Coming backfire: China's family separation policy in Xinjiang a recipe for Islamic radicalism

The New York Times has a chilling story about wholesale family separations in China's western Xinjiang province. It begins:

HOTAN, China — The first grader was a good student and beloved by her classmates, but she was inconsolable, and it was no mystery to her teacher why.

“The most heartbreaking thing is that the girl is often slumped over on the table alone and crying,” he wrote on his blog. “When I asked around, I learned that it was because she missed her mother.”

The mother, he noted, had been sent to a detention camp for Muslim ethnic minorities. The girl’s father had passed away, he added. But instead of letting other relatives raise her, the authorities put her in a state-run boarding school — one of hundreds of such facilities that have opened in China’s far western Xinjiang region.

As many as a million ethnic Uighurs, Kazakhs and others have been sent to internment camps and prisons in Xinjiang over the past three years, an indiscriminate clampdown aimed at weakening the population’s devotion to Islam. Even as these mass detentions have provoked global outrage, though, the Chinese government is pressing ahead with a parallel effort targeting the region’s children.

Which is exceptionally horrible stuff to do to a child. We're not talking about temporary detention as happens to lawbreakers at the border. We're not talking about children separated from their parents because their parents are criminals in jail. I was tempted to discuss a lefty double standard from such issues, but I did a good look and it wouldn't be fair - the lefty press and allies really are covering this - Newsweek, the Independent, the Atlantic, Human Rights Watch, the Times...

The only real hypocrite here, and it's a doozy, is the China state-controlled press, which has chided the U.S. for its temporary and no longer existent migrant separations as "unconscionable." Really?

What's going on in China is horrible, a state effort to raise children in lieu of their parents ... in this case to keep them from any exposure to religion.

It's 1984 stuff. It's Brave New World stuff. It's actually classic communist practice, pioneered by the Bolsheviks in the name of creating a New Soviet Man from a ground zero world. Mao and Pol Pot did it, too. The Chicoms are also doing it to kids in Hong Kong, as I wrote here. The idea was to take kids from their families, leave them absolutely no roots to the past, no family values, no religious faith at all, and remold and remodel them to be exclusively loyal to the state. I wrote about this communist practice a few years back for Investor's Business Daily, describing the disastrous socialist ideas behind it:

It takes a village. The Bolsheviks believed communism would eliminate the need for families. The country, after all, would become "one whole family." Hearth and home were viewed as potentially subversive.

Those who just wanted to look out for their own children were "selfish," [top Soviet Commissar Alexandra] Kollontai wrote. Women should see all children as their own with duties shared. This made it easier to force wives and mothers into factories and gave rise to day-care centers, communal meals, even community laundries and clothing repair centers.

The idea was to sever natural ties between mother and child so the state could forge a New Soviet Man.

Sound like what's going on in China? Sounds a lot like what's going on in China.

Now, some Americans are probably saying to themselves 'who cares, the Uighurs are already Muslim, making them communists instead of Islamic terrorists is probably an improvement. Scylla and Charybdis and all that.

But the template doesn't hold. The Uighers in fact have always held to a very gentle, very light-handed strain of Islam. That's their culture, that's what their families are built on. It's true that a few individual Uighurs have gone the Islamic terrorist route, some turning up in Afghanistan, some blowing up restaurants in Beijing, some getting released from Gitmo to Uruguay show their ingratitude. But it's a small minority, and typically they come from screwed-up homes, which can be pretty typical in and socialist society where family values have always been considered secondary to the state. Having worked with Catholic converts, I would argue that from personal experience that for converts, having any religious experience at all, in any religion, is far more grounding than having none.

Now there's a wholesale breaking up of families and family values going on in China's far west.

What happens when families are broken up to the extent that they can't even live with each other and the impersonal state is the only influence? Well, we know what the real family separations percolating for decades throughout Mexico and Central America (and not the temporary border ones that created the hullabaloo) have created - these long term separations gave rise to gang members such as the Mexican cartels and the MS-13. When mom or dad or both of them are away in the states earning money illegally and junior stays home with distant relatives or someone even less interested in his welfare, he eventually goes looking for a substitute family, such as a criminal gang, to get that sense of belonging all human beings long for.

Communism is never going to do that, it never has, it's been tried many times before, and now that word is out that it's a failure, it's even less likely to turn Uighur children into automatons for socialism, try as the communists may to substitute the state for the family.

What's likely to happen in Xinjiang is that the kids will be deracinated, alienated, atomized, demoralized, religion-deprived, lost, and ... looking for a substitute family. That's the perfect seeding ground for Islamic fundamentalism.  China's horrible act against Xinjiang's ethnically Muslim children, depriving them of necessary family life, is very very likely to explode on these Chicoms as these kids grow up without the critical love and support of their parents.  

They aren't going to like the result.

 

The New York Times has a chilling story about wholesale family separations in China's western Xinjiang province. It begins:

HOTAN, China — The first grader was a good student and beloved by her classmates, but she was inconsolable, and it was no mystery to her teacher why.

“The most heartbreaking thing is that the girl is often slumped over on the table alone and crying,” he wrote on his blog. “When I asked around, I learned that it was because she missed her mother.”

The mother, he noted, had been sent to a detention camp for Muslim ethnic minorities. The girl’s father had passed away, he added. But instead of letting other relatives raise her, the authorities put her in a state-run boarding school — one of hundreds of such facilities that have opened in China’s far western Xinjiang region.

As many as a million ethnic Uighurs, Kazakhs and others have been sent to internment camps and prisons in Xinjiang over the past three years, an indiscriminate clampdown aimed at weakening the population’s devotion to Islam. Even as these mass detentions have provoked global outrage, though, the Chinese government is pressing ahead with a parallel effort targeting the region’s children.

Which is exceptionally horrible stuff to do to a child. We're not talking about temporary detention as happens to lawbreakers at the border. We're not talking about children separated from their parents because their parents are criminals in jail. I was tempted to discuss a lefty double standard from such issues, but I did a good look and it wouldn't be fair - the lefty press and allies really are covering this - Newsweek, the Independent, the Atlantic, Human Rights Watch, the Times...

The only real hypocrite here, and it's a doozy, is the China state-controlled press, which has chided the U.S. for its temporary and no longer existent migrant separations as "unconscionable." Really?

What's going on in China is horrible, a state effort to raise children in lieu of their parents ... in this case to keep them from any exposure to religion.

It's 1984 stuff. It's Brave New World stuff. It's actually classic communist practice, pioneered by the Bolsheviks in the name of creating a New Soviet Man from a ground zero world. Mao and Pol Pot did it, too. The Chicoms are also doing it to kids in Hong Kong, as I wrote here. The idea was to take kids from their families, leave them absolutely no roots to the past, no family values, no religious faith at all, and remold and remodel them to be exclusively loyal to the state. I wrote about this communist practice a few years back for Investor's Business Daily, describing the disastrous socialist ideas behind it:

It takes a village. The Bolsheviks believed communism would eliminate the need for families. The country, after all, would become "one whole family." Hearth and home were viewed as potentially subversive.

Those who just wanted to look out for their own children were "selfish," [top Soviet Commissar Alexandra] Kollontai wrote. Women should see all children as their own with duties shared. This made it easier to force wives and mothers into factories and gave rise to day-care centers, communal meals, even community laundries and clothing repair centers.

The idea was to sever natural ties between mother and child so the state could forge a New Soviet Man.

Sound like what's going on in China? Sounds a lot like what's going on in China.

Now, some Americans are probably saying to themselves 'who cares, the Uighurs are already Muslim, making them communists instead of Islamic terrorists is probably an improvement. Scylla and Charybdis and all that.

But the template doesn't hold. The Uighers in fact have always held to a very gentle, very light-handed strain of Islam. That's their culture, that's what their families are built on. It's true that a few individual Uighurs have gone the Islamic terrorist route, some turning up in Afghanistan, some blowing up restaurants in Beijing, some getting released from Gitmo to Uruguay show their ingratitude. But it's a small minority, and typically they come from screwed-up homes, which can be pretty typical in and socialist society where family values have always been considered secondary to the state. Having worked with Catholic converts, I would argue that from personal experience that for converts, having any religious experience at all, in any religion, is far more grounding than having none.

Now there's a wholesale breaking up of families and family values going on in China's far west.

What happens when families are broken up to the extent that they can't even live with each other and the impersonal state is the only influence? Well, we know what the real family separations percolating for decades throughout Mexico and Central America (and not the temporary border ones that created the hullabaloo) have created - these long term separations gave rise to gang members such as the Mexican cartels and the MS-13. When mom or dad or both of them are away in the states earning money illegally and junior stays home with distant relatives or someone even less interested in his welfare, he eventually goes looking for a substitute family, such as a criminal gang, to get that sense of belonging all human beings long for.

Communism is never going to do that, it never has, it's been tried many times before, and now that word is out that it's a failure, it's even less likely to turn Uighur children into automatons for socialism, try as the communists may to substitute the state for the family.

What's likely to happen in Xinjiang is that the kids will be deracinated, alienated, atomized, demoralized, religion-deprived, lost, and ... looking for a substitute family. That's the perfect seeding ground for Islamic fundamentalism.  China's horrible act against Xinjiang's ethnically Muslim children, depriving them of necessary family life, is very very likely to explode on these Chicoms as these kids grow up without the critical love and support of their parents.  

They aren't going to like the result.