empire. When the Afghans fell into disarray with the death of Sher Shah Suri, Humayun returned with a mixed army, raised more troops and managed to reconquer Delhi in 1555. Humayun conquered the central plateau around Delhi, he was killed in an accident and succeded by the son Akbar.

Akbar (1556 to 1605) succeeded his father on 14 February 1556, while in the midst of a war against Sikandar Shah Suri for the reclamation of the Mughal throne. Thus, he was thrust onto the throne and soon recorded his first victory at the age of 13 or 14. Jahangir, the son of Mughal Emperor Akbar and Rajput princess Mariam-uz-Zamani, ruled the empire from 1605–1627.

In October 1627, Shah Jahan, the son of Mughal Emperor Jahangir and Rajput princess Manmati, succeeded to the throne, where he inherited a vast and rich empire in India; and at mid-century this was perhaps the greatest empire in the world. Shah Jahan commissioned the famous Taj Mahal (1630–1653) in Agra as a tomb for his wife Mumtaz Mahal, who died giving birth to their 14th child. By 1700 the empire reached its peak with major parts of present day India, 

After the invasion of Persia by the Mongol Empire, a regional Turko-Persio-Mongol dynasty formed. Just as eastern Mongol dynasties inter-married with locals and adopted the local religion of Buddhism and the Chinese culture, this group adopted the local religion of Islam and the Persian culture.

The first Mughal King, Babur, established the Mughal dynasty in regions spanning parts of present-day Pakistan and India. Upon invading this region, the Mughals inter-married with local royalty once again, creating a dynasty of combined Turko-Persian, and Mongol background. King Babur did this to create peace among the different religions in the region.

Despite preaching Islamic values himself, Babur focused on setting a good example for the Mughal Dynasty by emphasizing religious tolerance. The language of the court was Persian. The language spoken was Urdūn, which today has advanced into Urdu. Urdūn originated from Persio-Arabic formation, and took on various characteristics of Persian, Chagatai, and Arabic. Today, Urdu is the National Language of Pakistan and is spoken by most Indian Muslims. Religious orthodoxy would only play an important role during the reign of Aurangzeb Ālamgīr, a devout Muslim.

This last of the Great Mughals retracted some of the tolerant policies of his forbears. Under his reign the empire reached its greatest extent in terms of territorial gain and economic strength. I

slam first came into India in the province of Kerala during the lifetime of Prophet Mohammed himself. Prophet Mohammed is said to have sent messengers to the Roman (Byzantine) Emperor Heraclius, the Sassanian (Persian) Emperors Chosroes (Khushrau Parvez) and Yazdgard, and to the Kings of China and Kerala (in South India).

The Kings of China and Kerala are said to have received the messengers with great courtesy. King Cheraman of Chera dynasty of Kerala Voluntarily Converts to Islam in the 7th Century.  Tamerlane, a corruption of the name in Persian, Timur-i-Leng, meaning “Timur the Lame.”

The word Timur is Turkic for “iron”. He became the ruler of an empire that stretched from Delhi to Anatolia.  Timur was born in Kesh, fifty miles south of Samarkand) in 1336. His capture of Delhi in 1398 and became the Emperor of Hindustan. Samarkand, Timur’s royal city, celebrated its 2500th anniversary in 1970. It is an ancient site, located on the Zarafshan River, in modern-day Uzbekistan. 

BABUR, THE FIRST OF THE GREAT MOGHULS,was born on February 14, 1483 in Ferghana east of Samarkand. The name “Moghul” is a Persian variant of “Mongol”.  Emperor Babur (1483-1530), the founder of the great Mughal dynasty, was descended from both Genghis Khan and Timur. In 1504, Babur captured the Kabul, Afghan and India in 1524. Two years later, he defeated the Sultan of Delhi . Akbar (1542-1605) was the third and most famous Mughal emperor.  Babar established the Mughal dynasty which ruled from Delhi (and later from Agra) Between 1527 C.E. and 1690 C.E., the Mughals gradually expanded their hold over almost the whole of India. They ruled from 1527 up to 1857. The Mughal (and Muslim) rule was formally abolished by the British.  

The last Muslim Moghul Emperor of India, Abu Za’far Saraj al-Din Bahadur Shah and his family members and some followers were exiled to Yangon, Myanmar (Burma). The Mongols themselves were assimilated into local populations after the fall of the empire, and many of these descendants adopted local religions — for example, the eastern Khanates largely adopted Buddhism, and the western Khanates adopted Islam, largely under Sufi influence. The last Khan who was the ruler of South Asia, Bahadur Shah Zafar was deposed by the British after the collapse of the 1857 uprising and exiled to Rangoon where he lies buried. His sons were killed by the British in Humayun’s tomb, the burial place of their ancestor in Delhi. He died there and was buried in Yangon (Rangoon) on 7.11.1862. Now his burial site became a minor diplomatic clash between India and Pakistan. Both of them want to control the site now famous as a shrine and even some of the Burmese Buddhists used to go and pray there because Za’far Shar, as they known, was regarded as a saint.  

The first Mughal emperor Babur wrote in the Bāburnāma:            

“Hindustan is a place of little charm. There is no beauty in its people, no graceful social intercourse, no poetic talent or understanding, no etiquette, nobility or manliness. The arts and crafts have no harmony or symmetry. There are no good horses, meat, grapes, melons or other fruit. There is no ice, cold water, good food or bread in the markets. There are no baths and no madrasas. There are no candles, torches or candlesticks”. 

The Mughal period would see a more fruitful blending of Indian, Iranian and Central Asian artistic, intellectual and literary traditions than any other in Indian history. The Mughals had a taste for the fine things in life — for beautifully designed artifacts and the enjoyment and appreciation of cultural activities. The Mughals borrowed as much as they gave; both the Hindu and Muslim traditions of India were huge influences on their interpretation of culture and court style.  Nevertheless, they introduced many notable changes to Indian society and culture, including:

  1. Centralised government which brought together many smaller kingdoms
  2. Persian art and culture amalgamated with native Indian art and culture
  3. Started new trade routes to Arab and Turk lands, Islam was at its very high
  4. Mughlai cuisine
  5. Urdu and spoken Hindi languages were formed for common Muslims and Hindus respectively
  6. A new style of architecture
  7. Landscape gardening

300px-tajmahalbyamalmongia.jpg

A major Mughal contribution to south Asia was their unique architecture. Many monuments were built during the Mughal era including the Taj Mahal.

Acknowledgement 

Some data and photos from Wikipedia.