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. 

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STOP HATRED, STOP TRYING TO DIVIDE; FOR A LONG LASTING PEACE, PROGRESS, AND PROSPERITY

 

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The Golden days of the Great Shan Empire VII

The Golden days of the

Great Shan Empire VII

Detention of Ethnic Shan and other opposition Leaders

Read detail in Irrawaddy, “Detained Ethnic Leaders Denied Outside Medical Aid” By Shah Paung on January 8, 2008

Detained ethnic Shan leaders are being denied medical treatment from outside for serious health problems, according to the Shan National League for Democracy.

9883-khun-htun-oo.gif

SNLD chairman Hkun Htun Oo

SNLD spokesman Sai Lek told The Irrawaddy on Tuesday that prison authorities had rejected or ignored requests by the families of SNLD chairman Hkun Htun Oo and SNLD member Sai Hla Aung for medical attention from outside.

Hkun Htun Oo suffers from_

  1. prostate problems,
  2. diabetes,
  3. heart disease
  4. and high blood pressure.

Sai Hla Aung has_

  1. a hyperthyroid condition,
  2. diabetes
  3. and heart disease.

They were arrested in February 2005, together with_

  1. SNLD General-Secretary Sai Nyunt Lwin,
  2. Shan State Peace Council President Maj-Gen Sao Hso Ten
  3. and Shan politician Shwe Ohn, who was later released.

They were arrested days before a resumed session of the National Convention opposed by Shan leaders.

  • Hkun Htun Oo was sentenced to 92 years imprisonment and is detained in Putao prison, Kachin State.
  • Sai Nyunt Lwin received a 75 year sentence and is in Kalay prison, Sagaing Division.
  • Sao Hso Ten was sentenced to a total of 106 years imprisonment and is in Hkamti prison, Sagaing Division.
  • Sai Hla Aung received a sentence of 75 years and is in Kyauk Pyu prison, Arakan State.
  • Meanwhile, arrests of National League for Democracy members continue. NLD spokesman Nyan Win said five members of the NLD youth wing had been arrested between Burma Independence Day on January 4 and January 6. No reason has yet been given for the arrests.
  • According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma), based in neighboring Thailand, there are more than 1,400 political prisoners in Burma.

SPDC Junta and Myanmar Tatmadaw failed to understand that patriotism is not the sole property of the Myanmar Tatmadaw and its Generals alone.

Each and every citizen_

  • regardless of his race,
  • religion,
  • social status
  • or political alignment,

has the right and is duty-bound to show his sense of patriotism to the country he loves in his own way.

Tatmadaw failed to acknowledge that the opposition parties like NLD, SNLD etc are equally patriotic, if not more so than SPDC leaders.

Many opposition leaders, to name a few_

  1. U Gambari lead real Buddhist monks,
  2. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi led NLD leaders like U Tin Oo,
  3. U Hkun Htun Oo led SNLD Shan leaders,
  4. Min Ko Naing lead 88 Student leaders, like Ko Ko Gyi etc,
  5. Burmese Muslims such as, Daw Win Mya Mya (NLD Mandalay, Panthay) and Ko Mya Aye (88 Student leader)

Are unlike those in the SPDC and Tatmadaw,

  • have given up much of their comforts in life,
  • endured so much pain and humiliation
  • and even have been detained
  • and tortured
  • under the illegal, undemocratic, unjust, draconian laws of the SPDC.

SPDC Junta should answer my question even if their brain is slightly larger than a bird’s brain.

If sacrificing the major part of one’s life for the nation is not patriotism, what is it then?

It is extremely distressing that the ruling Myanmar Generals and Tatmadaw want to cling onto power instead of being an instrument for the peace, progress, prosperity, unity of Myanmar and power house to start an inertia of change to democracy.

Not only the different Races and religions have become the cause of disunity, hate, violence and turmoil but the Myanmar Generals and Tatmadaw show the world that they are even willing to assault, arrest, torture and kill their own monks to stop the momentum of people’s peaceful struggle to initiate the changes to democracy.

So what’s left now to think about the safety or guarantee of other minority races and religious groups’ fate, life and property ?

We all now witnessed that Myanmar Tatmadaw is even willing to sacrifice and annihilate any one or any obstacle on their way to the road to their permanent dominance of Myanmar. 

But the whole world looks quite cool, slow and looks like willing to patiently waiting forever for the SPDC promised, “Rice presenting on the moon-plate”

SPDC Generals should stop playing the politics of fear and intimidation on the unarmed Myanmar civilians. They should not politicise or use the national security as an excuse because it would be the most unpatriotic act, amounting to treachery.

We have journeyed together, sharing a common brotherhood for 60 years and we have attained wisdom and maturity to effect change that would create an environment where all of the Burmese/Myanmar citizens can have our voices heard, rights respected and continue to live together without fear or suspicion of each other.

We should not allow selfish Military Generals to sow the seeds of disunity, suspicion, hate and jealousy that will only be detrimental to us in this multi-racial and multi-religious nation of Burma/Myanmar.

As Barrack Obama, the US presidential candidate, said after his first defeat in the primaries:

‘Change is hard. Change is always met by resistance from the status quo. The real gamble is to have the same old folks doing the same old things over and over and over again and somehow expect a different result’.

We cannot and should not expect a better outcome from the same old Tatmadaw system over and over again. They will try to keep all the issues and dialogue in the back burner.

In order to create a just government for all of the Burmese/ Myanmars, we must strive to effect a change.

We have no much time to wait for the evolution, until or unless, UN and Mr Gambari could forced the snail paced present (almost effectively stalled) dialogue on the rocket louncher to install on to the fast track.

To bring about that change may not be that easy, it may be a monumental task, but there must be a beginning for all good things to happen.

Why shouldn’t it be now?

Is the saying, “Time and Tide wait for no man” irrelevant to the inhumane, noncivilized uniformed Tatnadaw?

Why did UN and the whole world allow the Junta to procrastinate when all of us already know that what the SPDC want was TIME only.

SPDC stupidly thought that time could heal the bleeding hearts of the people seeing their beloved revered monks beaten, arrested and killed.

It is now in our hands to make that change.

Do we have the will and courage to do so?

Except for the USA and EU leaders,

  • are ASEAN leaders,
  • OIC leaders,
  • Common Wealth leaders,
  • Non Allied movement leaders
  • and UN member countries’ leaders

all became cowards? Eunuchs with any B–ls? Greedy Crooks?

Or are they all willing to close their eyes, as the Burmese saying, “Myauk Thar_ Sar Chin Yin_Myaul Myet Nher_Ma Kyi Ne’.” meaning. “if you want to eat the flesh of the monkey, avoid looking at the face of the monkey.”

So carry on world leaders, just close your eyes to avoid seeing us beatened, tortured, arrested and killed by the Than Shwe Junta.

Please continue to enjoy the following article I republished from Irrawaddy.

Pro-Democracy Political Prisoners in Poor Health Condition
By Shah Paung
January 16, 2008

At least four detained political prisoners in Burmese prisons are in poor health and need medical attention, according to their family members.

The four political prisoners are Hla Myo Naung and Kyaw Soe of the 88 Generation Students group, who are both in Insein Prison in Rangoon; Win Maw, a pro-democracy activist, also in Insein Prison; and Myint Oo, a committee member of the Magwe Division of the National League for Democracy, who is in Mandalay Prison.

Hla Myo Naung has eye problems and is nearly blind in both eyes, according to a family member. He has had eye problems since October 2007, and was arrested while he was enroute to a Rangoon clinic to have an operation on the left side of one eye.

After he was arrested, authorities performed an operation on one of his eyes, but it was not successful and an eye nerve was damaged.

Family members of both Win Maw and Kyaw Soe said they received medical treatment in prison after they were tortured by the authorities in an interrogation center.

However, Win Maw has now contracted pneumonia. Kyaw Soe suffers from fainting spells. Both men were victims of water torture, according to sources.

A family member of Win Maw said they have not been allowed to visit him for nearly three weeks.

Myint Oo, who also suffers from pneumonia, began receiving medical treatment in a Mandalay prison hospital three days ago, according to family members.

Tate Naing, the secretary of the exiled-based Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma), said that since August 2007, the military government has arrested more than 7,000 people, including pro-democracy activists.  Prisoners are not allowed to receive outside medical treatment.

88 Generation Students leaders Min Ko Naing and Ko Ko Gyi also have health problems, say their family members. They were arrested by authorities in August 2007.

According to the AAPP, there are more than 1,850 political prisoners in Burmese prisons.

 

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.

 

 

Aaron Cohen: Sex Slaves and Drug Trade

Aaron Cohen:

Sex Slaves and Drug Trade

 

I got an e-mail as a response to “To Change Hearts and Minds of SPDC”on July 31, 2007 at 3:53 am1 c

Dear Dr. San Oo Aung,

I enjoy reading your articles on this website. I’m an American journalist who recently wrote a cover story for the LA Weekly on the topic of human trafficking and how it is related to the drug and uranium trade in Burma.

I thought you might be interested in reading and/or posting it.

All best,

Christine
Here’s the link:
http://www.laweekly.com/general/features/aaron-cohen-sex-slaves-drug-trade-and-rock-n-roll/16687/ 

Aaron Cohen:

Sex Slaves,

Drug Trade

and Rock n’ Roll

In his quest to free slaves around the world, Aaron Cohen thought he’d seen it all. Then he went to Myanmar.

By Christine Buckley

Wednesday, June 27, 2007 – 12:00 pm

(Photo by Kevin Scanlon) At 6:45 a.m., I’m awakened in my bed at the Little Saigon Inn by a worrisome text message from a man who’s already told me enough disturbing tales to keep me in nightmares for weeks.

“I’m on my way to the gym. The Mercedes is still parked outside. I should make him some coffee perhaps. The poor guy has been out there all night.”

“What?” I write back, eyeing the chair I had propped against the door the night before. This is Garden Grove, not Ho Chi Minh City. Isn’t he being a little theatrical?

Possibly, but the story Aaron Cohen needs to tell has brought me from Southeast Asia to Southwest Florida and back to Los Angeles, where I’ve already been waiting two weeks for him to materialize.

I guess when you’re in a tunnel hiding out from the Burmese army, you can’t worry too much about returning a journalist’s phone calls.

Cohen is a “slave hunter,” a specialist in identifying and, in some cases, retrieving the unfortunate human beings who are trafficked for labor and/or sexual purposes — a remarkably prevalent and lucrative global trade.

So far the job has brought him to dozens of countries like Colombia, Sudan and Cambodia, where the business of human flesh is of special concern to the U.S. State Department and other agencies or governments who subcontract his services.

He is what is known in covert operations as a NOC, a special agent working under “non-official cover,” but unlike an agency man, Cohen’s primary allegiance is to people, not political agendas.

What makes Cohen’s story even more unusual is that he used to be known as Perry Farrell’s best friend and spiritual collaborator. Their mutual passion for music and human rights led Cohen and the Jane’s Addiction front man to help Bono and Bob Geldof deliver, in 1999, the 17 million signatures that persuaded G8 bankers to drop the debt of developing countries. But since embarking on his unorthodox new career, Cohen has gone places your typical e-mail petitioner and Sunday-afternoon activist have never even heard of. He has survived a shooting in Haiti and an alleged poisoning in a Westminster restaurant, along with a string of other near-death experiences, most recently in the backwaters of Myanmar, where he believes he saw evidence of a far more dangerous trade — the production and selling of enriched uranium.

So last night when he offered to let me sleep in one of his four empty bedrooms, I thought better of it. As I pulled away, Cohen pointed to a beige Mercedes parked out front. I couldn’t see a driver. “They’ll probably follow you,” he said, and walked inside before I had a chance to ask who “they” might be. Nevertheless, I found myself checking my rearview all the way to the Little Saigon Inn, where dreams of its advertised Wi-Fi and heated pool promised to dull the images of the enslaved preteens Cohen had been conjuring up for me all day. Both enticements were, in the words of motel management, “broken.”

I went to bed trying to grasp how Cohen went from talking mysticism and Lollapalooza with Perry Farrell to assessing global human-trafficking trends, breaking Vietnamese girls out of Cambodian brothels and being hunted down by the Burmese army. And now, this morning, another text message about the Mercedes:

“He’s the night guy they have on me. I’m sure you’ll have Feds flagging you today. Watch your 6. I’m starting to be concerned about all this and feel uneasy.”

I’m feeling a little edgy too, but maybe it’s only the lack of sleep and a slight caffeine addiction. I splash water on my face and drive to a nearby strip mall anchored by a Taco Bell, which nearly obscures a lively Vietnamese café. The patio is packed with graying, well-dressed Vietnamese men in small groups — the old guard, I think, ex-military who shipped out before the Communist takeover, 32 years ago. Professorial in tweedy pants, turtlenecks and neat sweaters, they smile and nod as I pass — not unnoticed. Few non-natives venture in here, it seems, and the only women are the ones behind the counter — just like in Vietnam.

After ordering a bowl of pho and iced coffee with sweetened condensed milk, I finish reading Cohen’s journal entries. His uneasiness seems justified in the context of his most recent mission to Myanmar (formerly and, to the U.S., still Burma), which has been run by a series of repressive military juntas since 1962.

In March, the Royal Thai Police and Council for National Security (the military government that overthrew Prime Minister Thaksin in September 2006) sent Cohen there to investigate the Burmese government’s alleged use of slave labor to build infrastructure in Naypyidaw, the country’s sprawling new jungle capital. (In 2005, the ruling generals relocated the capital overnight from Yangon — formerly Rangoon — a move Al Jazeera said had been motivated by “superstition, megalomania and paranoia.”)

Despite more than a decade of Western sanctions against the Burmese government — the so-called “State Peace and Development Council,” which changed its name in 1997 after consulting a Washington, D.C., public-relations firm — the pariah nation stays afloat with funds primarily from India, Russia and China, countries that trade arms and cash for Myanmar’s rich supply of oil and other natural resources. The latter two vetoed the U.N. Security Council’s January resolution urging Myanmar to stop the persecution of political prisoners and brutal military tactics many have called “genocide.” Largely thanks to China, the SPDC’s army is, after Vietnam’s, the second largest in Southeast Asia — and notorious for conscription of child soldiers and using rape as a weapon against civilians.

In the few weeks since Cohen returned from Myanmar, the country has restored ties with North Korea, signed a cash deal for a Russian nuclear reactor and vowed to “crush” state opponents. One of those is Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, the pro-democracy leader whose party overwhelmingly won a general election in 1990 but has since been terrorized and rendered largely impotent by the state. Suu Kyi has spent more than 11 of the last 17 years under various forms of detention, and on May 29, the government extended her house arrest once again — so much for its self-styled “road map to democracy.” Cohen had no trouble finding slaves in Myanmar and neighboring Laos, where he says kidnapped Vietnamese, Laotian and ethnic-minority boys with guns guard heroin and methamphetamine labs for the mafias that control trafficking routes.

But he started hearing far more sinister rumors, as noted in his journal:  I am advised that Burmese tradition holds an ancient legend still believed to be practiced even today in the art of human sacrifice — that every time the ruler moves the capital, four people are to be sacrificed at each of the four corners of the foundation to the facility. Human sacrifice is also carried out under, above and on each side of each bridge crossing the moats corresponding to the 12 astrological signs, and the seven passages leading into the capital.

“There are 72 human sacrifices in all, preferably all foreign agents,” the vice minister says with a twinkle in his eye. “Yes, preferably foreign agents trying to infiltrate national security or threaten the business of the ruling party.” But this ruling party is using slave labor to build elaborate pagodas for the Buddhist cultural centers and people are dying.

Why is the vice minister telling me this? I am not sure if he’s a double because he seems to be threatening me about my mission to free the pagoda slave labor crew. I say no to the pork and am careful not to drink or eat anything offered to me by my perceived allies. We finish the meeting and I go to eat some bok choy and eggs from a vendor down the road. 

By the late 1990s, Cohen started making volunteer trips to Sudan, where he was
among the first Westerners to document slavery and genocide by Muslim militias.
(Photos courtesy Aaron Cohen)
I’m brought out of this surreal picture by the young waiter bemusedly watching me eat my noodle soup. “You use chopsticks very well, older sister,” he notes in Vietnamese, at the speed usually reserved for white people who inexplicably speak this tonal language. I’m about to tell him I’ve used them since I was a child, but hold back when I realize the men at the surrounding tables are hanging on our words. I wonder if any of these kindly uncles are the Vietnamese government spies I’ve been told mix into the crowd at these cafés, scribbling down tidbits they overhear while hiding behind their copies of Nguoi Viet, the exiles’ daily of choice.

But the grizzled folk next to me are talking about their teenage children’s cell-phone bills, which are astronomical because of this thing they call “Nhan tin.” “Texting!” one of them repeats in English, before switching back to Southern-inflected Vietnamese. “It’s out of hand. Five thousand text messages a month!” The others nod, sip their coffee through straws and turn their gaze to the large-screen TV blasting CNN. The couple behind me are talking too softly for me to make out much, but I distinctly hear “ma-fia” a couple of times. I turn back to Cohen’s diary:

“The beautiful French agent I meet at the casino tables downstairs loses to me in blackjack and walks away when I decline another round or a drink with her upstairs in the champagne room. I can see her coming a mile away. She is so tall and thin I know to stay away, though she does radiate something mysterious I am desirous of, but never mind that.”

“Never mind that” is what saves Cohen from descending into 007 territory. In the next scene, Ian Fleming would have had Bond in the hot tub with that beautiful French agent, just before she attempted to drown him. But Cohen is no Bond and his mission is not the stuff of Fleming — although it does sometimes sound like it:

“I labeled the blank tapes Myanmar 1, 2, 3, and 4. The real deal look like unshot virgin tapes and she steals the beautifully labeled blanks.”

Sure, it’s got all the elements of an overblown spy novel. That’s why Cohen has a book proposal about to make the rounds with top agent David Kuhn, and why he’s had dinner with Oliver Stone, and met with Band of Brothers writer Bruce C. McKenna. But the publishing, film and TV people haven’t heard Cohen’s best story yet.

I pay my bill, nodding to the Vietnamese men with the newspapers, and drive a few miles to an unremarkable ranch-style house on a quiet suburban street where Cohen grew up in the 1970s. His parents are dead, and the house has been home base since Cohen, 42, left Venice to care for his ailing father in 2001. Although we’ve met several times, I’m still surprised by the height (6 feet 5 inches) of the figure who opens the door and leans down for a hug. Dressed in jeans and an old French army shirt, dark wavy hair flowing to his shoulders, he resembles a rumpled Oscar Wilde. The rest of his clothes are strewn across an open suitcase on the floor of an otherwise empty room. Cohen’s been back from Asia less than 48 hours, and still looks jet-lagged. “I’m broken,” he says apologetically, giving me an ad hoc, distracted tour.

He is visibly distressed about two men who were lost on the mission. “Good men,” he says, “with families and their whole lives ahead of them.” He shows me a picture of a young Shan soldier with wild eyes sitting on a bed. “He just got his leg blown off by a land mine. Kao was assigned to protect me.” The Shan are the largest ethnic-minority group in Myanmar, and are essentially at war with the SPDC. Kao was part of a Shan Army unit clearing a path for Cohen’s motorcycle caravan when he stepped on the mine. In the photo, Kao’s eyes are, impossibly, looking in different directions. “He’s going crazy from despair and the drugs,” Cohen says soberly. “I could smell the gangrene.”

Continued from page 2

There are more images, of flourishing poppy fields in Shan State, a part of northeast Myanmar where the SPDC claims to be eradicating opium poppy as part of its “war on drugs.”

Although the poppy fields have historically been tended by Shans, Cohen says the SPDC controls the drug trade there from start to finish —

providing the seeds, collecting the harvest, and overseeing drug production and distribution.

Civilians are allowed to earn just enough to survive, as long as they keep producing opium, which is synthesized (along with methamphetamine) in nearby labs also run by the Burmese army.

In the days he spent there, Cohen says, he saw virtually no people, besides soldiers. “All the fields are land-mined, to instill the people with fear and keep them in their homes when they’re not working.”

According to a Human Rights Watch report, in 2006 the SPDC was the only government in the world to use antipersonnel mines on a regular basis:

“In order to separate ethnic armed groups from their civilian population, the Burmese army lays land mines and other explosive devices in order to maim and kill civilians.” The army’s other objective is to prevent ethnic-minority people from harvesting their crops — effectively starving them.

Except for one bed, a table and two guitars, Cohen’s house has no furniture. Bob Marley is playing on a box radio in the steamy bathroom. And the back garden, although neglected, is in bloom. I spot a few familiar varieties of bamboo, a banana tree and other tropical plants. “This,” he says, smiling to reveal a silver tooth, “is where I spend most of my time — when I’m here.” Last year, that was a sum total of about 10 weeks.

Cohen strokes the side of his stubbly face, which is red with what I first take to be a rash. “Sulfur burns,” he says, showing me a swollen thumb and raised marks on the back of his hand. “That’s from holding a gun while being caught in the crossfire of the Burmese and Shan State armies,” he says, still offering no further explanation.

We wander through to the front of the house and stand in the driveway. I contemplate the contrast between this tranquil suburban scene and the places Cohen has just been. His neighbors are rinsing down their RVs, watering lawns, maybe gossiping. Kids are kicking a rubber ball back and forth in the street. An older guy waves and comes over to chat with Cohen, and from their conversation, I realize he’s known the man for years. Does he have any idea what Cohen does for a living?

Yeah, Cohen says once we’ve gone back inside, to some degree. But he doesn’t usually bother his neighbors with the messy details. They also call him by a different name, one he’d prefer you didn’t know. Though the family name was once a Spanish derivative of Cohen, his father — a former WWII fighter pilot — Anglicized it before flying missions from North Africa to Europe (where a Jewish surname on a list could cause problems).

Shortly before giving birth, his mother dreamed the boy should be called “Aaron Cohen,” after the first high priest of Israel, Moses’ older brother, the consummate peacemaker. “With Moses, he retrieved an entire nation of people — the Israelites — from slavery in Egypt,” this Cohen explains.

Which is why he believes his antislavery activism was predestined. “From the very beginning of my life, my mother was trying to impose the identity of my ancestor upon me… I was Aaron Cohen. I had to act accordingly.” Because of his severe asthma, he was virtually homeschooled by his mother, who credited an evangelical faith healer with restoring her will to live after losing both breasts to cancer. So while other kids his age were playing outside, Cohen was “unlocking the secrets of the Book of Revelation” with his mom.

He grew up torn between her religious expectations and his father’s military ones. At the U.S. Air Force Academy, Cohen excelled in water polo and got ready to follow in his father’s footsteps. But when he grew to 6 feet 4 inches by age 20, he was advised to switch to military intelligence — no fighter pilot that tall could eject from a plane. Cohen took the news as a sign his military career was over. Despite his father’s vow to disown him, he says, he transferred to Pepperdine to play water polo. It was 1985. On the weekends, he’d drive downtown to an underground club called Scream, where bands like Cathouse and the Cult played.Kindred souls: Farrell and Cohen circa 2000

“People were out of their minds on drugs, eating mushrooms and shooting heroin right in front of me,” Cohen says. “I’d never seen anything like that before. One night, this band called Jane’s Addiction came onstage. That’s when I first saw Perry Farrell sing. He walked onstage wearing a corset and pantyhose and hypnotized the audience with his dancing. Then he stripped out of his costume, and at the break in the song, he emerged naked, with his arms outstretched like Jesus on the cross. All the girls began to go crazy. Perry began to sing. He took a few steps and he walked right off the stage and onto the crowd like he was walking on the water… People were screaming and crying as if they were witnessing something forbidden. It was straight out of Sodom and Gomorrah, and I had the sense that burning sulfur would rain down and destroy us all.”

Continued from page 3

Two years later, Cohen was playing professional water polo in Argentina, surrounded by drugs and stunning women. “Temptation was everywhere,” but Cohen says he chose the “straight and narrow,” working out and remaining faithful to his college girlfriend — whom he planned to marry. Whenever he was home, Cohen would check out the scene at Scream, where he was on a nodding basis with Perry Farrell and his entourage.

One night, he got a call from Farrell’s manager, Ted Gardner, who had seen a story in the Pepperdine student paper about a fiction award Cohen had won. Gardner introduced Cohen to Farrell, who was looking for a writer for an upcoming film project, and the two hit it off — seeing in each other, says Cohen, a kindred soul. At that point, Jane’s Addiction’s first album, Nothing’s Shocking, had already brought the band international fame, and all of a sudden, Cohen found himself hired to brainstorm and contribute to the film, which would eventually become Gift, Farrell’s semiautobiographical love-and-drug story.

Cohen spent half his time in Latin America, playing water polo, and the other months in L.A., working for Farrell. For the band’s second album, Ritual de lo Habitual, Cohen traveled to the Amazon to learn about Santería and Candomblé magical rituals: “I’d go into villages and document what I saw. Sometimes animals were sacrificed. I saw people drink blood. There was a lure to the dark side — it unsettled me. I would hear the voice of my mother: ‘You are Aaron Cohen, you don’t belong here.’ ”

But after his girlfriend left him for another man, Cohen decided that Farrell’s tribe was the only place he did belong. He moved into an apartment down the block from the Jane’s Addiction compound in Venice and was promoted to executive director of an enterprise that already included Lollapalooza, Porno for Pyros and the ENIT Festival. Cohen’s job involved everything from answering phones to dreaming up lyrics. “Some mornings, Perry and I would swim and surf and talk about mysticism and magic,” he says. “At night, we’d get high and work on ideas, music and art.”

Soon Farrell was introducing Cohen as his best friend. “There I was,” Cohen says, “this tall, lanky kid from Orange County living the rock-star life.” He was partying with Kurt Cobain, Slash, Flea, Thom Yorke, Jello Biafra — but the drugs quickly started to take their toll. Farrell was strung out too, and dreamed up Lollapalooza as a farewell tour for his band.

Around that time, Cohen got a call from his estranged father, asking him to put their differences aside and come home. His mother’s cancer had come back, and she was dying. Aaron returned to her side, enrolled in a master’s program at nearby Vanguard University, a Christian-based school, and began studying Hebrew and the Bible — again. Trying to go “from a rock-star life to a monastic one” was not easy, particularly because he was by that time addicted to heroin.

Nonetheless, that year he managed to finish a thesis on the Jubilee, what he now calls the “life raft” that offered a larger purpose for his life. Jubilee was a biblical festival during which the wealthy freed their slaves and forgave debt, and it gave Cohen the idea that he might be able to launch a contemporary musical version. While reading the Torah, he also stumbled upon the story of Aaron and the golden calf, which he had read before without catching what he now saw as a personal allegory: “By running away with the Jane’s Addiction circus, I’d gone away to worship the golden calf. Now, it was time to find my way back.”

Cohen stops suddenly. “Are you hungry?” he asks.

There I was, Cohen says, this tall, lanky kid from Orange County living the rock star life. American school kids are taught that slavery was wiped out with the Confederacy in 1865.

But today it is a mounting international menace — the dark side, many believe, of globalization and the Internet explosion. Not to be confused with smuggling (which is always transnational and includes those who consent to the process), human trafficking implies the use of force, fraud or coercion and often involves ongoing exploitation. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, it is tied with the illegal-arms industry as the second largest illegal business in the world, after drug dealing.

It’s also the fastest-growing. Recent estimates put the number of slaves at 30 million worldwide. There may be as many as 800,000 new victims trafficked across international borders each year, though no one really knows how many there are, since so many of them are unseen. The State Department figures at least 16,000 people a year are brought into the U.S. for forced labor or commercial sex. Human commerce can boast as much as an 800 percent profit margin. Unlike drugs or arms, human beings can be sold or swapped innumerable times — and easily hidden.

One of the most prominent local instances of that unfortunate fact came to light last summer in Irvine, after an anonymous tip led authorities to a young Egyptian girl who was occasionally seen taking out the garbage but who never rode the school bus. It was later revealed that the girl’s upper-middle-class captors had been “renting” the 11-year-old from her indigent parents in Egypt for $30 a month. For almost two years, the child lived in the garage on a urine-stained mattress — cooking, cleaning, and taking abuse from the couple and their five children — before she was rescued from what was to be a 10-year term. The case became Orange County’s first federal prosecution of a human-trafficking case, but wouldn’t be its last.

At a vegetarian place near his house, over a salad with veggie bacon, Cohen picks up his second iced latte and resumes his narrative. After his mother died, he got off drugs and reconnected with Farrell, presenting the Jubilee to him as a sort of Lollapalooza of the ancient world. Farrell was receptive, and the two began once more to collaborate, this time on the idea of using music to save the planet.Continued from page 4 “To get the campaign rolling, Perry opened his Rolodex and called his musician friends — David Bowie, Bob Geldof and Bono among them,” he says. Cohen moved back to Venice, this time next door to Farrell. They surfed, read Jubilee passages from the Bible and deciphered their meaning in the Zohar (part of the Kabbalah).

In his new role at Farrell’s Jubilee Foundation, Cohen developed a network of musicians and fans dedicated to humanitarianism. He ran strategy for several charity campaigns before working on Bono’s Drop the Debt, which led to hundreds of billions in relinquished debt for developing countries. “Perry and Bob Geldof were the unsung heroes of that campaign,” says Cohen.

At the same time, the civil war in Sudan had turned uglier. Cohen saw a PBS program documenting the slavery there and knew his access to rock stars put him in a unique position to do something. He contacted human-rights activist John Eibner, who, under the auspices of Christian Solidarity International, had already bought the freedom of thousands of slaves. Cohen told Eibner that if he could come along on a retrieval, he would form a Jubilee-inspired music festival to raise money for slave liberations.

“Then it dawned on me that I had to have the money to pay for a mission in the middle of a civil war,” he says before explaining how he and his father repaired their relationship as his mother was dying. On her deathbed, she made her husband vow to help Aaron pursue his Jubilee dream. Cohen Sr. became his first patron, handing his son a ticket and money to buy human freedom.

And so, in the late 1990s, Cohen started making volunteer trips to Sudan, where he was among the first Westerners to document slavery and genocide by Muslim militias in the North against Southern animists and Christians. The video evidence he turned over to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee through Senators Paul Wellstone and Sam Brownback in 1999 exposed the financial connections between the Sudanese slave trade and what was then a fledgling organization led by an obscure Saudi named Osama bin Laden.

From then on, Cohen has been on al Qaeda’s radar. After he first criticized Sudan’s Islamic regime, he got hundreds of eerie death threats — phoned in to his private numbers and sent to a personal e-mail address. One e-mail highlighted his name on a death list put out by an extremist publication linked to al Qaeda.

In October 2001, an inflammatory story on theNew York Post’s Page Six labeling Cohen “Perry Farrell’s spiritual guru marked for death” led to the abrupt end of his 12-year career as a music-industry insider.

When the article appeared, Cohen had just helped to launch the Jubilee Music Festival, headlined by a reunited Hole, Foo Fighters and Jane’s Addiction. He flew to New York to attend an opening-night benefit with Bono, Paul McCartney, Eric Clapton and David Bowie. But post-9/11 New York couldn’t handle a story like Cohen’s. When he showed up backstage, he was suddenly informed he was out of a job.

“Everyone looked at me like I was a ghost,” he says. “The road manager pulled me aside and said, ‘Look, you can’t be here. Everybody’s afraid that if you’re here, a bomb’s gonna go off.’ ”

Cohen is sanguine about the chaotic effect the piece had on his life at the time. He now views it as the catalyst that turned him into a full-blown human-rights activist. It’s taken behind-the-scenes players like him and emerging evidence of slave trading inside our own borders to snap politicians into action. In 2000, Congress unanimously passed the Trafficking Victims Protection Act — the most comprehensive antislavery legislation since the Emancipation Proclamation — which makes human trafficking a federal crime. Since then, 150 other countries have followed suit with their own laws. And American lawmakers and enforcers have gone on the offensive, forming multidisciplinary task forces in 42 U.S. cities. They allocated $28.5 million for domestic anti-trafficking programs in 2006.

The word got out about Cohen’s efforts in Sudan, and in 2003 he was subcontracted by the State Department on his first official assignment, training Nicaraguan police and helping them develop trafficking-prevention programs for schools. That was his day job. The evenings were devoted to fieldwork — assessing the way sex trafficking worked in Managua.

Cohen watched clean-cut government vice agents try to infiltrate brothels with mixed results. Recognizing that his American party-boy image could give them unique access, the Nicaraguan agents asked Cohen to take part in a retrieval — and found that his approach helped recover more than the usual number of underage victims. That success led to subsequent assessments for the U.S. government’s annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report, which documents efforts by foreign governments to combat human trafficking and, via a tiered rating system, calls to task countries not doing enough. In the last four years, the TIP assignment has taken Cohen to five continents.

When Cohen first started raiding brothels, or “night-frighting,” in Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic, there was no protocol. “Since we had essentially just determined that this thing [human trafficking] existed,” he says, “…I had no mentors.” So he developed his own system:

He would go into a brothel and find a girl with whom he shared a genuine connection — someone he liked and who liked him back. “Then I’d play it like the lonely guy,” he continues. “I would say, ‘I don’t want to have sex, I just want someone to spend time with and talk to me and maybe we can go shopping tomorrow.’ ” Cohen would build the girl’s trust, tipping the mamasan, the bartender, the bodyguards — all night long. “I became their favorite party guy,” he says. “I’d continue building a relationship with the one girl I was closest to for a day or two…”

Continued from page 5

And then he’d confess how much her situation broke his heart. She’d begin to think this tall American was the one who might save her. And she would inevitably reveal the whereabouts of other prostitutes, often underage trafficking victims.

Cohen thinks one key to his success is his long hair and sometimes-scruffy beard — hardly the typical federal-agent look. “The State Department officials were so straight you could see them coming a mile away,” he says. “I look like somebody who could be a druggie or a rock-star kind of person… and from Dave Navarro and Perry Farrell I learned party skills that would translate into me finding more underage victims than the ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] agents, State Department and police combined.”

“Now,” says Cohen, “once I find out there are underage victims there, it’s a new game. Because in a friendly country, jurisdiction’s easy — you call the police, you say, ‘We know where the girls are,’ you show them… then we surround the building and bring everybody out…” But the countries with the worst human trafficking, he says, are those where he’s forced to operate without jurisdiction. “Like Vietnam, where low- and midlevel police corruption have resulted in systems of enslavement.”

Cohen says he is no longer welcome in Vietnam, which has been coming down hard on dissidents ever since it earned a long-coveted WTO membership in January. Last week, Vietnam President Nguyen Minh Triet arrived in America — the first visit to the U.S. by a Vietnamese president since the end of the Vietnam War — to wide protests by Vietnamese-Americans and a welcome at the White House, where President Bush pressed Triet to improve human rights. The Vietnamese leader, whose visit also included Orange County, said he and Bush “agreed to disagree.” That’s not good news for those trying to stop human trafficking in Vietnam, where, says Cohen, “if you retrieve a girl, you risk her life and yours.”

Things did not go exactly as planned in Myanmar.

“Here is where the world’s best poppy is grown,” says Cohen, unfolding a map and touching northeastern Myanmar’s Shan State. Roughly the size of Cambodia, it borders Thailand and China and, like the territories that are home to other ethnic minorities in Myanmar, such as Karen, Chin and Kachin, has been under the rigid thumb of the ruling SPDC for decades.

During 120 years of British colonialism, hill-state people (who had been ruled separately by their own kings for centuries) were allowed to remain largely autonomous, a freedom they enjoyed even after Burmese independence came in 1947. But since 1962, they have been given the option to assimilate — under arbitrary, often bloody military rule — or fight. The Shans and other groups that have refused to sign cease-fire agreements with the SPDC maintain their own armies and are considered rebels, and are therefore subjected to a sort of scorched-earth policy.

Lush, mountainous Shan State also happens to contain the bulk of the country’s best natural resources — gold, silver, copper, rubies, lead and uranium. Its fertile soil also makes it ideal for growing poppy, as well as rice and tea. Cohen says that since the war in Afghanistan shifted much of the world’s heroin production back to the Golden Triangle, as much as one-third of the global supply is coming from Shan State. More and more regional mafias have been taking advantage of that.

“Drugs are harvested in Shan State, produced in mobile labs [along with meth], and brought down either by sea or along the eastern side of the Salween Delta to Pattani, Thailand — where terrorism is beginning to threaten the tourism industry,” Cohen says. “These triangles you see on the map are the places where Thai police have been cracking down on traffickers.”

He describes the historic path of poppy seeds and traders along the silk route — from Afghanistan across the Himalayas to Myanmar. As in Afghanistan, the drug behemoth fuels a not-so-hidden trade in arms and humans, all of which Cohen says are exploited by mafias with links to terrorist groups like Jemaah Islamiyah and Abu Sayyaf.

“The Thai interrogation of Hambali [the ‘Osama bin Laden of Southeast Asia’] proved that there is a clear link between Afghan freedom fighters and Southeast Asian terror groups via the heroin trade out of Myanmar,” Cohen continues excitedly.

So that’s how I ended up in the Golden Triangle. General Pichai Chinasotti [consulting general to the ruling Thai government] asked if I’d be interested in checking out some rumors they’d heard.” He was.

Donning black military fatigues and helmet, Cohen went on “the wildest ride of my life” — a winding, midnight motorcycle trek across a porous section of the 1,500-mile mountainous border Thailand shares with Myanmar. Traveling with military escorts, the Shan intelligence minister and two other men — a two-star Thai police general and a special-ops commando known as “The Scorpion” — Cohen felt “there were literally eyes everywhere.” Somewhere along the way, his Shan driver became separated from the Thais. Three hours later, he says, they found themselves in a war zone.

“On one side of the ridge the Burmese army was firing, and on the other the Shan State army was firing back,” he says. Cohen rapidly understood that he had been brought in to document something more complicated than slave labor. He was being used, in fact, but there was little he could do about it.

“That is something I had not considered,” reads his journal. “ ‘I never signed up for this,’ I tell the overweight intelligence minister when we arrive at base camp… but since I am in their hands anyhow, I don’t see what choice I have.”

Continued from page 6

Later that day, Cohen was taken to see the area’s uranium mines — where the Shans told him soil samples had been extracted by the Russians as well as A.Q. Khan, the well-known Pakistani nuclear-weapons-scientist-turned-dealer: “These mounds are everywhere, where samples were being unearthed by other partners as well, including the Iranians and the North Koreans… I am the only Westerner [to see this],” Cohen wrote.

The intelligence minister then handed Cohen documentation of Khan’s entries into Myanmar and told him that the SPDC was selling Shan uranium to the Iranians, who were processing it into material for nuclear weapons. The route from Myanmar, the minister showed him, led straight through China to Natanz, Iran. “I’m no expert on weapons-grade uranium,” Cohen admits. “But they wanted me to leave with samples of what I saw.” Restating his human-rights mission, Cohen refused to discuss transport of the nuclear material. (“It’s a death wish to have that kind of stuff on you,” he says.) But he agreed to put a stack of evidence, including photographs of the Burmese and Iranian facilities, in the right hands when he returned to Thailand and the U.S.

A.Q. Khan, the founder of Pakistan’s nuclear-weapons program, confessed in 2004 to having been the mastermind behind a clandestine network of nuclear-arms proliferation that stretched from Pakistan through Europe, the Middle East and Asia. His network sold blueprints for centrifuges to enrich uranium as well as illicit uranium centrifuges and uranium hexafluoride — the gas that can be transformed into enriched uranium for nuclear bombs.

Khan is already known to have provided complete centrifuge systems to Libya, Iran and North Korea. He was pardoned by Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf and sentenced to house arrest after declaring on television that Musharraf’s government had not played a role in his schemes. Western governments have been denied access to Khan, but the British think tank International Institute for Strategic Studies recently published a report indicating that Khan’s network is very much alive, even without its decapitated head.

Eerily, the Pakistan-Myanmar link is backed up by a 2002 Wall Street Journal article detailing Myanmar’s nuclear ambitions:

“The program drew scrutiny recently after two Pakistani nuclear scientists, with long experience at two of their country’s most secret nuclear installations, showed up in Myanmar after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the U.S. Asian and European intelligence officials say Suleiman Asad and Muhammed Ali Mukhtar left Pakistan for Myanmar when the U.S grew interested in interrogating them about their alleged links to suspected terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden, who Washington believes wants to develop a nuclear weapon.”

Burmese exile magazines, blogs and Web sites are rife with alleged wicked SPDC plots. But one question pops up over and over: Is there a link between Myanmar, which mines and refines uranium ore, and Iran, which requires uranium for its own nuclear projects? And, specifically, is Burmese yellowcake finding its way to uranium centrifuges in Natanz, Iran?

Cohen’s testimony suggests that the answer may be yes. From the mining sites, he was taken to meet several Shan men who said they worked as drivers for the SPDC at clandestine nuclear processing facilities near Taungdwingyi, Chauk and Lanwya. These men swore to Cohen that the SPDC was overseeing the production of yellowcake there and in several other locations, then transporting it on North Korean and Iranian ships as well as over land through China and Afghanistan, via a courier network, to the (then secret) underground Iranian plant in Natanz. They handed Cohen the coordinates for the facilities, saying that as ethnic Shans they could no longer do this work for a regime that was systematically attempting to wipe out their people. They had thrown their support behind the Shan State Army, they said, and wished him luck.

A few weeks later, Cohen hand-delivered that information to a source at the Pentagon. The following day (April 19), the International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed that Iran was running more than 1,300 centrifuges at its underground plant in Natanz (latest estimates put it closer to 3,000). Iran’s plan to install 50,000 centrifuges there to enrich uranium made headlines, with the BBC running satellite photographs of the facility. But no major media outlet noted the Myanmar connection, and the story was soon buried in the subsequent frenzy over the Virginia Tech massacre.

The U.N.’s nuclear watchdog has recently expressed concern over its own “deteriorating” understanding of Iran’s supposedly peaceful nuclear enrichment activities.

Add to that last month’s (May 15) news that Russia, which has given technical nuclear training to hundreds of Myanmar nationals since at least 2001, is setting up a nuclear research reactor in Myanmar. With Russo-American relations at a virtual freezing point, a State Department official could only say he had “no idea” why Russia would make such a move.

A passage from George Tenet’s new autobiography mentions a pattern the CIA has been tracking that may apply:

“In the new world of proliferation, nation states have been replaced by shadowy networks like Khan’s, capable of selling turnkey nuclear weapons programs to the highest bidders… with Khan’s assistance, small, backward countries could shave years off the time it takes to make nuclear weapons.”

Which could mean that secretive, backward Myanmar is closer than we think to developing one. Junta watchers know better than to trust the claims of the oxymoronically named State Peace and Development Council, particularly when it comes to the “peaceful” nuclear weapons it seeks.

“After the drama of visiting the uranium mines, the poppy fields and slavery evidence seem rather ordinary,” reads Cohen’s journal.

“But I’ve traveled perilously close to the edge of the Burmese army. I can see the Special Forces just on the other ridge looking at me through the binoculars on the thermo viewer and know my time has come. The shots are ringing out. I’m leaving on the dirt bike traveling up and down the jungle passes again for a few hours of holding onto the back handles for dear life…”

Continued from page 7

Cohen’s entourage finally came upon a clearing and a large cave opening, which they descended before crawling into a system of Shan army tunnels, where Cohen began to realize “[the fact] that the Burmese were mining the uranium had terrible confirmation. There are those who will come shooting or seducing now that I have seen for myself and uploaded the evidence.”

As they entered the tunnels, he watched the Shan intelligence minister bow to the presiding cave monk, who immediately asked Cohen if he could bring them arms. Still thinking he was there to document slave labor and possibly offer aid in the form of food and medicine, according to his diary, Cohen responded:

“ ‘No! Your eminence, I am looking to fund human rights only. Umm, excuse me… I have come all this way to receive the evidence about human rights abuses, sir, and now you are asking me again for arms I will not deliver. May I remind you that you are a Buddhist monk, your eminence…

“ ‘It’s a simple twist of fate,’ [the monk] says to me. ‘The best way to help the people is to protect them from those human rights abuses with guns, my friend.’ ”

After 36 hours in the tunnel, Cohen’s handlers took him back out to the surface, where they continued to bombard him with evidence against the SPDC, filling his pack with maps, photographs, tapes and stories confirming for Cohen that “anything I could do would never be good enough to help them.”

Cohen’s mental burden had become too much to bear, as described in this last passage from his journal:

“After another morning of interviewing soldiers, officials, and former slaves, I realized that I must tell their story to someone or break down completely. I had been invited into this to bring the truth forward, but I felt like burning all these bridges I crossed. I had already decided that I did not know where to go now. For in my rash ignorance it seemed that uncertainty now about the fate of the likes of Kao was worse than the optimistic and enlightening promises that I could actually do something to be useful, to feel up to knowing what to do.”

A Shan woman feeding her baby while working in the poppy fields of Myanmar “I don’t want to get all conspiracy theory on you,” says Tommy Calvert Jr., “but the Department of Defense came out years ago saying that Osama bin Laden was moving weapons and people around. I had buddies in the Navy SEALs who were stopping ships in the Persian Gulf, and they’ve seen it,” he says. “Slavery provides the fastest revenue for organized crime. And when the rumors and facts start to jibe, someone has to tell the truth and start making progress in global security.”

Calvert is a 26-year-old wunderkind who first went to Sudan in 2002 with the American Anti-Slavery Group. But his involvement there, like Cohen’s, began in the late ’90s — “long before George Clooney and other folks were out there.” After an unsuccessful run for Congress in his native Texas, Calvert became an outreach specialist for Orange County’s Human Trafficking Task Force in January. For a while, he says, he was the “highest-ranking black person” on this issue.

In the thousands of nail salons, acupuncture offices and massage parlors that clog the commercial strips of Southern California, Calvert sees the faces of both forced labor and sexual slavery on a daily basis. “I feel the presence of the traffickers and their evil,” he says. At first, “It surprised the hell out of me that we were fighting that battle here.”

Calvert’s colleague, task-force law-enforcement liaison Dottie Laster, is grateful that the Trafficking Victims Protection Act has finally given police the tools they need to start going after the perpetrators. But her unit received federal funding only last year. It partners with a nonprofit called Community Service Programs to assist victims and run interference between the law and social-service agencies.

Even with a grant and the TVPA on their side, getting a human-trafficking conviction isn’t simple. That’s why Laster calls Cohen’s international perspective on the issue “invaluable” to her office. “He’s dealing with the source [of trafficking], and here I am at the destination,” she says by phone from her Santa Ana office. “We make a good team.”

“Human trafficking” has been on the lips of politicians as well as celebrities for the last couple of years, but none of them can agree on what to call the thing. In late-March testimony before the U.S. Senate’s Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law, Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Grace Chung Becker outlined “legal options to stop human trafficking,” which she defined as “a form of modern-day slavery that touches virtually every community in America.”The New York Times’ Nicholas Kristof, who has long detailed its horrors from Cambodia to India, recently scolded world leaders for doing little to prevent what he calls the “big emerging human-rights issue for the 21st century.”

No matter what we choose to name it, Michele Clark thinks we ought to spend more time thinking of creative ways to deal with what she sees as “human trade.” Clark comes at the issue from the policy side, as the second-in-command of the human-trafficking office at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE, the world’s largest regional security organization). She first met Cohen on the 2003 training mission to Managua, and grew to admire him during subsequent trips they made together, like the one to Ecuador, which needed to address its sex-trafficking problem in order to avoid U.S. sanctions. While Clark and other diplomats were asleep in the hotel, Cohen would be out night-frighting — collecting evidence he’d return with at dawn and pass on over morning coffee. If his methods freaked her out at first, Cohen’s results were effective. “He’s unique,” says Clark by phone from Vienna. “His [field] work greatly contributed to the strength of the report we wrote because it was able to show situations from the victim’s point of view. He sees the big picture.”Continued from page 8 Clark, who currently advises the OSCE’s 56 member states — such as the former Soviet Republic of Georgia — on implementing actions to prevent slavery, plans to return to advocacy work in the U.S. “Much of the focus [in terms of this issue] is on prevention, protection, assistance and prosecution,” she says. Which sounds fine unless you consider what it leaves out: where the demand is coming from. “Most resources are spent combating trafficking in source countries,” she says. “But what about the countries that drive the business? The West is where you find those rich enough to pay for those kinds of services.”

Orange County is one of those places. On May 16, Cohen rode along with the Westminster Police Department and the O.C. Human Trafficking Task Force on a successful raid of two acupuncture/chiropractic clinics the cops suspected were brothels. “After a month of surveillance,” says Cohen, “Westminster P.D. could tell these women were not just prostitutes doing their jobs. They were never left alone. Every morning, an SUV transported them from the home where they were being held to one of the other locations, where they were forced to have sex with customers.” At the end of the day, the nine Asian women were picked up and ushered into the SUV with that day’s laundry — sheets and towels they were expected to wash in time for work the following morning.

While assessing the larger human-trafficking situation in O.C. for a Garden Grove–based NGO called U.S. International Mission, Cohen made undercover visits to both locations for a shoulder massage in the weeks leading up to the raid. He noted the telltale signs of a sex room — lube, baby oil and lots of Kleenex — “not something you usually find in a medical office,” says Dottie Laster. After an undercover officer received a sexual solicitation, police were able to obtain a search warrant. Believing they were observing something bigger than a straightforward pimping-and-pandering case, Westminster P.D. notified ICE, the largest investigative branch of the Department of Homeland Security, which sent its agents out to gather evidence.

The raid began with teams of seven staking out all three locations in a residential neighborhood. As soon as the ICE agents came in with the warrant, the boss sneaked out and fled in his white Nissan. The cops were ready, and Cohen rode along in a classic chase scene he calls “right out of a movie.” They managed to force the Vietnamese suspect into a dead-end street, where he tried to pass himself off as a customer before being arrested.

Cohen says the police confiscated Singaporean passports, Ecstasy pills and guns, including a stolen Glock 9. All but one of the women, who speaks Chinese, are Vietnamese — and most appear to be licensed acupuncturists and massage therapists who were recruited in Singapore and brought to the U.S. under the pretense they would be given legitimate work. Although to the casual observer it might appear to be just typical cop-show fodder, for Cohen the foreign passports, involvement of federal ICE agents, and presence of drugs and guns point to something much darker than a run-of-the-mill prostitution ring.

“With 10 beautiful girls, you can make a million dollars cash in a year,” he says. “And guess what? You can intimidate their families enough so that they will never testify.” Cohen also points to the fact that the women seemed to have been denied contact with the outside world as an indicator of their helplessness. “They were not allowed to leave the house, even for shampoo.”

In a discussion I had with him a few weeks before the raid, Westminster P.D. Lieutenant Derek Marsh said that although he and his colleagues have long suspected that Orange County is a point of destination for international traffickers with connections to criminal networks, “We don’t have the resources at the local level to pursue them.” Marsh was not authorized to comment on the latest case, which he said would be prosecuted under the “more robust” federal trafficking law.

Cohen suggests that intelligence agencies are “failing to acknowledge the centuries-old link” between gangs, arms, drugs and human trafficking. For him, the presence of all four of those at the Westminster bust “means that mafias with access to weapons of mass destruction have access to L.A.”

He believes, in other words, that the same Vietnamese, Chinese and Thai triads who enslave women work with the thugs moving heroin from its source in Myanmar’s Golden Triangle down the Salween and Mekong rivers to southern Thailand and eventually Los Angeles. That scenario has been floated in intelligence circles before. (Note I edited out here some of the biased, pure anti Islam propaganda) “The terror machine is on,” Cohen says gloomily. “When you look at the expansion of terrorist operations in Southeast Asia, it’s really easy to see that the connection is heroin.”

Firsthand experience notwithstanding, Cohen says he owes the mafia-branding theory partly to the work of Steven Emerson (who directs the think tank Investigative Project on Terrorism and has been criticized by some for his “anti-Muslim stance” Note: I agree he has this obvious weakness. See Pakistan Khan/ Iran comments that I left intact). Emerson has sounded more than one false alarm, but he can take credit for telling the Senate Judiciary Committee back in 1998 that the “followers of Osama bin Laden” posed a significant threat to U.S. security.Continued from page 9 In his latest book, Jihad Incorporated, Emerson argues that despite the warning of 9/11, “The American public and the West at large seem to have settled into a dangerous complacency, still unaware of the nature of the diffuse threat that faces our society and our way of life.” He goes on to demonstrate the extent to which he believes Islamic radicalism has pervaded our cities, charities and governments.

So even though Vietnamese gangsters bringing girls, guns and drugs into Little Saigon may not overtly share the jihadist ideology of terrorist militias, Cohen thinks they are all too willing to do their benefactors’ bidding, for the right price. That worries him. It should also, he says, scare the hell out of the rest of us.

A few days after our meeting in Orange County, I’m expecting Cohen for lunch on the Hollywood hilltop I’ve been calling home for a couple of weeks, but as the appointed hour approaches, he calls, sounding agitated. “There’s a lot of pressure on me today,” he says cryptically, and then, almost as an afterthought, adds,

“I have Prince Surkhanpha here with me, and he’s willing to give you a phone interview. This is your five-minute warning.” Then Cohen hangs up.

Sao Surkhanpha is the son of Myanmar’s first president, whose family was exiled in the early ’60s after the violent military coup. He’s also the royal heir to the throne of Shan State. After being sheltered by the Thai royal family, to whom the Shans are ethnically and linguistically related, Surkhanpha graduated from a U.K. university and has since made his living in Alberta, Canada, as a geological consultant for oil companies.

Frustrated by the international community’s failure to act against the SPDC and motivated by what he calls the desire to rescue Shan State’s 8 million people from “death and destruction” at the hands of the Burmese army, the prince and other exiled Shans formed an interim government just over two years ago. In declaring Shan State’s independence, they cited the 1947 Constitution of Burma, which granted the ethnic-minority states the right to secede.

The politics at work here are more worthy of a book than a paragraph. But Surkhanpha claims to have a mandate, a war cabinet and an army of 20,000 to 30,000 men loyal to him.

Just before he is scheduled to call, I reach for the Shan State Gazette, the interim government’s official publication (funded by George Soros’ Open Society Institute), which informs me that the prince “enjoys the outdoors, painting, photography, classical music and the occasional game of chess.” I know all this about the elder statesman. What I don’t understand is what he is suddenly doing in Los Angeles with Aaron Cohen.

When the phone rings, the wind is blowing so hard it’s actually shaking the windows, and I struggle to hear His 69-year-old Royal Highness. Three decades in Canada haven’t rounded the vowels of his flawless Queen’s English.

Cohen tells me the prince is touring Commonwealth countries to drum up support for the interim Shan government. Royals stick together, I think, and Cohen says that Surkhanpha will soon hold a private audience with Prince Charles. I ask the Shan prince why he’s come here.

“Well, you know about the opium that flourishes in the Shan State to the benefit and patronage of the Burmese generals,” he says eloquently.

I can almost hear his handlers breathing down his neck. “And we are pledged to eradicate it, not only for our own benefit, but for the benefit of people here in Los Angeles, people in New York, London, Paris and wherever these drugs go. And so, yes, we are looking for help from the outside world, but we are not only asking for help. We are also giving something which is very much worthwhile.”

I ask if he is seeking international assistance in stopping the drug flow from the Golden Triangle. “More than that,” he responds, “we don’t like our Shan uranium being used for purposes of war.”

The prince goes on to back up what Cohen has seen: “Yes, it’s being done by the Burmese regime to curry favor with the Iranians and the Pakistanis and the North Koreans,” he says. “Of course, unfortunately these powers are also being egged on, dare I say, by the People’s Republic of China.”

He’s not the first to accuse China of power politics, but now there’s a commotion on the other end. The prince is getting advice from his consultant, an ex-military man from the West who asks to remain anonymous. Surkhanpha changes the subject, to human-rights violations, indisputable territory when it comes to the SPDC.

“We have evidence of mass graves,” he says sadly. “We have had farmers whose bodies were floating down the Salween with their hands tied behind their back, shot in the back of the head. And then there’s the link between the opium trade, international terrorism and the slave trade.”

If and when Shan State achieves independence from Myanmar, the prince tells me before hanging up, he doesn’t intend to retain the title “His Royal Highness” or reclaim any throne. Regardless, he and his followers appear to have a long slog ahead.

Other Shan political parties, such as the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy — which won the most Shan seats in the country’s most recent elections (1990) and whose leaders are now in jail — have yet to grant Surkhanpha their support.

But under the SPDC’s atmosphere of fear and repression, this could be just their way of staying alive. What the prince seems to have recognized is that human-rights abuses alone are not enough to nail the SPDC in the eyes of the international community. But cry “terror,” and you may have an audience.

Continued from page 10

Tommy Calvert, who helped write Congress’ Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act, which further sanctioned the SPDC for human-rights and other abuses over four years ago, sees the logic in cash-poor

Burmese dictators befriending cash-rich terror networks: “They have a mutual enemy in the U.S.,” he says. And after witnessing the SPDC’s atrocities firsthand, he has no doubt they are capable of more far-reaching violence. “The [Burmese] military would go into villages and raid for what I termed at the time ‘human minesweeper slaves’ to lead them through the minefields.

These slaves would be mounted with equipment so heavy that they could hardly stand — many were beaten and told to continue moving.

If they were maimed and could not continue, the military would leave them to die. I don’t know how to remind people of how dangerous it is to leave people like that in power other than to remind them of history. We used to not think Hitler or the Taliban would become anything powerful or dangerous. But when the alliances of those who seek to oppress and suppress freedom are made against those who seek to preserve and promote it, we often find a problem that seemed harmless erupting into a global war.”

Strange bedfellows: Cohen with exiled Shan State Prince Sao Surkhanpha, who says, We don’t like our Shan uranium being used for purposes of war. After a month in Aaron Cohen’s mind-boggling world, I’m relieved to be leaving it, even if it means returning to Florida, where my father is dying. My plane is boarding just as the phone rings, so I’m only half-listening as the familiar placid voice comes on the line. “So last night I met with Laura Bickford…” The name means nothing to me. “Yeah?” I say, waiting for more names to drop. “She’s the producer making the film about Che Guevara, and so Benicio del Toro, who’s gonna play Che, and Pablo Guevara, Che’s nephew, were there.” He wants me to congratulate him, I guess, but somehow I don’t feel up to it. What, I ask, is his connection to Guevara?

He tells me the producers want firsthand advice on the life of jungle revolutionaries. Cohen has met more than a few of those on his travels. And I try to indulge him in this conversation for a moment, but my thoughts are elsewhere. I have to hang up, I say. My plane is going back to the real world.

Aaron Cohen, peacemaker and would-be high priest, has surfed with Perry Farrell, had lunch with the Dalai Lama, and probably helped save thousands of lives between his night-frighting and testimony on behalf of enslaved people everywhere. Does he really need Hollywood’s approval? Then I remember something the O.C. Task Force’s Dottie Laster said that puts things in perspective: “There’s a certain shock value to this issue. Some people want to be there for the fun part — the celebrity events or whatever. And don’t get me wrong, those are important. But Aaron does this out of genuine concern for the victims. He grieves for the ones left behind… Here’s someone who could be leading a much more profitable existence, but he’s there 24/7.”

True, Cohen’s altruism radiates from every pore. But as L.A. disappears from view, I begin thinking that none of our motivations are untainted by self-interest. There’s something about slavery — its sheer awfulness and our desire to eradicate it, single-handedly even — that gives anyone who comes close to it some delusion of grandeur.

I think back to a conversation I had on that Hollywood hilltop with Lisa Miller, who made a documentary on the subject for a Cambodian audience and is working on another. “Trying to understand human trafficking is like being sucked into a black hole,” she told me. During her six years in Phnom Penh, Miller got close to all kinds of people involved in sex trafficking — from “nice girls” sold into slavery by their parents right up to the corrupt government officials and well-meaning NGO officers trying to “do something” about it in the face of competing political agendas. All of them, she says, were paralyzed by the issue’s complexities, but “Aaron understands the problem, so he’s not freaked out by it.” Miller is still processing the issues her film project has brought up for her. “There’s something so powerful about trying to bring light into the dark places,” she said. “But we’re all trying to heal ourselves at the same time. So when you take it on, it can take you down.”

Settling into my grimy airplane seat, I flip once more to Cohen’s diary and reread a passage he wrote just before the Myanmar mission. It makes more sense now:

Searchers after horror like myself try to be in prayer on Channel 1. Channel 2 is stay alive. Three is filled with the beauty seducing me off path, or untying me from scruples… to take them away as a “pretty woman” from all of this, and payloads of grief, living out their short lives as sex slaves, but I am no Hollywood actor. The haunted go-go bars, massage parlors, and red light nightmares are where I am on Channel 4. But the true epicenter in the terrible reality of my own self-realization is my own loss of feelings. There is no Channel 5; I go numb… I don’t wait in vain for some fantasy idea that sees me receiving the simple and beautiful blessings of life and family. Expect nothing, after all — how can I have a family? … This is my job; I am a slave hunter. In many ways now, I too am enslaved to the poor. I get a lot of hero this and hero that talk, but more and more I am drifting away somewhere else…

After a few days, I call Cohen. I’m hoping to hear him say he’s been sleeping in or going to the beach, but he starts talking about an international academy to school police and special operatives in human trafficking networks — a longtime dream he’s hoping to set up in Bangkok. Then there’s the “Pandora’s box” he may have opened by taking part in the Westminster raid. His normal schedule involves traveling on the missions, then coming home for a few days to recuperate before the next one. Now, he’s involved on a local level. “If I continue on this path,” he says, “I will not be able to base myself here anymore.”Continued from page 11 The women rescued from the Westminster brothel are in a safe house while federal agents conduct follow-up interviews, he tells me. So far the suspect has been charged only with harboring an illegal alien, but the shell-shocked women are likely candidates for T-visas, which grant human-trafficking victims who assist in investigations the right to stay here for three years before applying for a green card.

In the meantime, Cohen has arranged manicures and massages for the women. “I told them I’d take them to the beach today, but they wanted to go to a swimming pool instead,” he laughs, sounding genuinely happy. But when I ask how he’s doing, he stops, as though he hadn’t considered that. “I carry a load of grief in my heart,” he starts. “There are so many faces in my mind…”

One of those faces belongs to Kao, the Shan soldier who lost his leg. “Ah, yeah, we’re trying to get him a prosthetic limb from the Global Angels charity through Paul McCartney,” he says. “I haven’t stopped thinking about him.”

I tell Cohen that maybe he should take a break, get away somewhere low-key, like Thailand, or, okay, not Thailand, how about Canada? There aren’t that many people enslaved in Canada, are there? He laughs. I’m sure he’s probably fun to hang out with once you get off this topic. If you can get off this topic.

He tells me that he’s just a suitcase-packing away from being ready to leave. But he’s not likely to go to a beach somewhere and just lie there, oblivious. Those faces, those voices of Aaron Cohen’s — you don’t just switch them off.

“I’ll be on the move again soon,” he promises.

Toll-free number to report human trafficking: 1-888-373-7888.

Also, read Breaking into Brothels: Michele Clark on Aaron Cohen and his“night-frighting” techniques.

This is the first in a occasional series of articles on human trafficking.           

Open letter to H.E. Professor Sergio Pinheiro

Open letter to H.E. Professor Sergio Pinheiro

To

Professor Sergio Pinheiro
(Brazilian law professor and
human rights investigator)
Special rapporteur of the
U.N. Secretary General on
human rights in Myanmar

 

Dear Mr Sergio Pinheiro,                                       

                                          Thank you for the great job you are going to do for the Burmese people. Instead of pressing SPDC generals to investigate the fatal crackdown on protesters in September, please may you kindly start an investigation yourself as the Myanmar SPDC top generals had all the knowledge of those and they had ordered the killing. 

We all Burmese people and some of the world observers already know that allowing you, Sergio Pinheiro, Special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar of the U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon and Mr Ibrahim Gambari are just the stage-shows to deflect the public and international outrage after SPDC Military had brutally suppressed, assaulted, arrested, tortured about six thousand and murdered few hundred of peaceful demonstrators and revered monks.  

SPDC and Than Shwe could be able to defuse the anger of the world and save the faces of their friends; China, Russia, India and ASEAN esp. Singapore and Malaysia, who would applause and go on supporting and exploiting Myanmar for another few decades. Procrastination and buying time is the ultimate goal of the SPDC Junta. At the same time, the SPDC media is repeatedly declaring that Myanmar Military Government   is steadfastly going to continue the cracking down on democratic forces until the opposition is totally eliminated or annihilated or totally uprooted. 

When Mr Ibrahim Gambari was asked by the reporters, why instead of looking around the killing field in Yangon, why did he went to Shan State and other irrelevant places, he replied that he had no  power nor mandate to go anywhere he like to investigate but just a guest of the SPDC and had to follow their arrangement.  

According to the unconfirmed reports, up to 8,000 people may have been rounded up around Yangon. This could not be independently confirmed but dissident groups have said that up to 6,000 people have been arrested since troops put down the uprising on Sept. 26 and 27 when they opened fire on crowds. The government says 10 people were killed but others say up to 200 people died in the crackdown on demonstrators who were largely led by Buddhist monks. Part of the proof is already in the photographs and videos came out from Burma and splashed in all the media worldwide.

But the SPDC Myanmar Military Junta had tried to destroy the evidences, repaired the monasteries, arrested, intimidated or killed the witnesses, confisticated all the films, audio and video evidences. So, to safe time and to make your job easy, instead of investigating all the cases of assaults, brutality and killings, please may you kindly just investigate one case which could represent all the atrocities of the SPDC on the unarmed peaceful civilians without provocation or threat of violence. 

Just investigate the murder of Japanese reporter for Tokyo-based APF News, Kenji Nagai’s case thoroughly from all the angles as if you are the investigation officer for a serious crime. If you could have the help of CIA, FBI or CSI team (Crime Scene Investigators) you could easily bring those Criminal SPDC Junta to the International Criminal Court for cold blooded killing of this Japanese photo-video Journalist.  

Footage capturing the last, terrible seconds of Kenji Nagai’s life has been aired on Japanese television and you could easily get to the root of the truth behind the 50-year old photo-journalist’s murder by Burmese troops.  

You should ask the detailed analysis of that video-clip and photos from the Japanese authorities. You could get the confirmation that the person in the pictures and video was the authentic pictures of Mr. Kenji Nagai.  

You should record the Japanese experts who had examined the footage and contradicted the official Burmese explanation of Nagai’s death – that he was killed by a “stray bullet”. 

You should record the Japanese investigators, who were seen in the news photographs at the crime scene. 

You should investigate how they get those pictures and video. And the person who shoot them. (You should plan and give the complete witness protection to the whole family of the Burmese photographer by taking the whole family back to USA immediately.) 

You must record the doctor at the Japanese embassy in Burma who confirmed that a bullet entered Nagai’s body from the lower right side of his chest, pierced his heart and exited from his back.  

You should insist to give a chance to record the interview with the “soldier” who shot Mr Nagai and if possible the squad or platoon involved.  

If you were not allowed to see the killer soldier and his troop, please kindly made sure, you get the black and white reply on paper. Who refused your request? 

You should try your best to get the most important fact, who had given the shoot to kill order? 

You need to make sure whether it is true that that even five generals including Yangon Division General were sacked because they refused to shoot the unarmed civilians and monks. If that was true, it is clear that the person who had given the order was higher than generals and Yangon Division Commander General and the five generals.

Only after the incriminating video-proof surfaced, the SPDC is trying to give excuses like a common criminal, they officially change the shooting to an accident.

What did SPDC mean by saying it was an accident? The SPDC soldiers were trigger happy and were ordered to freely shoot Myanmar citizens but they thought that the Japanese photo-journalist was a local Burmese Chinese and accidently or wrongly shoot and killed? Even if the victim in the shooting video was not a foreigner but local Myanmar citizen, it is still a crime to kill an unarmed civilian without provocation. SPDC Generals and especially Senior General Than Shwe is responsible to answer and clarify at the ICC. You should try to prove that there is Criminal Intent by SPDC.

The doctrine of transferred intent is another nuance of criminal intent. Transferred intent occurs where one intends the harm that is actually caused, but the injury occurs to a different victim or object. For example, SPDC soldier shoot the Japanese Photo-journalist “accidentally” because he thought that it was a local Burmese-Chinese.  The concept of transferred intent applies to homicide, battery, and arson. Felony murder statutes evince a special brand of transferred intent. Under a felony murder statute, any death caused in the commission of, or in an attempt to commit, a felony is murder. It is not necessary to prove that the defendant intended to kill the victim.

And the _

  1. arresting of the local journalists,

  2. cutting off the phone lines,

  3. vcutting off the internet internet

  4. Searching and

  5. confiscation of the cameras and hand phones capable of taking pictures

  6. are also clear case of trying to cover-up their crimes.

Above acts should be considered as the part of the cover-up scheme. This is the typical scenario of committing the Eighth Stage of Genocide, cover-up and denial.The whole SPDC from the Senior General Than Shwe to the soldiers who had done the shootings are all equally guilty of this killing

The “soldier” who shot Kenji Nagai was curiously wearing the slippers. I think this is the first time our world had witness a regular government soldier without boots. (Even there were reports that SPDC soldiers entered the monastries and pagodas without taking off their shoes.) May be there is some truth in the repeated rumors that SPDC officers trained the convicted criminals to shoot the rifles (or semi-automatic machine guns) and given the stimulants like Amphetamines or Ecstasy pills to commit the atrocities like killing the monks and civilians. There are also repetitive reports that the SPDC soldiers are given the same stimulants like Amphetamines or Ecstasy pills to commit raping of ethnic minorities.

If that is true, the one who ordered or give the command to shoot and kill would be more guilty then the actual perpetrators. This is a very important point for you as a prosecutor at ICC.  

Command responsibility, sometimes referred to as the Yamashita standard or the Medina standard, is the doctrine of hierarchical accountability in cases of war and serious crimes. The doctrine of “command responsibility” was established by the Hague Conventions IV (1907) and X (1907).  This The Hague Conventions IV (1907) was the first attempt at codifying the principle of command responsibility on a multinational level.

The “Yamashita standard” is based upon the precedent set by the United States Supreme Court in the case of Japanese General Tomoyuki Yamashita. He was prosecuted, in a still controversial trial, for atrocities committed by troops under his command in the Philippines. Yamashita was charged with “unlawfully disregarding and failing to discharge his duty as a commander to control the acts of members of his command by permitting them to commit war crimes.”

It was not until after WWI that the Allied Powers’ Commission on the Responsibility of the Authors of the War and on the Enforcement of Penalties recommended the establishment of an international tribunal, which would try individuals for_

  1. “order[ing], or,

  2. with knowledge thereof and

  3. with power to intervene,

  4. abstain[ing] from preventing or

  5. taking measures to prevent,

  6. putting an end to or repressing,

  7. violations of the laws or customs of war.”

Introducing responsibility for an omission; Command responsibility is an omission mode of individual criminal liability:

The superior is responsible for_

  1. crimes committed by his subordinates and

  2. for failing to prevent or

  3. punish (as opposed to crimes he ordered).

The Yamashita courts clearly accepted that a commander’s actual knowledge of unlawful actions is sufficient to impose individual criminal responsibility.

Additional Protocol I

The first international treaty to comprehensively codify the doctrine of command responsibility was the Additional Protocol I (“AP I”) of 1977 to the Geneva Conventions of 1949.

Article 86(2) states that:

The fact that a breach of the Conventions or of this Protocol was committed by a subordinate does not absolve his superiors from …responsibility …

  1. if they knew, or

  2. had information which should have enabled them to conclude in the circumstances at the time,

  3. that he was committing or

  4. about to commit such a breach and

  5. if they did not take all feasible measures within their power to prevent or repress the breach.

Article 87 obliges a commander to

“prevent and, where necessary, to suppress and report to competent authorities” any violation of the Conventions and of AP I.

In Article 86(2) for the first time a provision would “explicitly address the knowledge factor of command responsibility.”

The term “command” can be defined as_

A.  De jure (legal) command, which can be both military and civilian. The determining factor here is not rank but subordination.

Four structures are identified:

  1. Policy command: heads of state, high-ranking government officials, monarchs

  2. Strategic command: War Cabinet, Joint Chiefs of Staff

  3. Operational command: military leadership; in Yamashita it was established that operational command responsibility cannot be ceded for the purpose of the doctrine of command responsibility – operational commanders must exercise the full potential of their authority to prevent war crimes, failure to supervise subordinates or non-assertive orders don’t exonerate the commander.

  4. Tactical command: direct command over troops on the ground

B. De facto (factual) command, which specifies effective control, as opposed to formal rank.

This needs a superior-subordinate relationship. They are:

  1. Capacity to issue orders

  2. Power of influence: influence is recognized as a source of authority in the Ministries case before the
    US military Tribunal after World War II.

  3. Evidence stemming from distribution of tasks: the ICTY has established the Nikolic test – superior status is deduced from analysis of distribution of tasks within the unit, it applies both to operational and POW camp commanders.

Additional Protocol I and the Statutes of the ICTY, the ICTR, and the ICC makes prevention or prosecution of crimes mandatoryThe Nuremberg Charter determined the basis to prosecute people for:

  1. Crimes against humanity: murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation, and other inhuman acts committed against any civilian population, before or during the war, or persecutions on political, racial or religious grounds in execution of or in connection with any crime within the jurisdiction of the Tribunal, whether or not in violation of the domestic law of the country where perpetrated.

The jurisdiction ratione personae is considered to apply to “leaders, organisers, instigators and accomplices” involved in planning and committing those crimes.

You should also try to prove the Malice of the SPDC. It is a state of mind that compels a person to deliberately cause unjustifiable injury to another person. At common law, murder was the unlawful killing of one human being by another with malice aforethought, or a predetermination to kill without legal justification or excuse.

The whole world knows that you would be able to show the proof of the Motive of SPDC.  As Motive is the cause or reason that induces a person to form the intent to commit a crime. It is not the same as intent. Rather, it explains why the person acted to violate the law. The knowledge that SPDC will receive the permanent dominance of Myanmar Military upon the death of the demonstrators is clearly the motive for those murders or massacres. But anyway the proof of motive is not required for the conviction of a crime. The existence of motive is immaterial to the matter of guilt when that guilt is clearly established. However, when guilt is not clearly established, the presence of motive might help to establish it. If a prosecution is based entirely on circumstantial evidence, the presence of motive may be persuasive in establishing guilt; likewise, the absence of motive might support a finding of innocence.

Instead of proper apology, or an acknowledgment expressing regret or asking pardon for a fault or offense from the SPDC Generals we are getting the excuses, to explain (a fault or an offense) in the hope of being forgiven or understood. SPDC falsely hope to be freed from the crimes, as from an obligation or duty. But sadly those were even not the explanations offered to justify or obtain forgiveness, nor reason or grounds for excusing: Senior General Than Shwe and other top generals must know that Ignorance is no excuse for breaking any law, local or ICC.

An excuse is essentially a defense for an individual’s conduct that is intended to mitigate the individual’s blameworthiness for a particular act or to explain why the individual acted in a specific manner.

To be excused from liability means that although the defendant may have been a participant in the sequence of events leading to the prohibited outcome, no liability will attach to the particular defendant because he or she belongs to a class of person exempted from liability. In normal circumstances, this will be a policy of expediency. Hence, members of the armed forces, the police or other civil organizations may be granted a degree of immunity for causing prohibited outcomes while acting in the course of their official duties, e.g. for an assault or trespass to the person caused during a lawful arrest. But in the Cases of the Crimes against Humanity, Genocide and Ethnic Cleansing or the Massacre of peaceful demonstrators and the point-blank shoot to killing of the Japanese Photojournalist cases at the ICC the above excuses are not valid at all. 

As a Law Professor, I hope you should told SPDC on their face to understand that they could not claim for the Diplomatic Immunity as they are not diplomats. It is for the exemption from taxation and ordinary processes of law afforded to diplomatic personnel in a foreign country only.

You should warn SPDC Generals that they should also understand that they could not claim for the executive privilege, exemption of the executive branch of government, or its officers, from having to give evidence, specifically, the exemption of the head of the government from disclosing information to inquiries or the judiciary. Claims of executive privilege are usually invoked to protect confidential military or diplomatic operations or to protect the private discussions and debates of the president with close aides. Efforts by various the head of the governments to gain absolute and unqualified privilege have been rejected by the International Criminal Courts.

So, Mr Sergio Pinheiro, as you had made the remark while delivering his annual report on the human rights situation in the country, adding events that occurred since issuing your last written report in August. From Sept. 26-28 when authorities used what you, Pinheiro called “excessive force,” including firing on and beating protesters, to rein in the large crowds. But your good self, Mr Pinheiro, could not present exact figures for how many had been killed and arrested, you cited other reports that between 30-40 monks and 50-70 civilians had allegedly been killed and 200 beaten. “It is difficult at this stage to provide you with accurate numbers of persons killed and arrested as well as those who are still detained,” you had said, adding that you hope to travel to the country to make a more accurate assessment based on witness testimonies and meetings with authorities.In accordance with a resolution passed by the Human Rights Council earlier in the month, you will urge authorities to carry out a set of actions, including conducting “independent and thorough investigations into the killings and enforced disappearances” as well as taking “action against those responsible.”

You said you will also press officials

  1. to reveal the whereabouts of missing persons,

  2. take steps to unconditionally release all detainees,

  3. grant amnesty to those who have been sentenced,

  4. allow them access to humanitarian personnel, and ensure for their physical and psychological safety. 

You and others in the international community have repeatedly expressed concerns about the fate of thousands of protesters who have reportedly been detained.

Thank you for calling on officials to “immediately and unconditionally release the detainees and political prisoners” including General Secretary of the National League of Democracy Aung Sang Suu Kyi, who you had noted had been held for exactly 12 years under house arrest.

“The stability of Myanmar is not well served by the arrest and detention of political leaders or by the severe and sustained restriction of fundamental freedoms,” you had further stated. “There will be no progress in Myanmar’s political transition unless ordinary people have space to express their views and discontent peacefully and in public.”

“My task is to offer an honest, complex, objective picture of the crisis … the excessive use of force, what’s happening in terms of detainees, the number of deaths,”you had said.

You  said that you would then present a report with your recommendations to the Geneva-based Human Rights Council on December 11.

According to you, ”I have reports that the chase of bystanders or people involved in the manifestations continues. I think that the situation of fear prevails. I don’t think that the repression has finished,” you said.

You said that reports of deaths, torture and disappearances of those taken into custody continue to come in. “What annoys me is that the repression has not stopped a single moment — this is what annoys me — despite all the universal appeals,” you rightly  told reporters at the United Nations, during a press conference at UN Headquarters, you said: “I don’t think that the repression… has finished,” adding that a “situation of fear prevails” in the country.

“I will ask free access, the secretary general will ask free access,” Pinheiro said, adding that visiting prison cells to speak to detainees was “a requirement.”

We hope you would not forget the above noble quotes and remarks you had given infront of the international media.

We hope and pray that you would not be constrained by the military junta,by hook or by  crook, but be able to go where you want in Myanmar as you had vowed.

 

Thanking You

Yours Humbly

 

Dr San Oo Aung 

UN, US, EU and ASEAN must consider for the Restitution to Myanmar/Burmese Citizens

UN, US, EU and ASEAN

must consider

for the Restitution 

to Myanmar/Burmese Citizens

Dr San Oo Aung

During the dialogue for the democratization of our country, before forming a transitional interim government and drawing the new constitution, we definitely need a reconciliatory talks.

Now, if the SPDC Junta refuses the demands of UN, US, EU and Burmese opposition, they should be threatened with the ICC. But if they give in and start a reconciliatory process and allow Daw Aung San Suu Kyi led NLD and opposition, UN, US, EU and all the opposition should guarantee the safety of Myanmar Tatmadaw and SPDC Generals. Facts to offer as carrots to the military during reconciliatory talks_Burmese opposition esp. NLD must promise and guarantee the safety of all the SPDC Generals, soldiers, USDA, Swan Arrshin and their families.

1.      U Kyi Maung’s speech of sending Military Generals esp. General Khin Nyunt to Nuremberg had made the Generals scared to death and refused any negotiation.

2.      Daw Aung San Suu Kyi also failed to convinced the Generals. She said that she could forgive and forget but whether to take action on the perpetrators of atrocities, it is up to the victims and Burmese people. In stead of those words, she should give very strong guarantee by saying that if anyone wants to revenge the Myanmar Tatmadaw Generals and personals, she would personally defend. Even should use the words, over her dead body.

When I mentioned about the granting carpet amnesty and formation of Interim government together, some of my shortsighted comrades are angry and even accused me as SPDC admirer. They pointed about the sufferings of activists who sacrificed their lives, jailed, tortured, wounded, crippled, lost jobs etc. Instead of punishing the alleged criminals or alleged offenders we should look at the Restitution process.

1.      I just pointed out to them that if they are powerful enough and could overthrow SPDC by force, go ahead. Now we are powerless, weak and we are not in any position to impose our will on SPDC by force. If we want them to transfer the power peacefully, we must negotiate and guarantee their safety.

2.      And what is the use of hanging or punishing the dethroned dictators if we ignored the sacrificed activists. Just see Iraq. We must try to forget the incidence and give up the attempt to punish them even if we could not forgive the perpetrators.

3.      Like the no fault compensation in some insurance schemes, the State of Burma/Myanmar should compensate all the sufferers, with lump some rewards, monthly pensions, giving employment, projects, land, shop-lots, interest free loans etc.

4.      Then only it will be a win-win situation for all of us, including SPDC and Tatmadaw. After all we could not disband the 400,000 strong Myanmar Tatmadaw. Just look at what happens in Iraq. Not only the jobless ex-military could give trouble, our country’s security would be compromised. We need them to protect us from foreign aggressors and hard-line separatists to prevent the total disintegration of Burma/Myanmar.

Restitution process

In some of the developed countries’ criminal laws, there are new victim-oriented, or aims for the restitution of the victims. Its goal is to repair any hurt inflicted by the offender on the victim through state authority. It is commonly combined with other aims.

1.      Restitution process is the act of restoring to the rightful owner something that has been taken away, lost, or surrendered. You could call in any name: Reparation, compensation, damages, amends, reimbursement, recompense, indemnification, offset, quittance, redress, reparation, repayment, satisfaction, setoff, substitute, reward, repay, recompense, remunerate, repayment, refund or better call as rewards for the sacrifices for the country.

2.      The act of making good or compensating for loss, damage, or injury; indemnification.

3.      A return to or restoration of a previous state or position.

4.      Act of making good or of giving the equivalent for loss, damage, or injury.

We should avoid using any local or International (ICC) criminal law if SPDC agrees for a dialogue under auspices of UN combined with other countries, e.g. ASEAN, China and India etc. No need to formally abide by the body of law local and international, that defines criminal offenses, regulates the apprehension, charging, and trial of suspected offenders, and fixes punishment for convicted persons.

We all must be willing to waive the rights of indictment of any person in and affiliated to SPDC and Myanmar Military according to any Laws. (Indictment means, a written statement charging a party with the commission of a crime or other offense, drawn up by a prosecuting attorney and found and presented by a grand jury.)

But if SPDC refuses for a proper dialogue_We all have enough evidences to charge the accused, SPDC and affiliated parties and Myanmar Military. They all must be prepared to be the defendant or defendants in the criminal cases, Crimes against Humanity, Genocide and Ethnic Cleansing etc. at ICC.We could prove that there is Criminal Intent by SPDC.The doctrine of transferred intent is another nuance of criminal intent. Transferred intent occurs where one intends the harm that is actually caused, but the injury occurs to a different victim or object. For example, SPDC soldier shoot the Japanese Photojournalist “accidentally” because he thought that it was a local Burmese-Chinese.  The concept of transferred intent applies to homicide, battery, and arson. Felony murder statutes evince a special brand of transferred intent. Under a felony murder statute, any death caused in the commission of, or in an attempt to commit, a felony is murder. It is not necessary to prove that the defendant intended to kill the victim.

We all could prove the Malice of the SPDC. It is a state of mind that compels a person to deliberately cause unjustifiable injury to another person. At common law, murder was the unlawful killing of one human being by another with malice aforethought, or a predetermination to kill without legal justification or excuse.

The whole world knows and we all could show the proof of the Motive of SPDC.  As Motive is the cause or reason that induces a person to form the intent to commit a crime. It is not the same as intent. Rather, it explains why the person acted to violate the law. The knowledge that SPDC will receive the permanent dominance of Myanmar Military upon the death of the demonstrators is clearly the motive for those murders or massacres. But anyway the proof of motive is not required for the conviction of a crime. The existence of motive is immaterial to the matter of guilt when that guilt is clearly established. However, when guilt is not clearly established, the presence of motive might help to establish it. If a prosecution is based entirely on circumstantial evidence, the presence of motive may be persuasive in establishing guilt; likewise, the absence of motive might support a finding of innocence.Instead of proper apology, or an acknowledgment expressing regret or asking pardon for a fault or offense from the SPDC Generals we are getting the excuses, to explain (a fault or an offense) in the hope of being forgiven or understood. SPDC falsely hope to be freed from the crimes, as from an obligation or duty. But sadly those were even not the explanations offered to justify or obtain forgiveness, nor reason or grounds for excusing: Senior General Than Shwe and other top generals must know that Ignorance is no excuse for breaking any law, local or ICC.An excuse is essentially a defense for an individual’s conduct that is intended to mitigate the individual’s blameworthiness for a particular act or to explain why the individual acted in a specific manner.Don’t make excuses, make good.

Two wrongs don’t make a right, but they make a good excuse.” Thomas Szasz.

And oftentimes excusing of a fault doth make the fault the worse by the excuse.” William Shakespeare.  To be excused from liability means that although the defendant may have been a participant in the sequence of events leading to the prohibited outcome, no liability will attach to the particular defendant because he or she belongs to a class of person exempted from liability. In normal circumstances, this will be a policy of expediency. Hence, members of the armed forces, the police or other civil organizations may be granted a degree of immunity for causing prohibited outcomes while acting in the course of their official duties, e.g. for an assault or trespass to the person caused during a lawful arrest. But in the Cases of the Crimes against Humanity, Genocide and Ethnic Cleansing or the Massacre of peaceful demonstrators and the point-blank shoot to killing of the Japanese Photojournalist cases at the ICC the above excuses are not valid at all.But SPDC Generals are adamant, impervious to pleas, appeals, or reason; stubbornly unyielding. They stood firmly, often unreasonably immovable in purpose or will: They are inflexible, not easily bent; stiff or rigid. Incapable of being changed; unalterable nor unyielding in purpose, principle, or temper; immovable. They are not exorable or capable of being moved by entreaty; pitiful; tender. They are stubborn, unreasonably, often perversely unyielding; bullheaded. Or firmly resolved or determined; resolute, obstinate, characterized by unnecessary perseverance and persistent. They are difficult to treat or deal with; resistant to treatment or effort: stubborn soil; stubborn stains.

SPDC Generals should understand that they could not claim for the Diplomatic Immunity as they are not diplomats. It is for the exemption from taxation and ordinary processes of law afforded to diplomatic personnel in a foreign country only.

SPDC Generals should also understand that they could not claim for the executive privilege, exemption of the executive branch of government, or its officers, from having to give evidence, specifically, the exemption of the head of the government from disclosing information to inquiries or the judiciary. Claims of executive privilege are usually invoked to protect confidential military or diplomatic operations or to protect the private discussions and debates of the president with close aides. Efforts by various the head of the governments to gain absolute and unqualified privilege have been rejected by the International Criminal Courts, though the local remain inclined to support most claims of executive privilege. Where criminal charges are being brought against the head of the government, the claims of executive privilege are weakest.The International Court of Justice (ICJ) (also known as World Court) is the judiciary organ of the United Nations. It settles disputes submitted to it voluntarily by states (only), and gives advisory opinions on legal questions submitted to it by other organs of the UN, such as the General Assembly or Security Council. A recent development in international law is the International Criminal Court (ICC), the first ever permanent international criminal court, which was established to ensure that the gravest international crimes do not go unpunished. The ICC treaty was signed by 139 national governments, of which 100 ratified it into law by October 2005.Command responsibility, sometimes referred to as the Yamashita standard or the Medina standard, is the doctrine of hierarchical accountability in cases of war and serious crimes. The doctrine of “command responsibility” was established by the Hague Conventions IV (1907) and X (1907). The “Yamashita standard” is based upon the precedent set by the United States Supreme Court in the case of Japanese General Tomoyuki Yamashita. He was prosecuted, in a still controversial trial, for atrocities committed by troops under his command in the Philippines. Yamashita was charged with “unlawfully disregarding and failing to discharge his duty as a commander to control the acts of members of his command by permitting them to commit war crimes.” The “Medina standard” is based upon the prosecution of US Army Captain Ernest Medina in connection with the My Lai Massacre during the Vietnam War. It holds that a commanding officer, being aware of a human rights violation or a war crime, will be held criminally liable when he does not take action. In The Art of War, written during the 6th BC, Sun Tzu, argued that it was a commander’s duty to ensure that his subordinates conducted themselves in a civilized manner during an armed conflict.The Hague Conventions IV (1907) was the first attempt at codifying the principle of command responsibility on a multinational level. It was not until after WWI that the Allied Powers’ Commission on the Responsibility of the Authors of the War and on the Enforcement of Penalties recommended the establishment of an international tribunal, which would try individuals for “order[ing], or, with knowledge thereof and with power to intervene, abstain[ing] from preventing or taking measures to prevent, putting an end to or repressing, violations of the laws or customs of war.”Introducing responsibility for an omission(Tomoyuki Yamashita, 1945)Command responsibility is an omission mode of individual criminal liability: the superior is responsible for crimes committed by his subordinates and for failing to prevent or punish (as opposed to crimes he ordered). Following In re Yamashita courts clearly accepted that a commander’s actual knowledge of unlawful actions is sufficient to impose individual criminal responsibilityAdditional Protocol IThe first international treaty to comprehensively codify the doctrine of command responsibility was the Additional Protocol I (“AP I”) of 1977 to the Geneva Conventions of 1949. Article 86(2) states that:The fact that a breach of the Conventions or of this Protocol was committed by a subordinate does not absolve his superiors from …responsibility …

  1. if they knew, or

  2. had information which should have enabled them to conclude in the circumstances at the time,

  3. that he was committing or

  4. about to commit such a breach and

  5. if they did not take all feasible measures within their power to prevent or repress the breach.

Article 87 obliges a commander to “prevent and, where necessary, to suppress and report to competent authorities” any violation of the Conventions and of AP I.In Article 86(2) for the first time a provision would “explicitly address the knowledge factor of command responsibility.”The term “command” can be defined as_A.  De jure (legal) command, which can be both military and civilian. The determining factor here is not rank but subordination. Four structures are identified:1.      Policy command: heads of state, high-ranking government officials, monarchs

  1. Strategic command: War Cabinet, Joint Chiefs of Staff

  2. Operational command: military leadership; in Yamashita it was established that operational command responsibility cannot be ceded for the purpose of the doctrine of command responsibility – operational commanders must exercise the full potential of their authority to prevent war crimes, failure to supervise subordinates or non-assertive orders don’t exonerate the commander.

  3. Tactical command: direct command over troops on the ground

B. De facto (factual) command, which specifies effective control, as opposed to formal rank. This needs a superior-subordinate relationship. They are:

  1. Capacity to issue orders

  2. Power of influence: influence is recognized as a source of authority in the Ministries case before the US military Tribunal after World War II.

  3. Evidence stemming from distribution of tasks: the ICTY has established the Nikolic test – superior status is deduced from analysis of distribution of tasks within the unit, it applies both to operational and POW camp commanders.

Additional Protocol I and the Statutes of the ICTY, the ICTR, and the ICC makes prevention or prosecution of crimes mandatoryThe Nuremberg Charter determined the basis to prosecute people for:

  1. Crimes against humanity: murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation, and other inhuman acts committed against any civilian population, before or during the war, or persecutions on political, racial or religious grounds in execution of or in connection with any crime within the jurisdiction of the Tribunal, whether or not in violation of the domestic law of the country where perpetrated.

The jurisdiction ratione personae is considered to apply to “leaders, organisers, instigators and accomplices” involved in planning and committing those crimes.Restitution process to consider for all the Myanmar/Burmese citizens abroad.

Although there are some sympathetic considerations for the Burmese/Myanmar citizens by few countries, most of us unfairly discriminated even amongst foreigners in many countries.

Except for the US and EU countries, ASEAN, China and India etc. countries wish to continue their trade ties with the SPDC Junta. In their own local countries’ laws and international laws, those who try to cover up the crimes, protect the criminals or accepting the ill-gotten property or money is illegal criminal offence, many countries are willing to continue the relations with those SPDC Criminals. And they are the ones who are punishing the Burmese/Myanmar citizens because of the acts of the successive military leaders.

 

Because the military government refused to sign visa free status to their citizens, esp. ASEAN governments, they denied the ordinary Myanmar/ Burmese these rights of visa free status. But with the excuse of government to government dealing, they granted visa free for the military authorities of Myanmar.

Although they (esp. ASEAN governments) signed the double taxation agreement with the military government they refused (esp. ASEAN governments) denied the rights of the Burmese citizens after Myanmar Embassies illegally taxed their citizens abroad.

We are not asking for special favors or the facilities that are reserved for your citizens only. But please kindly treat all of us with the same privileges or chances or favors you all reserved to your most favored foreigners from your most favored countries.

Why US, EU, Australia, Canada, Singapore and other developed countries could give training jobs for the SPDC selected and sent specialists but not the individual, private Myanmar/Burmese doctors, engineers etc. Especially UK, US and Singapore not only refused to recognize the Myanmar Medical degrees but also refused the privately applied individuals for the training posts but always ready to grant to the SPDC doctors.

EU especially UK Medical Council, Immigration etc. are also giving special privileges to the fellow EU countries’ workers, professionals and doctors. EU and UK should give the same privileges to the Burmese/Myanmar citizens as a special arrangement as part of the restitution process.

UK professional governing bodies such as GMC stop Burmese Medical degree recognition because the military government ignored their supervision process. And the other professional bodies and other countries such as Singapore, Hong Kong, Brunei follow the UK trend and derecognize as. All the countries are punishing Burmese/Myanmar professionals because of Myanmar Military Juntas’ action. At least you all should allow all the Burmese professionals after supervision/temporary registrations as internships (House Surgeons, House Officers etc.) for few years. ASEAN scholarships and many other training and scholarships given out by e.g. other government, semi-government and private big companies’ (PETRONAS, IJN etc.) are usually given to SPDC selected candidates.

If ASEAN wish to keep Myanmar SPDC in ASEAN, do not wish to jeopardize their cozy relation relationships, they could continue given them as G to G arrangement but they all should offer the same amount of scholarships and training posts to the private individual Burmese/Myanmar citizens.

In some of the developed countries’ criminal laws, there are new victim-oriented, or aims for the restitution of the victims. Its goal is to repair any hurt inflicted by the offender on the victim through state authority.

Please kindly allow me to request world leaders, UN, US, EU, ASEAN, Japan, Korea etc to kindly consider to help made it easier for the various Myanmar/Burmese migrants to work, study, settle or take refuge in your countries.

Singapore should give Myanmar professionals and others as the same privileges for allowing to work and practice, as those from Hong Kong, Taiwan and other western countries.  Malaysia should accept the Myanmar professionals and citizens with the same fast tract that they had accorded to their brothers, Indonesians.

We could even see a lot of Indonesian sweepers, toilet cleaners holding the Malaysian Red and Blue ICs. Some of the MPs, Ministers, Chief Ministers are also Indonesian Malaysians. Some are just second generation migrants only, e.g. the present Selangore Chief Minister. His father was reported in the Malaysian English daily to be an Indonesian migrated into Malaysia as a lorry driver! But it is very difficult even for a Burmese professional to get a PR. It is almost impossible to get the citizenship because of red tapes and conditions and requirements imposed on all others except for Indonesians.  

We all know the very special status and support given by Malaysia on Bosnia and other refugees. Talking about refugees, the western democracies are also rumoured to have secretly instructed the UNHCR to accept ONE ETHNIC MINORITY professing ONE RELIGION only. It is difficult to prove but all of us could see very clearly.

If Singapore and Malaysia wish to continue to accept Myanmar SPDC, they should seriously consider compensating Myanmar/ Burmese citizens with the special privileges they used to extend other preferred foreigners. 

At first many leaders around the world could not believe or some of them closed their eyes or look away from our country and blatantly claimed that there is no war in Myanmar, no atrocities committed on various minority religious groups and ethnic minorities. Even those practising the same religion or descended from the same ethnic groups denied or brushed off that there was no ethnic cleansing, racial and religious in Myanmar, just to easily deny a helping hand to those who migrated and requested to easy resettlement or refuge in their countries.It is a blessing in disguised that the stupid or dumb SPDC military generals decided to use force on peacefully demonstrating revered monks and the Burmese civilians. Now the SPDC’s real natured is exposed and the whole world had witness with their eyes about the cruel Myanmar Military. And it is clear that they are defiant and never give a dam care to the UN, UNSC, world political and religious leaders’ appeals.

We, Burmese expartrites, wish to look forward and prepare for the future of our whole family and our relatives.  We don’t want to look back over our shoulders with fear nor maintain the umbilical cord with the Myanmar, we left. 

As it now stands, we cannot plan for our future because of the ASEAN governments’ very strict policy of citizenship rules.  Our wish to give undivided full loyalty to our adopted new home cannot be fulfilled.We could not sponsor even our closed relatives; parents, brothers, sisters etc.

ASEAN governments should kindly reconsider this present ruling. After all, if our parents and near relatives are here, out of Myanmar, no need to send our money back home to Myanmar but need to spend in your own country!

The Myanmar Embassies around the world are so happy to collect income taxes (obviously double taxation for all the Myanmar PP holders) and all the various exuberant fees to endorse, renew and for issuing of new Passports.           

When the Malaysian government announced that they are building 3000 (three thousand) schools for the INDONESIAN MIGRANTS’ children, they put out the order that other MIGRANTS’ are not allowed to attend the government schools. This includes the legal workers, professionals and doctors working even for the Malaysian government. Even the highest pay migrant professional doctors’ salary in Malaysia is less than the ambulance driver’s salary in the west, they could not afford to send to the very expensive private schools. I am worried about the emergence of illiterate Myanmar refugees in a dozen of year from now in Malaysia, giving social problems as they are denied schooling because their parents came from Myanmar but not from INDONESIA.

And UIA or IIU (International Islamic University) had accepted Burmese students in their Medical Faculty before. But now they totally refused to accept Burmese Students in Medical course.

 The funniest and shameful thing is that the Islamic College in Malaysia tried to refuse Myanmar students (even the Muslim students) because they don’t have the agreement with the SPDC atheist government. But they are willing to accept even the Hindu students from India because Indian government signed an agreement with them. They seems to be out of touch with foreign news, even failed to watch the Al Jazeera TV channel about SPDC atheist government soldiers beating and killing of monks. I hope that the college authorities are not glued to MTV and TVB all the time and are ignorant about the ethnic cleansing and Genocide of Muslims in Myanmar/Burma.

 

No wander all of their OIC leaders used to shamelessly ignore the plights of discriminated downtrodden minority Muslims from Myanmar/Burma, Kashmir, Chechnya, Xingan, Yunnan, and from all over the world but KEEP ON DENOUNCING ISRAEL and US. And KEEP ON SUPPORTING PALESTINES and IRAQ uselessly as parrots.