Friday, August 26, 2016

China’s Infrastructure Play Why Washington Should Accept the New Silk Road

By Gal Luft

FOREIGN POLICY - September/October 2016 Issue

Over the past three millennia, China has made three attempts to project its economic power westward. The first began in the second century BC, during the Han dynasty, when China’s imperial rulers developed the ancient Silk Road to trade with the far-off residents of Central Asia and the Mediterranean basin; the fall of the Mongol empire and the rise of European maritime trading eventually rendered that route obsolete. In the fifteenth century AD, the maritime expeditions of Admiral Zheng He connected Ming-dynasty China to the littoral states of the Indian Ocean. But China’s rulers recalled Zheng’s fleet less than three decades after it set out, and for the rest of imperial history, they devoted most of their attention to China’s neighbors to the east and south. Today, China is undertaking a third turn to the west—its most ambitious one yet. In 2013, Beijing unveiled a plan to connect dozens of economies across Eurasia and East Africa through a series of infrastructure investments known as the Belt and Road Initiative. The goal of the B&R, Chinese officials say, is to bring prosperity to the many developing Asian countries that lack the capacity to undertake major infrastructure projects on their own by connecting them through a web of airports, deep-water ports, fiber-optic networks, highways, railways, and oil and gas pipelines. The B&R’s unstated goal is equally ambitious: to save China from the economic decline that its slowing growth rate and high debt levels seem to portend. The infrastructure initiative, China’s leaders believe, could create new markets for Chinese companies and at the same time provide a shot in the arm to the struggling banks and state-owned enterprises whose disgruntled bosses might otherwise trouble the current leadership of the Chinese Communist Party.


Interview: Egypt eyes bigger role in Belt and Road initiative at G20 summit

Xinhua   2016-08-26

by Mahmoud Fouly, Emad al-Azrak 

CAIRO, Aug. 26 (Xinhua) -- The G20 summit in China with Egypt's participation as a guest of honor represents an opportunity to further boost Egyptian-Chinese economic partnership, Alaa Haider, editor-in-chief of Egypt's official MENA news agency, told Xinhua in an interview.  Chinese President Xi Jinping invited his Egyptian counterpart Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi to attend the summit that will be held in eastern China's Hangzhou city on Sept. 4-5, gathering the leaders of the world's largest economies.  "The G20 summit is significant for China and the whole world, as it is held this year under the theme of stimulating and urging world trade, which has declined over the past two years since the last G20 summit in 2014," said Haider, adding that China sees Egypt as a key player in the turmoil-stricken Middle East region.  Egypt is currently working on the necessary infrastructure for the development of its Suez Canal corridor after the recent expansion of the vital waterway, while China is working on the Belt and Road Initiative proposed by President Xi Jinping in 2013.


Thursday, August 25, 2016

After the Failed Coup: A New Dawn for China-Turkey Relations?

As Ankara reexamines its post-coup foreign policy priorities, China-Turkey relations have an opportunity to blossom.

By Wang Jin

THE DIPLOMAT - August 10, 2016

More than half a month after the attempted Turkish military coup in mid-July, China sent Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Ming to Turkey. Zhang’s visit was meant to help China learn about Turkey’s domestic situation and foster an in-depth exchange of views with the Turkish side on China-Turkey relations as well as international and regional issues of shared interest.  Zhang’s visit attracted considerable attention in China because he was the first senior Chinese representative to visit Turkey since the attempted military coup in Turkey, which almost ousted the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government. Although it came more than two weeks after the failed coup, Zhang’s visit was still timely. On the one hand, along with other states, China needed time to closely observe the political trends inside Turkey and waited until the proper time to send its representative. On the other hand, for China, the decision to send a vice foreign minister to Turkey within half a month is comparatively fast. It usually takes a long time before a final decision is made given the complicated foreign policymaking system in China, which consists of not only China Foreign Ministry from the government, but also the Foreign Affairs Office of Communist Party of China (CPC).  For this visit, China chose Zhang Ming, a relatively senior representative (a vice foreign minister, but not Minister Wang Yi or another, higher-ranking representative) who is familiar with the Middle East (Zhang has been working for China’s foreign ministry on Middle East affairs for decades). The choice suggests China is cautious in approaching Ankara given the political chaos inside Turkey.


Turkey ratifies deal on atomic energy with China

AZERNEWS - 25 August 2016 

By Gunay Hasanova 

Turkey has ratified an agreement with China on use of atomic energy for peaceful purposes, the Official Gazette reported on August 25.  The agreement signed in Beijing between Turkey and China in 2012, has been ratified by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.  Turkey's Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources previously reported that  three nuclear power plants will be built in the country.  Then, it was reported that China was interested in constructing the third nuclear power plant in Turkey, and China's State Nuclear Power Technology Corporation (SNPTC) already started talks on constructing the third nuclear power plant.  Turkey plans to construct the first plant in Akkuyu province jointly with Russia.   The intergovernmental agreement between Russia and Turkey on cooperation in the fields of construction and operation of the country's first nuclear power plant Akkuyu near the city of Mersin in southern Turkey was signed in 2010.  The plant's construction is expected to be completed in 2020.  The second nuclear power plant in Turkey will be built in Sinop province on the Black Sea coast.  The agreement on constructing the plant in Sinop was signed between Turkey and Japan in 2013. It is planned to complete the project's implementation by 2023.  Turkey's Energy and Natural Resources Minister Berat Albayrak during his recent visit to China stated that the two countries will focus on joint investments and cooperation, adding that Turkey, because of its location is an important bridge in energy for China.  China and Turkey signed eight cooperation agreements related to trade, cultural and technical exchange and marine cooperation.  Previously, Prime ministers of both countries announced their intentions to increase bilateral trade to $50 billion by 2015 and to cooperate in building high-speed rail to link Ankara to Istanbul.  China is Turkey's third trade partner after Germany and Russia.

G20 can restore old bridges between China and Turkey

Editor: Li Kun 丨  08-22-2016

By Muhammet Hamza Ucar, Turkey, International Politics and Law student at Yenching Academy, Peking University and Istanbul University Political Science Faculty                                   

Turkey and China have some similarities in their cultures. The Chinese and Turkish peoples are similar with their Asian roots and support traditional family values that favor strong networking ties in their daily lives and careers. Turkey is half-European and half-Asian, which impacts how its people conduct their lives. They have adapted to a modern lifestyle just like the Chinese have. Turkey is located in Western Asia, but still a part of Europe. Turkey's political life can be so variable, since it's close to the Middle East, while China is more stable. The two nations have enjoyed long-held strong ties in history, while academic researchers have taken note of Chinese historical documents that show close relations with Turkey. Both nations cherish their patriotism, historical characters as ordinary people frequently ponder such matters on a daily basis. The two societies - China and Turkey - consist of different ethnic groups living together, which differ from a number of European countries where minorities do not play substantial roles.


‘Silk Road Economic Belt’ Forum Opens in Tehran

Financial Tribune - Thursday, August 25, 2016 

A forum titled “Silk Road Economic Belt” opened in Tehran on Tuesday with focus on friendly exchanges and cooperation between China and the Islamic Republic, Chinese state-owned news agency China News Service reported on its official English language website on Wednesday.  “China and Iran are countries with great civilization, and the long history of friendly exchanges between them has laid a solid foundation for the Silk Road Economic Belt initiative,” He Xingliang, counselor of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China, said at the forum held in Tehran’s Niavaran Cultural Center.  “There is a great potential and broad prospect for bilateral cooperation, especially in the fields of resources and technology,” the Chinese official added.  For his part, Head of Iran-China Friendship Association Ahmad Mohammadi hailed the role of China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative in the interaction between the two sides. He said the interaction s has long existed, but has taken new dimensions with the initiative.  “The proposal has been well received in Iran, and the Islamic Republic is preparing to accept the proposal,” Mohammadi said.


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

China's Nightmare: Xinjiang Jihadists Go Global

While fighting in Syria, the Turkestan Islamic Party has joined forces with global jihadist movements.

By Uran Botobekov

THE DIPLOMAT - August 17, 2016

Analysis of the world’s Islamic jihadist movements shows that over the past few months, the Internet-based propaganda activity of the Turkestan Islamic Party (TIP) has increased dramatically. The Turkestan Islamic Party, a group also called the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), fights for the establishment of a fundamentalist Islamic State of East Turkestan in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.
The TIP’s members consist mainly of ethnic Muslim Uyghurs. Since 2001, the group has been affiliated with al-Qaeda. After the emergence of the Islamic State (ISIS), the ideological goals and the scale of hostilities of the Turkestan Islamic Party shifted. In 2013, the TIP moved to join the Caliphate, integrating, along with a pair of Uzbek groups, into a faction of Jabhat al-Nusra. Recently it was reported that on July 28, 2016 Abu Muhammad al-Julani, the leader of Jabhat al-Nusra announced that the group would be renamed as Jabhat Fath al-Sham.
Today more than 2,000 TIP fighters in alliance and under the leadership of Jabhat Fath al-Sham are fighting in the northwest part of Syria against the regime of Bashar al-Assad. According to Al Arabiya News there are a few thousand Uyghur fighters in Syria, many of whom arrived with their families after a long and treacherous journey from China and Central Asia. They are believed to have been seen in large numbers in disparate regions of Idlib, including the strategic town of Jisr al-Shoghur, Ariha, and the highlands of Jabal al-Zawiya.
The analysis shows that in recent months the TIP has posted more than 30 videos and other propaganda material on the internet. A careful study of this material makes it clear that significant changes have occurred in the ideological and strategic goals of the TIP since 2010. The position of the Turkestan Islamic Party against the Chinese authorities has become even more radical. If previously the party’s strategic objective was to conduct a terrorist struggle against the power structures of China and to separate Xinjiang from Beijing, today it sets a more global objective. TIP fighters call on the world’s Muslims to join the jihad against Western countries in internet videos. Perhaps most worringly for China, the TIP believes that Muslims may fight locally using various means instead of coming to Syria and Iraq to conduct a “holy war” against the “infidel” Western regimes.
TIP’s Propaganda Work
In addition to military actions in Syria, the TIP has begun to focus greater attention on propaganda work. On August 5 it launched a new channel via the Telegram instant messaging service, which houses a variety of information on the nature of jihad propaganda. TIP fighter and members alike are capable of transmitting information to others on the private channel. The leader of TIP, Abdul Ahad Turkistānī (Abd al-Ḥaqq al-Turkistānī), is registered as a moderator of the Telegram channel. Overall, the messaging is a kind of blunt challenge to the coalition forces led by the United States, who are fighting against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.
Since 2008, the information center of the TIP has produced an Arabic print and online color magazine, “Islamic Turkestan.” In its latest issue (#19), published in May 2016, there were materials on a variety of topics, ranging from the Salafi doctrine of jihad to anti-Chinese articles. In contrast to earlier issues, the range of subjects has expanded. Earlier issues mainly focused on Beijing’s military suppression of Uyghurs in East Turkestan, while in recent issues the TIP gives political assessments of the events in Syria and Iraq. In particular, the Turkestan Islamic Party condemns what they call the “crusade” of Western states led by the United States against Syria. In the lead article, NATO is called an “Alliance of Crusaders,” which weakens jihad with airstrikes. The TIP also accuses Russia and Iran of providing military support to Assad. The lead article states that “the Russian planes and tanks will not save the Alawite regime of Assad, as the Mujahideen in Sham will soon destroy it with the support of Allah.” The article concludes with an appeal to TIP fighters to support the people of Sham and remain steadfast on the path of jihad which it states is “specified by the Messenger of Allah.”
The magazine also continues its focus on the oppression of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang province. Headlines include: “East Turkestan is seething under Chinese repression,” “History of the suffering of Muslims,” “China has adopted controversial laws on the fight against terrorism,” “Gushing wound of East Turkestan,” “Crimes of the Chinese Communist Regime,” “Save Turkestan until it is too late,” “Crying of silk scarves of Uyghur mothers,” and others. The last page of the magazine states that “the emancipation of East Turkestan from the Communist China is the duty of every Muslim of East Turkestan.” Articles include colorful photos of Islamic scholars, TIP fighters in Syria, and violent repression by the Chinese police.
Analysis of published materials shows substantial and thematic similarities between the TIP’s magazine and other periodicals issued by radical Islamist terrorist groups.
It should be noted that all videos, statements, and audio materials from TIP have been prepared and posted on the Internet by the group’s the official media center,“Islam Awazi,” which translates as the “Voice of Islam.” In particular, on July 22, 2016 the Turkestan Islamic Party distributed a video titled “My Desire,” which highlighted photos of Uyghur fighters in Syria and their struggle with the Chinese army in the city of Urumqi. Behind the scenes, a song states in the Uyghur language, “We want to live according to the canons of Shariah as true Muslims and to conduct holy war against infidels on earth.” Half a dozen similar videos were posted over recent months in addition to several songs and music videos.
TIP Turns Against ISIS
Among the many videos of “Islam Awazi,” the audio message of TIP Emir Abd al-Ḥaqq al-Turkistānī posted on May 28, 2016 deserves special attention. It shows that he is alive and still runs the Turkestan Islamic Party. Pakistan’s Interior Minister Rehman Malik previously stated that  al-Haqq was killed in a U.S. drone strike in North Waziristan on February 15, 2010, but the TIP never confirmed the death of its leader. After four years it was reported in the media that he was able to recover from his injuries.
In a new audio message, al-Haqq called Uyghurs “in any corner of the world, wherever they may be” to join jihad. According to  al-Haqq, “today they are making jihad in Sham, helping their brothers, and tomorrow the soldiers of Islam must be willing to return to China to emancipate the western province of Xinjiang from the communist invaders.”
However, he also condemned ISIS and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) as “illegitimate.” In his opinion, “the proclamation of Caliphate [by ISIS] was equivalent to unripened crop harvesting, since it was established without the approval of the Islamic leaders and the Ummah” (the international community of Muslims). He argued that the Caliphate had to be established on the basis of Shariah, and not on a political basis. He condemned the brutal executions of ordinary Muslims by ISIS fighters and questioned the theological knowledge of its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. At the end of his messages al-Ḥaqq explained the ideological and religious reasons for the split between the Turkestan Islamic Party and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan.
In August 2015, Usman Ghazi, the IMU leader, took the oath of allegiance to ISIS emir al-Baghdadi, and cut ties with al-Qaeda and the Taliban. Uzbek militants from Central Asia who split from the IMU, remaining faithful to al-Qaeda under the wing of the terrorist group Islamic Jihad Union (IJU), swore allegiance to Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour, the new leader of the Taliban. In December 2015, following the “betrayal,” the Taliban fought against and defeated the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan in the Afghan province of Zabul. According to al-Ḥaqq, the IMU leader’s fatal error led to the collapse of the group. But its defeat was in the interest of the TIP, since the two organizations  who sought to create a caliphate in Central Asia and China’s Xinjiang were secretly competing with each other for influence.
Uyghurs in the Arms of Global Jihad
“Islam Awazi,” the TIP’s media center, publishes three to four videos monthly in the column, “A Call From the Front Lines of Jihad,” which report about the military “successes” of TIP fighters. Also, a monthly “Tourism of the Believers” video is produced which demonstrates the “peaceful” and “military” life of Uyghur fighters in Syria. There are regular columns titled “Lovers of Paradise,” “Blessings Are the Strangers,” “Go Forth Oh Mujāhid.” “Islam Awazi” also posts letters, orders, statements, messages, and greetings from TIP leadership in PDF format.
After careful analysis of the video, audio, and printed materials from “Islam Awazi” it can be concluded that almost all of them contain anti-China slogans as well as a call for jihad. Despite the transition of its main fighting force to Syria and its initiation within the global jihad, throughout the entire period of its existence the TIP has maintained a position against China specifically. All of its promotional materials raise the problem of Xinjiang and express concerns about the repression of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang. The Turkestan Islamic Party attempts to appeal to traditionally painful issues for Uyghurs, such as the Chinese birth control policy, expansion of the Han in Xinjiang, and discrimination and persecution of Muslims by Beijing. There is a call for jihad at the end of each message, regardless of format.
The TIP attempts to legitimize its terrorist activities by invoking the name of Allah. “The fight with China is our duty to Allah,” says Abdullah Mansour, one of the Islamic ideologues of the party, who justifies his political objectives with theological rhetoric. According to Mansour’s logic, the armed struggle against China is not a political objective of the TIP; it is the will of Allah. TIP leaders argue for their two main objectives — the separation of Xinjiang from China and the establishment of the Islamic state of “East Turkestan” in its place — using verses of the Quran.
The ideology of the Turkestan Islamic Party has undergone a number of significant changes resulting from rapprochement with al-Qaeda in Waziristan (2001-2010) and Jabhat al-Nusra in Syria (2013-2016). In particular, the TIP has expanded the geographic reach of its interests and has strengthened links with radical Islamists from Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and the Maghreb. Today, the TIP has become a serious contender in global jihad. As a result of the impact of transnational radical Islamic groups on the TIP, the doctrine of jihad has been permanently entrenched as the basis of the organization’s ideological platform. The TIP’s propaganda materials have acquired a pronounced jihadist hue. “Islam Awazi” has obviously adopted the style and form of presentation of other extremist groups in preparing its videos, particularly following the models of ISIS, al-Qaeda, and Jabhat al-Nusra.
The TIP has also successfully started to mimic the tactics of the Taliban while conducting terrorist attacks. Before 2003 the targets of TIP attacks were officials, police, and members of the Chinese security forces. After its integration with al-Qaeda, Uyghur fighters began carrying out attacks in crowded and busy areas. This has led to an increase in “the damaging effect” of attacks and an increasing number of victims. The terrorist attacks in 2013-2014 in Tiananmen Square in Beijing, Urumqi, and the attempt to hijack the aircraft Hotan-Urumqi indicate a change in targets and places for the attacks. Today ISIS-inspired radicals in Europe repeat the experience of TIP fighters, who massacred Han Chinese at stations in Kunming and Guangzhou using knives, axes, and machetes in 2014.
Ruse of the “Red Dragon”
The globalization of Uyghur jihadists from the Turkestan Islamic Party, along with their separatist ideology, have become major problems for China. Beijing’s repressive policies in Xinjiang have pushed some Uyghurs to move from nationalism into the arms of Islamic extremists. Demonstrated violence against the Uyghurs, violation of their human rights, and restrictions and prohibitions on Islamic practices contributed to the development of the terrorist threat. Beijing, with its aggressive policies in Xinjiang over the past 15 years, has strengthened the position of the TIP which, in turn, exacerbated the problem of Uyghur nationalism and separatism, which rose to join the ranks of global jihad. Leader of the ISIS Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has said that China is the target of the Islamists.
China pursues purely personal interests in the fight against ISIS. The Chinese state-owned oil company Sinopec has made multimillion dollar investments to develop oil and gas fields in Iraqi Kurdistan. This provides Beijing with an opportunity to influence Turkey, which tacitly supports Uyghur separatists out of a sense of ethnic solidarity. China has not forgotten the statement of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that “Eastern Turkestan is not only the home of the Turkic peoples, but it is also the cradle of Turkic history, civilization, and culture. The martyrs of Eastern Turkestan are our own martyrs.”
However, as experience has shown, China takes a passive position in the struggle against global Islamic jihad in Syria and Iraq. Beijing has not sent its troops to the Middle East to fight ISIS and has instead confined itself to diplomatic support for Russia and the United States. The Chinese government uses the attacks of Islamic jihadists to persuade Western countries to support Beijing’s position on Xinjiang and turn a blind eye when the freedom and rights of Uyghurs are harshly suppressed by Chinese security forces. Therefore, China is not perceived by the West as a reliable partner in the fight against terrorism.
Uran Botobekov has a Ph.D. in political science and is an expert on political Islam.

China and the Jihadi Threat

By Guy Burton | Assistant Professor - The University of Nottingham -- Malaysia

MEI | Aug 09, 2016

How is China dealing with the challenge of jihadi violence? Depending on whether the threat is perceived as internal or external, different approaches are being used. Governments have a range of options to deal with terrorism and jihadism, but these can be distilled into two primary approaches: conciliation or confrontation. While conciliation seeks resolutions to outstanding grievances, confrontation aims only to prevent these grievances from turning into actions. Across these poles, governments can pursue a range of strategies, from protection, policing, and politics to peace-building and psychology.[1]
To date, the Chinese approach has used these different strategies but not always at the same time or place. Instead, Chinese strategies have been influenced by whether the terrorist threat is perceived to be domestic or foreign. Internally, the Chinese approach has focused on protection and policing, resulting in confrontation with the Uighur minority in the far western province of Xinjiang. Externally, it has been less confrontational, with a preference for political and peace-building approaches.


The G.C.C. and China’s One Belt, One Road: Risk or Opportunity?

By Jeffrey S. Payne | Research Fellow/Academic Affairs Manager - National Defense University's Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies

MEI | Aug 11, 2016

China’s One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative is both a reflection of China’s growing need for deeper engagement with the regions to its west and a grander vision for Chinese foreign policy. OBOR is an ambitious plan for integrating the provinces of China, especially underdeveloped ones in the west and south of the country, with Eurasia through intensified trade, telecommunication, and infrastructure. The plan faces immense challenges. Parts of Eurasia remain unstable, the region attracts major powers whose interests regularly diverge, and political challenges are rampant. Yet, the potential payoffs for both China and Eurasia if OBOR succeeds are substantial. In the Gulf region, OBOR’s impact is intended to maximize commerce among all actors, but its impact is likely to extend beyond economics.[1] OBOR does not provide an equal opportunity for all states, and, in the case of the Gulf, it is Iran that will likely benefit over all others. The states of the G.C.C. also factor in to Beijing’s plan, just not to the same degree―and that is the problem. This imbalance will have political ramifications for the Gulf, and as OBOR progresses, the G.C.C. will need to measure its potential economic gains against the political risks associated with China’s efforts. There is a way for the states of the G.C.C. to effectively address this developing regional environment, and that is to mirror China by engaging eastward. Using OBOR and existing comparative advantages will allow the states of the G.C.C. to balance Iran’s potential windfall.


Pentagon Stunned As Thousands Of Chinese Troops Enter ISIS War

ETF - 23, 2016

The Kremlin have announced that China are to send 5,000 of its most elite military forces into the Levant War Zone to help Russia in the fight against ISIS, which has left the Obama administration and the Pentagon “horrified”. 
The “Siberian Tiger” Special Forces and “Night Tiger” Special Forces Units were given authorization to be deployed by China’s People’s Congress (NPC) on Sunday, after China passed its first anti-terrorism law allowing their army to take part in anti-terror missions abroad.
Most critical to China in entering this war, this report continues, is the “grave” national security threat it faces from both the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL/Daesh) and Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MIT)—and as, perhaps, best described by the noted award winning American military-intelligence journalist Seymour M. Hersh who in his latest article warned of this threat by stating:
“China, an ally of [Syrian leader] Assad has committed more than $30 billion to postwar reconstruction in Syria. China, too, is worried about the Islamic State. China regards the Syrian crisis from three perspectives: international law and legitimacy; global strategic positioning; and the activities of jihadist Uighurs, from Xinjiang province in China’s far west.
Xinjiang borders eight nations – Mongolia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India – and, in China’s view, serves as a funnel for terrorism around the world and within China.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

The Chinese admiral who spread Islam across Southeast Asia

Chow Chung-yan

SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST - Saturday, 20 August, 2016

Near my childhood home in Kunming (昆明), Yunnan (雲南) province, is a park dedicated to its most famous son: Admiral Zheng He. Our teacher would take us to pay tribute to the great eunuch of the Ming dynasty, recounting his legendary seven expeditions that brought glory to the motherland.
The marble bust of Zheng He shows the face of a typical Chinese, with a square chin, brushy eyebrows and a flat nose. My father joked it more resembled comrade Lei Feng than the admiral. Not until years later did I realise how true this was. The statue was erected in 1979 – a year after Deng Xiaoping (鄧小平) launched his open-door policy. Zheng, barely mentioned during the Cultural Revolution, was plucked from obscurity and hailed as a national hero who embodied China’s open spirit. A park near his ancestral home was dedicated to him. The same craftsmen who churned out revolutionary statues were employed to build his. In real life, Zheng probably looked very different. My school textbook mentioned only that he was a Hui minority (Muslim Chinese). In fact, the admiral was a descendent of a powerful Persian family. Records discovered in 1913 trace his lineage to Sayyid Ajall, who was sent by Kublai Khan to conquer Yunnan and became its first governor. In 2014, Chinese scientists at Fudan University in Shanghai put the theory to test. They examined DNA samples collected from descendents of the admiral’s close kin and found they originated from Persia, modern-day Iran. In addition to Zheng He, most senior officers of the storied Ming armada were also Muslims.


Thursday, August 18, 2016

Xi seeks to address concerns over China's new 'Silk Road' plan


BEIJING (Bloomberg) - Chinese President Xi Jinping is seeking to assuage international concern that his three-year-old signature initiative to revive an ancient trading route linking China and Europe is only about serving his nation's interests.
Speaking at a conference on the "One Belt, One Road" initiative in Beijing on Wednesday (Aug 16), Xi called for a step up in the implementation of projects to provide "a solid sense of gain" to all the countries involved. He also requested better risk assessment and security for the projects along the route that passes through countries prone to wars, terrorist attacks and political instability.
The initiative, first proposed by Xi in 2013, aims at reviving the route that connects China and Europe via Central Asia and the Middle East, as well as a path through Southeast Asia and Africa. Critics, from countries including Kazakhstan and India, say the main purpose of the plan is to boost China's geopolitical influence and export China's excess industrial capacity to overseas countries. Doubts also exist over the feasibility and security risk of the initiative.


Criminal Gangs Selling Fake Kyrgyz Passports to China's Uyghurs

Local media follow the story of faked travel documents to Osh. Putz

By Catherine Putz

THE DIPLOMAT - August 17, 2016

In May, 98 Uyghurs from China’s Xinjiang were arrested at Istanbul’s Ataturk airport carrying Kyrgyz passports. The group was attempting to make a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia. They had reportedly left on their Chinese passports from Urumqi. According to the Hurriyet Daily News, thye bought tickets to Northern Cyprus and passed through passport checks with those tickets before meeting four men in the transit hall who passed them fake Kyrgyz passports and boarding passes for a flight to Jeddah.
The Uyghurs were to be deported back to China (it’s not clear they have been already) and the four fake passport peddlers were detained by Turkish police. The fake passports reportedly costs 2,500 euro each and the tickets $300.
According to the head of the Kyrgyz passport authority, Taiyrbek Sarpashev, the counterfeiting ring is making a lot of money off Uyghurs trying to get to places like Saudi Arabia. “[The] average for Chinese citizens [to make the Saudi pilgrimage] costs between $10,000 to $20,000; the income of the criminal group is estimated to be more than $1 million,” he said in an interview with RFE/RL’s Kyrgyz service.


Pakistan to host third CPEC-Silk Road Forum next year: Mushahid Hussain

By Asim Yasin


ISLAMABAD: Chairman Parliamentary Committee on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed announced Tuesday that the next CPEC/Silk Road Forum, which has been held in the past two years in the city of Karamay in Xinjiang province of China, will have its 3rd international conference in Islamabad in August 2017.
Talking to the media on his return after attending the Silk Road Forum in Karamay where Pakistan had a representation of over 50 persons delegation Senator Mushahid said that the Silk Road Forum organised by the international think tank, Research and Development International (RDI), which is co-chaired from the Chinese side by prominent parliamentary leader, Dr Zhao Baiga and on the Pakistan side by Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed, organised the last 2 forums in cooperation with the central government of China and the provincial government of Xinjiang, unanimously decided to hold the 3rd forum in Pakistan because CPEC is the pilot and flagship project of the One Belt, One Road initiative of President Xi Jinping.


Xi calls for advancing Belt and Road Initiative

Xinhua| 2016-08

BEIJING, Aug. 17 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for steady advance of the country's Belt and Road Initiative to benefit people along the routes.
The Belt and Road Initiative should help promote policy coordination, infrastructure connectivity, unimpeded trade, financial integration and mutual understanding among the people, Xi said at a symposium on the initiative held in Beijing.
Priority areas for the initiative include building a platform to advance cooperation as well as a green, healthy, intelligent and peaceful Silk Road, Xi said.
The conference was also attended by Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli, National Development and Reform Commission's head Xu Shaoshi, Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Communist Party chiefs of Fujian, Xinjiang, Guangdong and Shaanxi, as well as experts from think tanks.


Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Chinese military to provide ‘aid and training assistance’ to Syrian government

Training also part of agreement reached on the weekend as Beijing gradually steps up its direct involvement in the Middle East

Liu Zhen

SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST - Tuesday, 16 August, 2016

The Chinese military will provide aid and training to the Syrian government under a deal reached between a Beijing envoy and Syria’s defence minister in Damascus on Sunday.  It is another step in Beijing’s engagement in the Middle East after China named Xie Xiao­yan, former ambassador to Iran, as its special envoy to Syria in March.  The Chinese military delegation to Syria – headed by Rear Admiral Guan Youfei, director of international cooperation at the Central Military Commission – met Syrian Defence Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Lieutenant General Fahd Jasim al-Furayj, Xinhua reported on Tuesday.  “They reached consensus on improving personnel training, and the Chinese military offering humanitarian aid to Syria,” the report said without elaborating.  Guan said the Chinese military was willing to continue exchanges and cooperation with the Syrian military.  Guan also met Lieutenant General Sergei Chvarkov, chief of Russia’s reconciliation centre in Syria, on Monday.


Saturday, August 13, 2016

Two Arabic Travel Books: Accounts of China and India and Mission to the Volga

Two Arabic Travel Books Accounts of China and India and Mission to the Volga     

By Abu Zayd al-Sirafi    
Edited and Translated by Tim Mackintosh-Smith    

By Ahmad Ibn Fadlan 
Edited and Translated by James Montgomery


Two Arabic Travel Books combines two exceptional exemplars of Arabic travel writing, penned in the same era but chronicling wildly divergent experiences. Accounts of China and India is a compilation of reports and anecdotes on the lands and peoples of the Indian Ocean, from the Somali headlands to China and Korea. The early centuries of the Abbasid era witnessed a substantial network of maritime trade—the real-life background to the Sindbad tales. In this account, we first travel east to discover a vivid human landscape, including descriptions of Chinese society and government, Hindu religious practices, and natural life from flying fish to Tibetan musk-deer and Sri Lankan gems. The juxtaposed accounts create a jigsaw picture of a world not unlike our own, a world on the road to globalization. In its ports, we find a priceless cargo of information; here are the first foreign descriptions of tea and porcelain, a panorama of unusual social practices, cannibal islands, and Indian holy men—a marvelous, mundane world, contained in the compass of a novella.    In Mission to the Volga, we move north on a diplomatic mission from Baghdad to the upper reaches of the Volga River in what is now central Russia. This colorful documentary by Ibn Fadlan relates the trials and tribulations of an embassy of diplomats and missionaries sent by caliph al-Muqtadir to deliver political and religious instruction to the recently-converted King of the Bulghars. During eleven months of grueling travel, Ibn Fadlan records the marvels he witnesses on his journey, including an aurora borealis and the white nights of the North. Crucially, he offers a description of the Viking Rus, including their customs, clothing, tattoos, and a striking account of a ship funeral. Mission to the Volga is also the earliest surviving instance of sustained first-person travel narrative in Arabic—a pioneering text of peerless historical and literary value.      Together, the stories in Two Arabic Travel Books illuminate a vibrant world of diversity during the heyday of the Abbasid empire, narrated with as much curiosity and zeal as they were perceived by their observant beholders.


The Chinese through Abbasid eyes

A recent translation of a 1100-year-old report by an Arab adventurer allows us to see Tang Dynasty China through 9th century Arab eyes

Jan Keulen

MIDDLE EAST EYE - Tuesday 9 June 2015

They were keen and curious observers. More than a millennium ago merchant-informants and officials at the service of the Abbasid caliph, from Baghdad or Basra, put to paper eyewitness accounts of North Europeans (Vikings), Indians, Chinese and people from today’s Cambodia, Indonesia and Sri Lanka. The Abbasid Caliphate ruled all of West Asia and North Africa from 750 AD until about 1000, when it began to weaken.  “Baghdad was one of the biggest cities in the world,” says Dr Maaike van Berkel, associate professor in Medieval History at Amsterdam University. Van Berkel, a specialist in the Abbasids’ empire, recalls that the City of Peace, as it was called, had probably around half a million inhabitants. “But that’s still gigantic and beyond compare to the towns and cities at the time in Europe. Baghdad was an important economic and trade centre. There were commercial contacts with Charlemagne’s empire in Europe but even more with China, India and Central Asia.”  “From all over the Middle East people came to Baghdad; it was the most important religious, intellectual and scientific centre of that part of the world,” Van Berkel says. “Geographers knew in detail about the Dar al Islam (home or abode of Islam), a vast area that extended from what is now Spain to Pakistan and Afghanistan. They mapped the roads and rivers, the cities, the natural environment, the administration, the people…. They were also pretty knowledgeable about India but much less so about Europe.”  The recently translated Accounts of China and India by Abu Zayd al-Sirafi and other chroniclers gives a fascinating insight into the interconnectedness and mobility of the Abbasid era. For today’s readers, removed in time and place, some of the writers’ observations may seem bizarre and implausible. But in most of their akhbār  - credible reports of what they saw and heard -  one can easily recognise modern Indians and Chinese.


Images of Xinjiang and the Cultural Revolution (part two)
August 13, 2016

This morning I stumbled upon a large collection of photographs capturing a variety of events from Xinjiang during the Cultural Revolution (1966-76), and decided to make a quick follow-up to a post I made a few months back on Images of Xinjiang and the Cultural Revolution. They appear to come from a variety of sources, though mostly from a 2014 photo essay by a Xinjiang-based website named Yaxin. The piece from Yaxin, entitled “Xinjiang History: The People’s Militia of the Tarim Basin”, also features some brief comments on the wider context of the time, which I have also included below.
I would just like to add a very brief note regarding the reception of these pictures on Weibo. I noticed a number of netizens expressing a sense of nostalgia for what they perceive to have been a time of ethnic harmony and unity. Now, they wrote, with the arrival of “religious extremism” in Xinjiang, no one would dare share weapons of the sort pictured below with Uyghur people. One comment, which garnered over 40 ‘likes’ had a very different take and is worth translating in full:
“When many old Uyghur people come to Beijing, once they get to Tiananmen and see the Mausoleum of Mao Zedong, they begin to cry. They tell children about the past and how good Mao was at that time. Later, when they go to sort out accommodation for the night, people take one look at their ID card (身份证), see they are from Xinjiang, and refuse to let them stay. In the whole of Beijing, they can find nowhere to stay. Sigh.”
1. Yasheng•Kuerban, captain of Laohutai army forces assigning tasks to the militia
2. The bold and brave women of the militia

Images of Xinjiang and the Cultural Revolution (part one)
March 6, 2016

Here is a collection of images I have compiled on the topic of Xinjiang and the Cultural Revolution. As there is quite a bit more material available online, I expect to be adding more to this collection over the next few months as I come across new images. Watch this space!

1. “Cheering for the Great Success of the Proletariat’s Cultural Revolution” Source
2. Uyghur Women perform ‘Model Theatre’ (样板戏), a form of opera produced during the Cultural RevolutionSource
 READ AND SEE MORE...........

Friday, August 12, 2016

China’s One Belt, One Road Initiative and the Sino-Russian Entente

Getty Alexander Gabuev, Greg Shtraks Op-Ed


The declaration on the integration of the EEU and OBOR, announced last year, has ambiguous wording, and the language about coordination is limited to trying to find a link between the two initiatives. What was proposed was not a merger but a linking up. The language is vague and the main challenge over the last year has been to find practical means and models for connecting the projects. The first avenue that Russia and China have explored involves finding and identifying investment projects, particularly logistics and infrastructure projects that would increase connectivity. The second avenue involves implementing the third pillar of OBOR: increasing trade by establishing a free trade zone or an economic partnership that would enable and facilitate trade.  This second avenue is looking more advanced right now. During the recent visit of President Vladimir Putin to China, Commissioner Veronika Nikishkina—head of external relations for the Eurasian Commission, the upper supranational body of the EEU—signed a document with the Chinese minister of commerce Gao Hucheng to formally start negotiations on an economic partnership. This partnership is focused on trade-facilitation measures, such as improving investment protections, removing red tape on customs, and merging different standards on intellectual property, customs, and other areas. The next step will likely be the establishment of a free trade zone. Based on conversations with negotiators on both sides, I expect the talks to last at least seven to ten years. This would be a realistic expectation of the time needed to conclude this deal. The economies of the EEU and China are all protectionist, but China is much more experienced in international trade negotiations than Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, or Armenia. The road obviously won’t be easy, but it is the one that all these countries want to explore.


China's Marshall Plan

BLOOMBERG - August 8, 2016

China's ambition to revive an ancient trading route stretching from Asia to Europe could leave an economic legacy bigger than the Marshall Plan or the European Union's enlargement, according to a new analysis.  Dubbed 'One Belt, One Road,' the plan to build rail, highways and ports will embolden China's soft power status by spreading economic prosperity during a time of heightened  political uncertainty in both the U.S. and EU, according to Stephen L. Jen, the chief executive officer at Eurizon SLJ Capital Ltd., who estimates a value of $1.4 trillion for the project. It will also boost trading links and help internationalize the yuan as banks open branches along the route, according to Jen.  "This is a quintessential example of a geopolitical event that will likely be consequential for the global economy and the balance of political power in the long run," said Jen, a former International Monetary Fund economist.  Reaching from east to west, the Silk Road Economic Belt will extend to Europe through Central Asia and the Maritime Silk Road will link sea lanes to Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Africa.  While China's authorities aren't calling their Silk Road a new Marshall Plan, that's not stopping comparisons with the U.S. effort to rebuild Western Europe after World War II.


Pakistan, China negotiating second phase of FTA, NA told

Zahid Hamid hoped trade under CPEC will have positive impact on Pakistan economy.


The National Assembly resumed its session in Islamabad today with Deputy Speaker Murtaza Javed Abbasi in the chair.  The National Assembly was informed today that Pakistan has undertaken extensive diplomatic efforts to win support within Nuclear Suppliers Group for its membership.    Minister for States and Frontier Regions Abdul Qadir Baloch told the House during question hour that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has sent letters to his counterparts in all NSG countries.  He said Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, Special Assistant to Prime Minister Tariq Fatemi made phone calls to their counterparts in NSG countries who favored Iran discriminatory criteria-based approach for membership of NPT countries.  Abdul Qadir Baloch said Pakistan's strong multi-pronged lobbying efforts have paid off. He said our arguments for criteria-based approach and negative impact of any India specific resumption on the strategic stability in South Asia and the future of non-proliferation regime have found resonance among several NSG countries.  The Minister said the US is giving importance to India to counter China. However, he said the US has assured Islamabad that it is not doing so at the cost of Pakistan.  Parliamentary Secretary for Inter-Provincial Coordination Muhammad Shafqat Hayat Khan told the House that on the direction of the Prime Minister the government is taking measures to resolve problems of Pakistani labours in Saudi Arabia.  He said Pakistani Ambassador in Riyadh is vigorously pursuing the matter with Saudi authorities and management of the companies concerned in this regard. He pointed out that facilitation centres have also been set up for them and efforts are underway for their settlement in Saudi Arabia or their safe return home.  Minister for Law and Justice Zahid Hamid on behalf of Commerce Minister informed the House that Pakistan and China are negotiating the second phase of Pak-China Free Trade Agreement. He said Pakistan has shared its concerns regarding adverse impact of cheap imports from China on the local industry. He said both sides are working to find an amicable solution which adequately addresses the genuine concerns of both the countries.  To a question, the Minister expressed the hope that transit, bilateral and regional trade under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor will increase in future which will have a positive impact on Pakistan's economy.  Answering a question, Zahid Hamid said that Pakistan's exports to UK have increased by about forty percent since 2013. He said as UK negotiates its withdrawal from EU, GSP Plus facility in UK is likely to remain available for Pakistani exporters for another two years. He pointed out that UK is a leading trade partner of Pakistan and Pak-UK bilateral trade stood at 2.06 billion euros in 2015. He said Pakistan is also in the process of negotiating a Free Trade Agreement with UK to enhance bilateral trade.  Meanwhile, Minister for Inter-Provincial Coordination Riaz Hussain Pirzada told the House that a fourteen member Pakistan's contingent will participate in Olympics Games to be held in Rio de Janeiro.  He said the contingent include seven athletes, four coaches and three officials. He said three officials will be sponsored by the International Olympics Association. He said no extra burden is being put on the national exchequer as was reported by some newspapers.  The journalists staged a token walkout from the press gallery to protest the murder of a journalist in Sindh and violence against a reporter in Khushab. They demanded that the Parliament should take notice of these incidents. They said FIRs have not been registered for these two incidents.  Minister for Inter-Provincial Coordination Riaz Hussain Pirzada assured the journalists that the Speaker will take up the issue with the concerned IGs in Sindh and Punjab.  Later, Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Shaikh Aftab Ahmad laid before the House an authenticated copy of the Address of the President of Pakistan before both Houses assembled together on 1st of June this year.  The House adopted a motion moved by Minister for Parliamentary Affairs for expressing its deep gratitude to the President for his address to the Parliament.  The National Assembly also today passed two bills.  These include "The Banks (Nationalization) (Amendment) Bill, 2016" and "The Deposit Protection Corporation Bill, 2016".  These bills were moved by Parliamentary Secretary for Finance Rana Muhammad Afzal Khan.  The House will begin discussion on the President's address on Monday.  The House will now meet tomorrow afternoon at five.

China–Pakistan: With Great Investment Comes Some Responsibility

Raffaello Pantucci

RUSSI - 5 July 2016

The China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has become one of the emblematic foreign policy initiatives of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s broader ‘Belt and Road’ vision. An ambitious and wide-ranging investment project, the CPEC offers Pakistan a way through a number of its biggest problems – including domestic power supply, lack of infrastructure, and parts of the country that are underdeveloped – while giving China strategic port access to the Indian Ocean and creating a corridor to external markets for the underdeveloped southern part of the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region.
Yet earlier this year, the Chinese Embassy in Islamabad was put in the awkward position of having to formally distance itself from acrimonious internal political wrangling within Pakistan around the CPEC. In a pattern that is likely to repeat itself elsewhere as China continues to try to turn the ‘Belt and Road’ concept into a reality, Beijing is finding that it is unable to simply sidestep local entanglements and plead non-interference. Pakistan may prove to be a testing ground to see whether China can avoid local entanglements as the Xi administration seeks to advance its vision for a network of global trade corridors under the ‘Belt and Road’ rubric.


China’s US$1.4 trillion ‘One Belt, One Road’ set to make bigger impact than US’ Marshall Plan to rebuild post-war Europe

Project is set to leave economic legacy bigger and extend Beijing’s might across the globe.

China’s ambition to revive an ancient trading route stretching from Asia to Europe could leave an economic legacy bigger than the Marshall Plan or the European Union’s enlargement, according to a new analysis.
Dubbed “One Belt, One Road”, the plan to build rail, highways and ports will embolden China’s soft-power status by spreading economic prosperity during a time of heightened  political uncertainty in both the United States and European Union, according to Stephen L. Jen, chief executive officer at Eurizon SLJ Capital, who estimates a value of US$1.4 trillion for the project. 
It will also boost trading links and help internationalise the yuan as banks open branches along the route, according to Jen.
“This is a quintessential example of a geopolitical event that will likely be consequential for the global economy and the balance of political power in the long run,” said Jen, a former International Monetary Fund economist.
Reaching from east to west, the Silk Road Economic Belt will extend to Europe through Central Asia and the Maritime Silk Road will link sea lanes to Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Africa.
While China’s authorities aren’t calling their Silk Road a new Marshall Plan, that’s not stopping comparisons with the US effort to rebuild western Europe after the second world war.
With the potential to touch on 64 countries, 4.4 billion people and around 40 per cent of the global economy, Jen estimates that the “One Belt, One Road” project will be 12 times bigger in absolute dollar terms than the Marshall Plan. 
China may spend as much as 9 per cent of gross domestic product – about double the US’ boost to post-war Europe in those terms.
“The ‘One Belt, One Road’ project, in terms of its size, could be multiple times larger and more ambitious than the Marshall Plan or the European enlargement,” said Jen.
It’s not all upside. Undertaking an expansive plan like this one will inevitably run the risk of corruption, project delays and local opposition.
Chinese-backed projects have frequently run into trouble before, especially in Africa, and there’s no guarantee that potential recipient nations will put up their hand for the aid.
In addition, resurrecting the trading route will need funding during a time of slowing growth and rising bad loans in the nation’s banks. Sending money abroad when it’s needed at home may not have an enduring appeal.
Still, at least China has a plan.
“The fact that this is a 30-40 year plan is remarkable as China is the only country with any long-term development plan, and this underscores the policy long-termism in China, in contrast to the dominance of policy short-termism in much of the West,” Jen said.
And that’s a win-win for soft power.
“The ‘One Belt, One Road’ project could be a huge PR exercise that could win over government and public support in these countries,” he said.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

China and the Jihadi Threat

By Guy Burton | Assistant Professor - The University of Nottingham -- Malaysia

MEI | Aug 09, 2016

How is China dealing with the challenge of jihadi violence? Depending on whether the threat is perceived as internal or external, different approaches are being used. Governments have a range of options to deal with terrorism and jihadism, but these can be distilled into two primary approaches: conciliation or confrontation. While conciliation seeks resolutions to outstanding grievances, confrontation aims only to prevent these grievances from turning into actions. Across these poles, governments can pursue a range of strategies, from protection, policing, and politics to peace-building and psychology.[1] 
To date, the Chinese approach has used these different strategies but not always at the same time or place. Instead, Chinese strategies have been influenced by whether the terrorist threat is perceived to be domestic or foreign. Internally, the Chinese approach has focused on protection and policing, resulting in confrontation with the Uighur minority in the far western province of Xinjiang. Externally, it has been less confrontational, with a preference for political and peace-building approaches.


Friday, August 5, 2016

China deputy FM conveys Beijing's support to President Erdoğan

China's deputy FM is in Ankara extending Beijing's support to the legitimate government

Ağustos 04, 2016 Yeni Şafak

A key member in the Chinese government is paying a three-day state visit to Ankara, expressing his country's goodwill during his meetings with Turkey's top government officials, according to Foreing Ministry.  The Foreign Ministry stated that Chinese deputy Foreign Minister Zhang Ming is paying an official visit to Turkey to convey the Chinese government's message detailing its support to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım, two weeks after the failed coup attempt.  Ming, who has held talks with Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, has also been received by Energy and Natural Sources Minister Berat Albayrak.  The visiting deputy FM, who began his official visit on Aug. 3, is due to leave on Aug. 6, Friday.  Military officers, loyal to government, acting together with the pro-government police forces and millions of citizens, have accomplished dismantling the July 15 coup plot, orchestrated by FETÖ members, nested within the military.  During the violence of the July 15 coup attempt, 246 people were killed and over 2000 were wounded, officials said.  Gülen, wanted for terror charges in his homeland, is also accused of attempting to take control of the state with the support of his followers who infiltrated key organizations like the military, the police and the judiciary.

Senior Chinese diplomat visiting Turkey

2016-08-05 -

Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Zhang Ming is visiting Turkey, a Foreign Ministry spokesperson said Friday.  Zhang will learn about Turkey's domestic situation, and make in-depth exchange of views with the Turkish side on China-Turkey relations as well as international and regional issues of shared interest, spokesperson Hua Chunying said in a written statement.  Hua said China hopes Zhang's visit will deepen the two countries' political mutual trust, and promote the healthy and stable development of bilateral ties.  Turkey is a friendly nation to China, and is an important country in the Middle East with significant influence on the peace and stability in the region, said the spokesperson.  A failed coup attempt in the country on July 15 was crushed the next day.

Senior Chinese official in Turkey after military coup

Gbtimes Beijing 2016/08/05

China's Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Ming has visited Turkey in a bid to boost bilateral ties following an attempted military coup in the country last month.  He will meet Turkish officials to discuss the recent situation and exchange views on international and regional issues, according to Hua Chunying, spokesperson of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  China hopes the visit will further enhance the two countries’ mutual trust, as well as contribute to a stable and healthy development of relations between the nations, she added.  The coup attempt against the Turkish government on July 15 left more than 300 people dead and more than 2,100 injured.  Turkey’s government has cracked down on those it considers associated with the coup-plotters, arresting thousands of people, sacking or suspending as many as 15,000 state education employees and detaining journalists from independent media outlets.  Fethullah Gulen, the exiled cleric and former Recep Tayyip Erdogan ally who has since been blamed for the coup, suggested to The Guardian that the Turkish president may have staged the coup himself in a bid to consolidate power and persecute enemies.

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying's Remarks on Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Ming Visiting Turkey

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China - 2016/08/05  

Q: It is learned that Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Ming is visiting Turkey. Is there any special consideration behind Chinese senior official’s visit to Turkey soon after its failed coup? What message are we expecting from this visit?  A: Turkey is a friendly country to China and exerts significant influence to Middle East peace and stability as a pivotal country in the region. The world is watching closely how Turkey’s domestic situation has played out recently. During his stay in Turkey, Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Ming will get a picture of the recent situation from the Turkish side and exchange views with them on China-Turkey relations and international and regional issues of common interest. We look forward to further deepening political mutual trust and bolstering the sound and steady development of China-Turkey relations through this visit.

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Ming to visit Turkey


The Chinese Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Zhang Ming is expected to visit Turkey to express his country's support for Turkey following the failed coup attempt, Turkey's Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday. According to the ministry, Zhang Ming will be visiting Turkey from August 3 to 6 to convey the Chinese administration support message to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the government led by Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım. Ming is also expected to hold meetings with his counterparts in the foreign ministry, and will also visit the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources. Military troops loyal to the government, along with police units and millions of Turkish citizens, succeeded on July 15 in quelling a coup attempt, launched by a small military junta linked to the Gülenist Terror Organization (FETÖ). Turkey's government has repeatedly said the deadly coup attempt, which killed more than 230 people and injured nearly 2,200 others, was organized by U.S.-based Fetullah Gülen's followers. Gülen is also accused of running a campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary, forming what is commonly known as the parallel state.

Confucianism and China: Past and Present

Chinese traveler arrived in holy city of Karbala by bicycle after 18 years of journey

AHLULBAYT NEWS AGENCY -  February 12, 2015 

Lee Cheung, a Chinese traveler arrived at the holy city of Karbala on his bicycle after a journey that has reached its 18th year. In a special interview with Lee, he stated that all he carries with him on his journey is his bike, some food and clothes. He began his journey from China back in 1997 and during the 18 years, he visited 145 countries and faced many difficulties. Cheung further stated his admiration of the Iraqi people:
“I found them to be caring and very kind, which further added to my love for this country, I had visited the holy cities of Najaf and Kadhmiyya and today I am visiting Karbala. Back in China, I used to always hear about a man who sacrificed himself for the truth and his name was Imam Hussain.”
Lee Cheung is considered one of the most adventurous travellers globally and will be continuing on with his journey to other countries moving forward.