The Impact of Extremism in Asia-Pacific Region on social development by gbi12430

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									                         Extremism and its implications for China
                                                 Jia Duqiang



    With the disintegration of Soviet Union and the end of the Gold War, the global security
environment had experienced a number of great changes. As a result of these changes, the
major national security concerns transformed from traditional pursuit of military strength to
non-traditional security issues. And non-traditional security factors such as international
terrorism, national separatism, religious extremism and cult have attracted worldwide
attention because its rampant activities and significant impact on the public order and national
security of international societies, September 11, 2001 terrorist attack certainly shocked the
whole world and illustrated the severity of the threat of extremism.

     In the era of globalization, with accelerated process of China’s opening up and entered
into the world market, China are increasingly linked closely to international society, and
therefore exposed itself to various challenges of non-traditional security issues such as
smuggling, drug-trafficking, transnational crimes and so on. “Non-traditional security
problems essentially have become a strategic consideration of China.” 1 Among the challenges,
that of various extremist forces are particular imminent and threatening, for instance, “East
Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM)” , Taiwan radical separatism and “Falun Gong” cult
were rampant at the turn of the millennium which seriously influenced the social stability and
national security of china. This article will focus on the analysis of the development and
causes of extremism in Asia-Pacific region as well as it’s ramifications on the social and
national security of China, and also try to put forward some strategies for China to deal with
the threat of extremism.

I. Threat of Extremism

1. The notion of extremism
The extremism falls in the category of non-traditional security. Broadly extremism refers to
all organizations or actors that harm the human society and nation-state in various radical
ways such as radical theory, violence and terrorist activities usually and mainly for the sake of
its political agenda. September 11 in a painful way made the international society well aware
of the grave consequences of international terrorist activities. Terrorism, however, is only one
of extremist forms; all kinds of extremism are enemies of peace and development of
contemporary human society.

     Given the situation of China and Asia-pacific region, there are primarily four types of
extremist forces that are currently most active: terrorism, religious extremism, national
separatism and cult. These extremist forces have become a critical variable influencing the
social and political stability, and national security of Asia-Pacific region.

1
  Yan Xuetong, “Analysis and Thinking on the Security Environment of China”, Global Economy and Politics, Vol.
2, 2000.

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     Terrorism is in general a kind of extreme criminal activities that endangers freedom,
property and even people’s lives and stirs up social horror by means of using or threatening
using violence. When terrorism crosses national boundaries it becomes international terrorism.
International terrorism widely suffused at the end of 1960s and then went on for more than 40
years. It arises to its highest point at the turn of the millennium marked by September 11,
2001 Al Qaeda’s attack on the World Trade Center of the US. Terrorism severely jeopardizes
the normal international order, national security and public safety. Asia-Pacific is one of the
regions that facing rampant terrorist threat.

     Religious extremism in broad sense refers to the forces that using religion as an
instrument to facilitate and fulfill its particular radical political goals usually affiliated with
violence and terrorism. In narrow sense, it primarily refers to Islamic fundamentalism 2 or
Islamic extremism which currently is the most active and most powerful and perhaps most
threatening faction of religious extremism. Islamic fundamentalism first commenced and
overflowed in the Middle East, West Asia, North Africa, and it committed great atrocities in
Afghanistan, South Asia and Ferghana Valley, Central Asia, and then extended its antenna to
some Southeast Asian countries. Islamic extremist forces and its activities surged in
Asia-Pacific region since 1990s.

     National separatism appertains to the type of extremist nationalism that seeks secession
of an ethnicity or area it inhabited from a multi-national country via extremist means and
operations. Nationalism in the twenty century often exemplified in two facets: integration and
disintegration. National separatism showed characteristics of the latter. It usually
accompanied with extremism and violence and reached its highest point in the third global
nationalist wave. Generally, there are two concrete forms of national separatism in the twenty
century: one is that the ethnic minority demand for autonomy or independence from a unitary
country; the other is that the ethnic minority that currently was divided into several parts
subjecting to different countries because of various reasons seeks secession and reunion to
build up a new nation-state. Both forms exist in Asia-Pacific region and the first one in
particular. With the end of the Cold War and the beginning of the third global nationalist wave
in the 1990s, national separatism likes erupting of magma beneath the deep stratum of the
earth all a sudden smashed the Soviet Union and disintegrated Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia
and brought out over some 20 new independent sovereign countries. Influenced by this kind
of radical nationalist trend, nationalist separatist forces in Asia-Pacific region became very
active, which posed a significant challenge to the social and political stability of
multi-national countries in the region such as China.

2
  Islamic fundamentalism is a complex notion. In general contemporary religion developed in two directions: one
goes from tradition of classical religion to secularization; contrarily, the other intends to abandon its modern forms
and go back to old religious tradition. The latter is the so-called fundamentalism requiring strict respect of
orthodoxy religious doctrines. Almost every major religion has the faction of fundamentalism. And Islamic
fundamentalism currently is the most influential one in the world. It refuses secularization and has some kind of
anti-West inclination. It calls for a change from contemporary secular order to original Islamic order, in another
words, the overthrow of secular government instead of an Islamic state under Sharia law, and “realize the will of
Allah in the whole world”. The core of Islamic fundamentalism is to reinstate the ruling status of Allah in every
aspect of people’s life and embody “the will of Allah is supreme over all”. The radical faction of the
fundamentalism- Islamic extremism advocates the Jihad or holy war for the fulfillment of its political goal.

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      “Cult is the byproduct of extremist strands in the global New Religion Movement.”
3
 Since the mid-nineteenth Century, there were three religious renaissance movements surged
throughout the world within about 100 years. During the period of these movements, except
for the development of the traditional religion, a great deal of new religion organizations
sprung up. And the followers of the new religion by 1997 reached 148.4 millions that
accounts for 2% of the total population of the world. 4 New religions were often born as the
opposite or innovation to traditional religions, many are to various degrees hostile to tradition,
society and mainstream culture, and some become evil cults who slaughter lives, infringe on
human rights and jeopardize the society. From sociologic point of view, cult is a type of folk
secret organization with some kind of heterodoxy tint; From the view of politics and law, cult
related to extremist religious group opposing established legitimate social system; from
religious point of view, cult subjects to evil religious group departed from the New Religion
Movement, or simply the fake religious organization committing crimes in the name of
religion. At the end of twenty century, cult has become one of very rampant extremist forces
worldwide in both developed and developing countries. It defies the value and dignity of
human being and conducts activities contrary to laws, which not only infringes on the
physical and mental healthiness of the believers but also seriously disturbing the social order
and threatening public security. How to deal with cult has become a critical issue to
international society, Karl Semen who works with the US congress and specializes on
terrorism studies pointed out that ‘the greatest danger facing the world is not coming from the
professional terrorist but from some evil fanatical religious groups. 5

     Though subjected to different concepts, four types of extremist forces mentioned above
do have some similarities, and that are extremist political goal and violence. And all constitute
the serious threat to international society and become evil forces in the twenty first century.

      Above all, it is important to note that extremist forces in practice rarely acted alone but
often mixed and linked one another in their activities. And the increased integration or
cooperation between various extremist organizations is a new trend in the development of
contemporary extremism. For instance, national separatism and religious extremism are often
associated each other in their operations and both increasingly intend to use violence and
terrorist tactics for particular political gains; terrorist specter often combined with the body of
various extremist forces, which resulted in a variety of variants of terrorism such as religious
terrorism, national separatist terrorism and cult terrorism. And many extremist organizations
are multi-layered and multi-headed monsters which are the combination of terrorism,
religious extremism, etc., for example, Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda organization has the

3
  See Xi Wuyi, “the nature and social root causes of contemporary cult in China”, in Compiling Committee for
Social Issue Series Book (ed.), on Cult: Collected Essays of the First International Forum on Cult issue (Nanning:
Guangxi People’s Press, 2001). As to the notion of cult, there is no such thing as common understanding about it.
Some researchers argue that cult is the extremist faction departed from New Religion Movement but still
considered it as religion; some think that, given its serious threat to the normal social order and grave
consequences of its unlawful activities, cult are not religion at all but criminal organizations with strong political
ambition and antagonism to modern human society.
4
  “Bulletin of International Missionary Studies”, quoted from Luo Weihong, “Perspectives on Global Cult in the
Twenty First Century,” Chinese Religion, Vol. 2, 1999.
5
  Dong Naiqian, “Preliminary Understanding on Characteristics of Cult,” Studies in Contemporary Religion, Vol.1
(1999).

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features of both international terrorism and Islamic extremism, and also, “Eastern Turkistan
Islamic Movement’ is a national separatist organization combined with Islamic extremism and
international terrorism.

2. The danger and extremism
In contemporary world extremist forces have become an enemy of whole international society.
In spite of various extremist forces differ in terms of their specific political goals and
operations they are the same in perpetrating countless crimes. They instigate and output
tensions and conflicts between different religions and nationalities, and undermine the normal
body of the human society by destabilizing social stability and even lead to severe violence
and armed conflicts. Among the intense conflicts occurred worldwide in recent years, one
caused by ethnic and religious reasons count for 50%. 6 Among 23 wars fought in 1994, of 18
caused by ethnic cleavages and confrontation which left 27 million people homeless
accounted for about two thirds of total population of refugees in that year. 7 Among 51 wars
occurred on 2001, of 20 are as a result of national separatism and national autonomous
movement. As to cult events occurred in many countries it’s too numerous to count.

     Asia-Pacific region is one of the areas where extremist forces are very rampant. During
the ruling period of Taliban Islamic fundamentalists, Afghanistan in South Asia has been
regarded as the paradise of all types of extremist forces who were under the auspices of
Taliban regime. And many of its neighbors such as China, Russia as well as Central Asian
countries were frequently attacked and disturbed by the terrorist activities of Islamic
extremists. In India-controlled Kashmir area the violent rebellion of Islamic extremist forces
against the government escalated the territorial disputes between India and Pakistan and
increased the hostility between the two countries and almost led to a war at the turn of the
millennium. Tamil Tiger organization in Sri Lanka since 1980s has been fighting the
government for secession for decads and it usually took blood-shed terrorist operations, which
made the country mired long in turmoil and war. In Muslim-populated Central Asia, the
penetration of Islamic extremist forces as well as its violent activities in the region, Ferghana
Valley in particular caused catastrophic consequences, “among factors influencing the
security of Central Asia, Islamic Renaissance Movement as well as its byproduct - Islamic
extremism are one of the most important one, which caused extensive security problems in
Central Asia.” 8 Extremist forces also extended to Southeast Asian countries, Islamic
extremism is rising in Indonesia and the Philippines, which intensified religious conflicts and
separatist movements in these countries.

     Numerous facts pointed to that the extremist forces in Asia-Pacific region have become a
serious threat to the peace and development of all countries in the region including China.
Religious extremism, separatism and terrorism have caused related countries colossal loses.
The war in Tajikistan instigated by Islamic extremists during 1992-1997 left 60,000 deaths,
6
  Ding Shichuan and Ge Hanwen, “Perspectives on the Nationalist Separatism Movement in Post-Cold War Era,”
Studies in Contemporary International Relations, Vol. 11, 2000.
7
  Jonthan Friedman, “Transnationalization, Socio-political Disorder and Ethnification as Expressions of Declining
Global Hegemony”, International Political Science Review, No. 19, 1998, pp. 233-250.
8
  Cui Jianshu, “the Cause of Islam Renaissance Movement and its Implications on the Security of Central Asia,”
Forum on Global Economy and Politics, Vol. 2, 2002.

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800,000 refugees, $860 million foreign debt and the total economic loss amounts to $10
billion. 9 In Ferghana Valley, terrorist organization-Uzbekistan Islamic Movement often
perpetrated abduction, assassination and armed attack, which caused the huge losses of lives
and properties of neighboring countries. The threat of Cult also worried the region. Aum
Shinrikyo cult in Japan released sarin poison gas in the Tokyo Subway System that led to 11
people dead and thousands injured. The cult in South Korea are also developed dramatically
and caused tragic incidents. Cult believers gave up study and quitted their jobs and abandon
family and attacked government agencies in order to welcome the end of the world. As some
researcher pointed out, “The cult issue in South Korea have gone beyond ‘personal and
family’ boundary and become a big social and national issue”. 10 “Falun Gong” cult in China
has stirred up extensive social turmoil, and its negative impact can still be felt to this day. By
July 1999 government banned the organization, the death toll caused by practicing “Falun
Gong” numbered 1559 people and the injured are countless; the followers of “Falun Gong”
was organized to besiege various government departments for more than 300 times. Li
Hongzhi, The Mastermind of Falun Gong later escaped to the US and continues calling for his
followers in China and abroad to calumniate and overthrow the government.

II. Extremist forces in Asia-Pacific region
From a geographic point of view, the extremist forces in Asia-Pacific region are very active
primarily in such sub-regions as South Asia, Central Asia and Southeast Asia involved and
affected many countries.

1. Central Asia
Central Asia geographically situated in a critical strategic crossroads and has been a political
and military arena for great powers in history and a converging point for multi-civilizations.
And because of this, the ethnic composition in Central Asian countries are very complex;
multi-nationality and multi-religions are a common phenomenon in all countries. 11 Related
to its 1300 year-old developing history Islam is the most influential and powerful religion in
Central Asia and attracted 38.5 million followers that account for 70% of the total
population. 12 Except for Russian, five of the six biggest native ethnic groups in Central Asia,
namely, Uzbek, Kazak, Kyrgyz, Turk and Tajik, all believe in Islam. Following the gaining of
independence and the global revival of Islam as well as the rising of nationalism, Islam in
Central Asia in the 1990s dramatically refreshed its strength and influence. Muslim in the
region rose to 90% of its total population, and mosques and chapels in Uzbekistan alone
increased from 760 in 1989 to 7800 in 1994, and 3380 religious schools have opened or
newly established. Going along with the Islamic renaissance waves, Islamic fundamentalism
also penetrated into Central Asia in this period and quickly expanded its influence in the


9
  Wang Pei, the Situation of Five Countries in Central Asia (Xinjiang People’s Press, 1997), p. 93.
10
   Liang Fulie, “thePreliminary Analysis of Cult Issue in South Korea,” in Compiling Committee for Social Issue
Series Book (ed.), on Cult: Collected Essays of the First International Forum on Cult issue, p.249.
11
   Five countries in Central Asia are: Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan. The
five are all multi-national and multi-religious countries. There are 131 ethnic groups in Kazakhstan, 129 in
Uzbekistan, 86 in Tajikistan, about 80 in Kyrgyzstan. Most of the population in Central Asia believe in Islam,
however there are still other multiple religions exists such as Christianity, Jew, Buddhism, etc.
12
   Yu Jianhua, “Analysis of Nationalistic Issues in Central Asia and Its Ramifications,” Studies in Russia and
Eastern Europe, Vol. 1, 2002.

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region, “the combination of fundamentalist tide of Middle East Islam and native Sufism
constitutes the new feature of Islam in Central Asia”. 13

     Islamic extremism overspread to almost every Central Asian countries, Ferghana Valley
in particular. Ferghana Valley is a triangle area divided between Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and
Tajikistan. The unique geographic terrain and complicated societal settings of the area
provide extremists a desirable soil for organizational development or hiding and escaping
from the possible strike from governments of surrounding countries. And because of this
reason, various extremist forces from South Asia, Chechnya as well as Southeast Asia
entrenched in the area and undertook a series of violent and terrorist operations such as
hijacking, drug-trafficking, smuggling and plotted attacking on government agencies. For the
time being main extremist organizations remain active in Ferghana Valley and Central Asian
countries are as following:

     (1) Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU)
     IMU is a terrorist organization that is made up of Islamic militants from Uzbekistan and
other Central Asian countries. It advocates the violent overthrow of the government in order
to establish an Islamic state in Uzbekistan. it is closely affiliated with Al-Qaeda and, under
the leadership of Tohir Abdoulhalilovitch Yoldashev, has embraced Usama Bin Ladi’s
anti-US, anti-Western agenda.

     IMU was born in December 1991, when young Muslims seized the local Communist
Party headquarters in the eastern city of Namangan, the central area of Ferghana Valley.
Uzbekistani government banned the organization in 1992 and arrested 27 of its members. And
many leaders of IMU including Yuldeshev managed to escape to Tajikistan and took a part in
the country’ 1992-97 civil war; and later Yuldeshev moved to Afghanistan, where he
established a network of contacts and toured Muslim countries such as Pakistan, Saudi Arabia,
Iran and Turkey to raise funds and mobilize support.

      It is believed that during this period Yuldeshev established a working relationship with
the main patron of Taliban and Al-Qaida. He lived in Peshawar between 1995 and 1998.
While in Pakistan, he set up underground cells of Adolat throughout Central Asia. These cells
later played a crucial role in a series of armed incursions into Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and
Tajikistan in 1999, 2000 and 2001. He returned to Kabul, Afghanistan in 1998 and formally
announced the formation of the IMU from Kabul where IMU move the main base from
Tajikistan as the ceasefire in Tajikistan made it a less reliable base of operations. 14 The move
to Afghanistan was the culmination of a long shift towards the brand of ‘salafism' that lies at
the heart of Bin Ladin's version of Wahhabism and the Taliban's version of ‘Deobandism'.




13
   Center for National and religious studies, Institute of Contemporary International Relations of China,
Perspectives on Ethnic Groups and Religions in the periphery of China (Beijing: Current Affairs Press, 2002),
p.73.
14
    Yuldeshev is also said to have had a residence in Qandahar, where Mullah Muhammad Omar and Osama bin
Laden also lived.

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     After the September 11, the US troops invaded Afghanistan and IMU fought alongside
the Taliban in Afghanistan against the invasion. In June 2001 the IMU changed its name to
the Islamic Party of Turkistan, indicating a desire to move from the goal of establishing an
Islamic state in Uzbekistan to that of an Islamic state comprising all Central Asia and Eastern
Turkistan (the Chinese province of Xinjiang).

      The Uzbek authorities held the IMU responsible for a series of car-bombs in February
1999 in Tashkent, in a plot allegedly designed to assassinate president Karimov that killed 16
people. The authorities named Yuldeshev and Khojaiev as two of the conspirators behind the
plot; in November 2000 both were sentenced to death in absentia. The IMU has also carried
out a series of kidnaps, including that of four Japanese geologists and eight Cargoes soldiers
in August 1999, and of four Americans who were mountain-climbing in Uzbekistan in August
2000. The IMU in recent years has participated in attacks on US and Coalition soldiers in
Afghanistan and plotted attacks on US diplomatic facilities in Central Asia. However, because
it refuses to assimilate the Islamic tradition of Uzbekistan into its radical thought and
therefore seems difficult to get support from Islamic constituency outside of Ferghana Valley.

 (2) The Islamic Liberation Party (Hizb-ut-Tahrir)
      Hizb-ut-Tahrir is an Islamic extremist organization which established in 1953 under the
leadership of a Palestinian activist named Taqiuddin an-Nabhani Filastyni (1909-1979)
aiming at to unite all Muslims worldwide to restore an Islamic caliphate.

      Before 1970s, the party operated underground in a peaceful manner and focused on
religious and political propaganda; Since 1970s, it gradually transformed to extremism and
called for Muslim engaging in a holy war with the heretic in order to bring about the change
of secular government into caliphate. Until the end of the 1980s, the party was active mainly
in the Middle East, but after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 it spread rapidly
throughout Central Asia and Azerbaijan, where it had long had a small underground presence.
Its core members are in Uzbekistan, where the party emerged as early as in 1995 and it was
estimated its current size in Uzbekistan alone at 80,000 members. Because Hizb-ut-Tahrir
rejects the legitimacy of secular governments and adopted an ideology of Islamic extremism,
the governments of Central Asian countries view the party as a major threat and took
heavy-handed measures against its activities.

      The party kept a close relationship with IMU. However, unlike IMU and other armed
Islamic groups, it relies on nonviolent tactics to promote its agenda. Activists distribute
leaflets and books that often contain scatting criticisms of governments. They also rely on
underground meetings rather than public speeches. The party organized and operated in the
way of extremely secretive cell-systems with every cell of five members, outside of which
members do not know each other. These techniques made Hizb-ut-Tahrir operatives very hard
to find. In recent years, the government of Uzbekistan strengthened the supervision and strike
against the party and the law enforcement arrested more than 500 members of the party.
Those Hizb-ut-Tahrir activists who have been caught have received stiff prison sentences. In
facing the strike of governments, many of Hizb-ut-Tahrir members still kept underground


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activities and some sought sanctuary in Afghanistan during the period of the Taliban's rule.
Currently the party keeps a headquarters in Western Europe and manages relatively small
operations in the Middle East and Central Asia.

 (3)Islamic Renaissance Party (IRP)
      IRP is an Islamic extremist organization with the color of terror. It was first born from an
underground Islamic youth movement led by Said Abdullo Nuri in the soviet era in the 1980s.
In October 1990 its leaders participated in the inaugural conference of the All-USSR Islamic
Renaissance Party, Which created a pan-Soviet IRP. Although illegal at first, the IRP
developed rapidly after independence of Central Asian countries especially in Tajikistan
(Ferghana Valley in particular). In September 1991, the Islamic Renaissance Party of
Tajikistan (IRPT) formed and formally registered despite facing resistance from the
government. 15 IRPT declared its main aim to be the creation of an Islamic state in Tajikistan
It advocates that all Muslim should follow the original doctrine of Sharia law and oppose any
non-Islamic ideology, western lifestyle and ideology in particular. In October 1991, M.
Khimmat-Zoda was elected leader at the party's first congress. Party members engaged in
propagating Islam which previously occurred illegally, and became active in politics.

     The IRPT became a leading force in the intra-Tajik conflict. Party members participated
actively in anti-government demonstrations in 1991 and 1992. In May 1992, military
formations of the IRPT were engaged in clashes with government and pro-government troops
and IRP mobilized 20000 Islamic militias to overthrow the Tajikistan government. The
militias has taken over the capital city Dushanbe and occupied the presidential Palace. Later
Russia-led troops of Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) intervened and kicked the
militias out of Dushanbe into remote mountainous areas.

     In June 21 1993 Tajikistan government officially banned IRPT. After that IRPT united
other anti-government organizations in Afghanistan and formed the Movement for Islamic
Revival in Tajikistan (MIRT). It functioned in isolated inaccessible mountainous regions
bordering Afghanistan. MIRT constantly carried out armed operations against the government.
In July 13, 1993 the armed forces of MIRT attacked a post of the Russian army caused 25
Russian soldier dead. The IRP was re-legalized only in 1999 two years after the Tehran
agreement that ended the country's long-running civil war.

2. South Asia
    National separatism and religious extremism closely related each other in South Asia.
Primarily there are four countries affected by the activities of extremist forces including
Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Indian and Pakistan.

     Afghanistan has functioned as a stronghold for religious extremism, international
terrorism and national separatism for a long time. The country is strategically of significance
because it geographically joins the Central Asia, Western Asia and South Asia. Over 99% of

15
   Zhang Laiyi, “the Islamic Renaissance Party in Tajikistan”, Studies in Central Asia and Eastern Europe, Vol. 4,
1999.

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its population believes in Islam, of which 89% are Sunni Muslim, and 10% the Shiite, and
believers of other religion is only no more than 1%. There are 15,000 mosques and 250,000
clerks in Afghanistan and Islam religion for sure plays a pivotal role in political, economic,
Social and cultural life of the country. In 1996 Taliban took over the Kabul and arise in
Afghanistan. In accordance with the ideology of the conservative faction of Islamic
fundamentalism, Taliban Islamic movement to some degree is the outcome of global Islamic
renaissance movement and civil war of Afghanistan. Its goal is to establish a pure Islamic
state. The Taliban regime sheltered and supported various extremist forces including
notorious Osama Bin Laden's Al Qaeda organization and has been one of the biggest unstable
factors and trouble-makers to neighboring countries in the region. After September 11 and the
military strike of the US, Taliban regime collapsed although many of its cooperatives is still at
large. Afghanistan has entered a new recovery period, but the eradiation of the residue of
Taliban still need some time and more efforts.

     Sri Lanka for a long time has been obsessed by secession problem of ethnic Tamils,
especially the armed rebellion of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). The LTTE,
also known as the Tamil Tigers, is a separatist terrorist organization that seeks to establish an
independent “Eelam State” in Tamil-inhabited area in Sri Lanka. It often used guerrilla and
terror tactics in armed operations against government and carried out more than 200 suicide
bombings. The confrontation between Tamil Tiger and official army of the government turned
out to be a bloody two-decade-old civil war that has claimed more than 60,000 lives and
displaced hundreds of thousands of Sri Lankan. 16

     Tamils initiated national autonomous movement Since 1970s as a result of intensification
of the national disagreements between Tamils and Sinhalese. In 1992 the three biggest Tamil
parties incorporated into one body called the United Front of Tamil; in the same year, Tamil
Tiger organization established, and it later changed its name to The Liberation Tigers of Tamil
Eelam (LTTE) in 1975. The Tamil Tiger constantly conducted terrorist activities such as
assassination, kidnapping, bombing. The LTTE is a highly structured organization with an
active political wing and a military structure. The Most renowned of the military units is the
Black Tiger Squad, which is notorious for its ruthless suicide attacks. All members of the
Black Tigers are required to carry a cyanide capsule to escape government capture. In 1999
the Tamil Tiger claimed that it assassinated 147 wanted high-profiled officials or politicians.
Since 1980s the armed forces of the government of Sri Lanka has been battling the Tamil
Tiger for years and currently although a cease fire arrangement has been put in place but the
essentially the cession issue of Tamils has not been resolved.

     India, the great power in South Asia, was also confronted with the grave situation of
separatism and religious conflict. India have about 1 billion of population, more than 100
nationalities, 400 tribal groups; 82% of the population believes in Hinduism, and 12% of that
believe in Islam, and followers of two biggest religions count for 94% of its total
population. 17 The intense conflict between the believer of Islam and Hinduism erupted from

16
     The U.S. State Department lists the LTTE as a foreign terrorist organization.
17
     The data comes from Indian census in 1991. See India 2000: a Reference Annul (New Delhi: Public Division,

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time to time. Separatist activities in India mainly existed in three areas: Kashmir, Punjab and
the tribal area in Northeastern part of India. Kashmir is in particular a hot point. Since 1980s,
with the thriving of Islamic fundamentalism in the world, the Islamic extremism in Kashmir
also gained momentum; after entering the 1990s, the separatist forces start to instigate and
organize rebellion against local government, which led the situation in Kashmir almost lost of
control. Later the Indian government sent troops into the area to quench the rebels and met
stronger resistance. At present, there are no less than 10 separatist organizations operated in
Kashmir area which can be roughly divided into two categories: one is represented by Jammu
Kashmir Liberation Front who seeks complete sovereignty and independence, the other
represented by Islam Promoting Association advocating the mergence of the area with
Pakistan.

     In Punjab since 1973, Sikh separatists and their Diasporas counterparts in the British
Commonwealth and North America have campaigned to secede from the Indian Federation to
form an independent Khalistan - a "pure place" for Sikhs. Sikh separatists often used the
mosques of Sikhism as a base to conduct terrorist activities such as assassination, robbery and
bombing. The Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi squelched Sikh extremist separatists and later he
was assassinated by his Sikh guard in retaliation. After La. Gandhi took the power he reached
an agreement with the moderate faction of the Sikh nationalist party, Akhali Dal of Punjab,
but the agreement in fact has never been really implemented. Beginning from 1987 the Indian
government put the Punjab state under the direct leadership of the prime minister for 5 years
and as a result the sentiment among the Sikhs become more stronger and both moderate and
extremist faction of Sikh called for the establishment of a ‘Khalistan State’, and the terrorist
activities of Sikh extremists in this period increased dramatically and even extended its arena
to new Delhi. In 1992 Punjab reestablished the state government following the legislature
election of the state. Because of the concession of the Indian central government, the intense
situation in Punjab has to some degree alleviated. However, the demanding for national
autonomous rule by Sikh is still very strong and separatist activities in Punjab is far from
being wiped out.

      Separatist activities also existed in the tribal-inhabited area in Northeastern part of India.
The tribes there asked for a highly autonomous rule or independence and they struggled for
years via various means including armed rebellion against the central government. The
religious extremism issue in India is very complicated not only involving the Islamic
extremism but also related to Hindu extremism. The wrangle and conflict between Islam and
Hinduism in Indian has a long history. Islamic believers principally live in Northern state,
Western Bengal and Andhra Pradesh state. Among the Islamic believers, of 80% are Sunnis
and the rest Shiite. In past decades 1992 and 2002 in particular, intensive conflicts occurred
between the two religions caused more than 2000 people dead. The conflicts significantly
affected the sociopolitical stability of India as well as the relationship between India and its
neighboring countries. For example, the religious conflict in 1992 caused strong responses
from Pakistan and Bengal, Indian embassy as well as religious minorities in the two countries
have been attacked.

Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, 2001), p.18.

                                                                                                 10
     Pakistan is the second largest Muslim country in the world and considered Islam as the
holy religion of the nation. Islamic fundamentalism has a strong presence and significant
influence in Pakistan. In facing with the serious threats from Islamic extremism Pakistan
government began to take action against the extremist forces as early as Sharif government. In
the wake of September 11, 2001 President Pervez Musharraf stand still in fighting Islamic
militants and pressing down on terrorist groups. In January12, 2002 following the incident of
attacking India congress by Islamic militants, Pakistan government banned several Islamic
extremist organizations such as Justice Army (LET), Muhammad Army (JEM), Saint
Follower Army (SSP), and Movement for the Implementation of Mohammad's Law (TNSM).
These banned organizations have long been conducting terrorist activities in Kashmir Area. 18

3. Southeast Asia
Influenced by the Islamic extremism in the Middle East and Central Asia, the Islamic
extremists and terrorists become increasingly active in Southeast Asia. Southeast Asia can be
roughly divided into two sections: land part and maritime part; the extremist forces are
primarily operated in maritime part of Southeast Asia primarily involving Indonesia and the
Philippines.

     Indonesia has long been threatened by national separatism and Islamic extremism.
Muslim in Indonesia is generally moderate, and “current Islamic fundamentalist Movement
has not presented in Southeast Asia region, or in another words, developed in a very low level
and scope. 19 However, the extremism and terrorist activities do increasingly ferocious in
Indonesia and this is particularly the case in a series of terrorist bombing incidents carried out
by Islamic extremists such as Bali bombingin 2002. Islamic extremist forces in Indonesia
mainly consist of some Islamic fundamentalists and members of some small Islamic parties;
although small in number extremist groups are usually strictly organized and relatively
powerful. They often take advantage of religious and ethnic disagreements or feuds to stretch
their arms and recruit followers by advocating so-called ‘holy war’ against the heretic.
Separatist movements threaten the integration of Indonesia in such areas as Aceh and Papua
and the on-going bloody inter-religious conflicts also afflicted Moluccas, Sulawesi and
Kalimantan areas.

     The Philippines were also facing the challenge of national separatism. ‘Moro National
Liberation Front (MNLF) established in 1969 and defiantly began the armed confrontation
with the government. Since then the war between the two sides went on for decades. The
MNLF issued “the declaration for establishment of Moro National Republic” 20 and sought to
set up an independent country including 13 Muslim-Populated provinces in Southern
Philippines. In order to maintain a unitary state and deter the Islamic separatists, the
Philippine government in 1976 agreed to establish an autonomous region in the southern
Philippines but the process of implementing the agreement was proved to be very difficult.

18
   “Extremist Forces Are Continuingly Making Troubles in South Asia,” Global Times, 25 January 2001.
19
   Lu Guangsheng, “Islam in Southeast Asia: Situation and Characteristics,” Southeast Asian Studies, Vol. 3, 2001.
20
   Jiang Binlun, Studies on Moro Resistance Movement in Southern Philippines (Taibei: Law School of Taiwan
Chinese Cultural University, 1999), p.167.

                                                                                                                11
During this process, the MNLF internally split into several organizations including Moro
Islamic Liberation Front and Moro National Liberation Front as well as Abu Sayaf Group
(ASG), a notorious terrorist organization, whose stated goal is to unite Muslim in the
Philippines and fight for an independent Muslim state. The ASG has committed a series of
terrorist activities including bombing, extortion, murder, and kidnapping.

4. Cult extremism
Cult activities have become a worrisome issue, a significant variable affecting the normal
social order and political stability of Asia-Pacific region, especially countries in Northeast
Asia such as Japan, China, South Korea and Russia.

     Cults are very active in Japan and South Korea. According to statistics from the Cultural
Bureau of Japan, there are 180,000 religious organizations by 1994, and among them 16,000
are new religious organizations and some cults in nature, for example, Ahoko Asahara’s
“Aum Shinrikyo.” According to Christian Association of South Korea, there are 405 cults and
heterodoxy organizations in South Korea and the most influential ones among them includes
“All People’s Holiness Church”, “Eternal Life Church”, and “Baby Hill” and “Dami
Evangilical Church” etc. 21 In China cult is a serious issue, too. Since 1980s there is a great
number of cult organizations appeared in China such as Huhan Pai, Entitled King, Unique
God, All Included Church, New Testament Church, Unification Church, Son of God, Disciple
Association, Lingling Church, etc. Falun Gong is in particular a dangerous and powerful cult
which had a profound impact on China’s society. According to statistics from the Ministry of
Public Security of China, the total number of the cult organizations in China increased
10%-30% every year since 1980s and cult activities overspread to almost every province
except for Tibet, and 15 cult organizations have been publicly banned up to now. 22

     The cult forces and its activities in Asia-Pacific region currently are not only an internal
matter of those involved countries but also a regional problem because the
internationalization has becomes an explicit trend in the development of cult. For instance,
there are more than 70 foreign cult organizations operated in Russia like Japan’s ‘Aum
Shinrikyo’, “World Doomsday’, “Saint Center’, which constitutes a serious challenge to the
social stability of Russia. ‘Aum Shinrikyo’ in Russia once recruited 3, 5000 followers and set
up 7 branches. Some cult organizations from Japan and South Korea as well as Western
countries also have penetrated into China, for example, ‘Dami Evangilical Church’ of South
Korea in 1992 organized a so-called ‘coming to heaven together’ activity in rural areas of
Northeast part of China involved 15 districts and cities, 36 towns, 1200 frantic followers, and
the turmoil caused by the activity last for more than 10 months.

III. The causes of extremist forces
 The causes for the emergence and growth of extremist forces are very complex and involve
21
   Liang Fulie, “the Preliminary Analysis on Cult Issue of South Korea”, in Compiling Committee for Social Issue
Series Book (ed.), on Cult: Collected Essays of the First International Forum on Cult Issue, p.249.
22
   15 Banned cult organizations include “Huhan Pai”, “Entitled King”, “Unique God”, “All Included Church”,
“New Testament Church”, “Unification Church”, “Children of God”, “Disciple Association”, Lingling Church,
“Falun Gong”, etc. See “Fighting the Cult in Asian and African Countries,” in Compiling Committee for Social
Issue Series Book (ed.), on Cult: Collected Essays of the First International Forum on Cult Issue, p.313.

                                                                                                             12
 many factors. In general, the causes list as following:

     (1) Global radical or extremist thoughts are the ideological roots of extremism in
Asia-Pacific region. Islamic fundamentalism, radical national separatism, pan-Islam and
Pan-Turkistanism had a considerable impact on the Asia-Pacific region. Clearly, Islamic
extremists are more theoretically equipped than past following the wave of global Islamic
renaissance movement and flourished Islamic fundamentalism. They rise against the secular
power though violent terrorist actions in order to bring about desired Islamic regime under
Sharia Law. The Pan-Islam and Pan-Turkistanism are the theoretical origin for Islamic
extremist forces in Central Asia, and ‘Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement’ who attempt to
secede Xinjiang from China is typical in this case. Also, the third wave of global national
movement to some degree provoked the enthusiasm of national separatism worldwide
including Asia-Pacific region.

     (2) Inter-religious and inter-ethnic strife or feud is the hotbed for the breeding of
extremism because it made extremist forces easy to grow and survive. Where extremist forces
are very active are most likely the areas where ethnic and religious contradiction deeply
rooted like Kashmir in India, Aech in Indonesia, Tamil area in Sri Lanka, and extremist forces
often take advantage of the situation to stir up religious frantic and intense inter-ethnic
conflicts.

      (3) Economic backward and poverty are the catalysts for national separatism and
religious extremism. ‘Poverty and inequality likely lead people to embrace Islamic extremism
in seeking psychological balance and comfort’. 23 It is not hard to see that national separatist
blame the majority of nationality for the economic poverty of minority ethnicity to allure the
poor join the separatists and rebellion against the government. For example, many poor
people joined Islamic rebels in Southern Philippines just because they oppose the
government’s unpopular policies and not satisfied with the very bad living conditions they
currently have. In Central Asia, the magnetism of Islam is growing, particularly among
younger men, because poverty and political alienation is deepening.

      (4) The rampant of extremist forces to some extent has close relation to do with the
negative aspects of the process of current modernization and globalization. As the world
approached the end of twenty century and a new century was unfolding, the radical
development of modernization brought about the higher material and spiritual civilization for
human society than any times ever in history, but in the same time accordingly the perplexity,
global problems and challenges are almost as much as the accomplishments. Global
challenges such as ecological crisis, the weapon of mass destruction, big natural disasters
come out one after another; moral and spiritual lose puzzled mankind; the gap between the
rich North and poor South expanded further; and collisions and conflicts between different
civilizations loomed ahead and shadowed the global peace and prosperity. With the
proceeding of modernization and globalization and great changes, undoubtedly, the current

23
  Andrew Tan, “Armed Muslim Separatist Rebellion in Southeast Asia: Persistence, Prospects, and Implications,”
Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, No. 23, 2000, p.272.

                                                                                                            13
world is facing the deepest challenges in human history. In a sense, the emergence and
dramatic development of various types of extremist forces such as Islamic terrorism and cult
is the sort of radical response to the malady of modernization and globalization in
cotemporary world.

     (5) Power politics and hegemony is an international factor motivated extremist forces.
The West, the US in particular, in order to maintain the established superiority and hegemony
in the world, are more and more prone to unilateralism in international affairs and used to
forcefully imposition of its political values and culture on other countries that have a very
different value system. And this is well demonstrated by the disequilibrium of the Middle East
policy as coming to the resolving of the ongoing territorial disputes between Israel and the
Palestine, and by the double standards in anti-terrorism struggle, which caused widespread
resentment against the West among Islamic world. This is why Islamic extremism first
originated from the Middle East and Northern Africa and why it marked with anti-West and
anti-US colors.

IV. The implications of extremist forces on China
In past decades non-traditional security factors, extremist forces in particular, increasingly
played a critical role in China’ s pursuing for national security. In a foreseeable future, it will
continue have direct influences on the security of China. In general, the implication of
extremism forces to China’s security manifested mainly in three aspects:

1. The extremist forces and China’s stability
The penetration of foreign extremist forces into China as well as its activities associated with
the domestic extremist forces constitute a real threat to the political and social stability of
China, especially that of posed by national separatism and Cult activities.

      Since 1990s, Islamic terrorism, national separatism and international terrorism in Central
Asia and South Asia have apparently increased their efforts to enter into China, and
meanwhile domestic extremists in Xinjiang and Tibet also have aggressively tried to reach
their foreign counterparts. Separatist organizations are very active in Xinjiang and carried out
a series of separatist activities and terrorist attacks. The late Chinese top leader Deng
Xiaoping visited Xinjiang as national separatist forces seemed rampant in the region in the
early 1980s, and he then pointed out: “the stability of Xinjiang is the highest priority, and the
region must keep stabilized because nothing could be achieved without the stability.” 24
Ex-President Jian Zeming visited Xinjiang twice (in 1990 and 1998) as national separatism
there seemed rising again in the 1990s, and he noted, “looking at the current situation from a
national point of view the highest priority is to oppose Taiwan’s secession from the
motherland; and in Xinjiang the first priority is to oppose national separatism.… the collusion
and conspiracy of domestic and foreign separatist forces aimed at splitting the region from the
motherland has become a major threat.” 25 The Central Committee of Chinese Communist

24
   “Speech of Deng Xiaoping as visiting Xinjiang (in August 16, 1981),” see Annals of Deng Xiaoping’s Thought
(1975-1997) (Beijing: Central Literature Press, 1998), p.199.
25
   Speeches of the Chinese Communist Party’s Top Leaders on the National Issue (Beijing: National Press, 1994),
p.240.

                                                                                                            14
Party issued a specific document in 1996 titled “the important instruction on maintaining the
stability of Xinjiang” and it clearly stated: “we must be conscious of that the primary threat to
the stability of Xinjiang comes from national separatism and illegal religious activities.” Also,
in the 1990s inspired by Dalai Lama’s separatist speeches, there were several separatist riots
occurred in Tibet. The Cult activities, Falung Gong in particular, also posed a significant
challenge to social stability of China.

      The task ahead facing China of dealing with national separatism and maintaining the
social and political stability in the frontier regions is tremendous. After the September 11
international society stands up firm against terrorism and extremism and the biggest separatist
organization in Xinjiang-Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement has been declared a terrorist
organization by the United Nations. And Chinese government has taken more severe
measures cracking down the separatists and as a result separatist movements in Xinjiang and
Tibet have been somewhat deterred. But the problem both in Xinjiang and Tibet are perennial
and very complicated. And it is always necessary to take precautions and keep an eye on the
situation there in order to prevent big turbulences from happening. The most difficult task is
how to handle the Taiwan pro-independence forces. The development from Li Denghui’s
“two-country theory” to Chen Shuibian’s pursuit for “gradual independence of Taiwan” sine
1990s has demonstrated that the danger of the radical separatism in Taiwan is looming ahead.
How to deter Taiwan and prevent it taking risky steps to secede from China is for sure the
biggest challenge to China’s reunification; and China needs more political wisdoms and witty
strategy in this regard. China must take appropriate and prompt measures in responding to
Taiwan radical separatists. And it would Otherwise trigger a political and military earthquake
and profoundly affect the whole process of China’ modernizing development if Taiwan at
some point rushed to substantive independent steps which inevitably entails a cross-strait war.
Cult activities also cannot be ignored and lessons drew from “Falun Gong” should be taken
seriously. How to establish a set of preventive and comprehensive approaches and mechanism
is a key to fight Cult threat in China.

2. Extremist forces and china’ unification
There is a close linkage between fighting extremist forces and maintaining the sovereign and
territorial integrity of China. And the biggest challenge comes from radical separatism in
Taiwan, Xinjiang and Tibet. 26

     Some Western media reports once described Tibet as “China’s Kosovo’ and argued that
Tibet problem is the “soft rib” of China in Twenty first century, a wound constantly
bleeding. 27 Dalai Lama has been engaged in separatist activities oversees and never gave up
his attempt and plan to secede Tibet from the China. He went into exile in 1959 following a
failed rebellion plot and later established an “exile government” in India. He has been many
countries to sale his plan for Tibet independence. Several serious disturbances and turmoil
took place in Lhasa, the provincial capital of Tibet, from September 1987 to March 1989



26
     Xinjiang issue belongs to the spectrum of national separatism in nature and Taiwan issue does not.
27
     Jin Xing, Problems Report of China (Beijing: Chinese Social Science Pres, 2000), p.57.

                                                                                                          15
partially caused by the instigation and plot of Dalai separatist group. 28 Since 1989, Dalai
traveled more than 50 countries and met dozens of top foreign leaders tried to elicit support
and sympathy and promote his separatist cause. From the late 1980s to early 1990s some
Western countries brandished the stick of “human rights problem in Tibet” to pressure China
and Dalai consider this an opportunity to step up his separatist agenda. Especially during the
period of Kosovo crisis, the activities of national separatists in Tibet are very active; then
Dalai took his fourth trip to US and made a speech in the sub-committee of human rights, the
house of representative, and put forward a ‘five point plan” outlining “Tibet independence”;
in responding to Dalai’s speech radical separatists in Tibet have stirred up two riots against
the government within 10 days. The policy of the Chinese government for Dailai is always
clear and cohesive, that is Dalai give up separatist activity and return to the standpoint of
solidarity and unification, and anything can be discussed except for the independence of Tibet.
Dalai, however, still proceed in a way of internationalizing the Tibet issue and relied on some
Western forces hostile to China hoping some day to reach his separatist goal. The young
faction among Dalai group represented by “Tibet Youth Conference” even threatened that
they are to change Tibet into another version of “North Irish” or “Lebanon”.

      The separatist activities of Dalai group have long been supported and funded by some
Western forces. During the period of the Cold War, Tibet is considered a key card to blockade
and deter China in American’s global strategy. The CIA has financially supported and
whipped up a number of penetrating and subversive activities in Tibet 29 . The US kept this
Tibet policy until 1974 when Sino-US relation normalized. And afterward it halted its
supporting and training of Tibetan separatists. However, beginning from 1987, with the
strained relation between the US and Soviet Union smoothing down and the perception of
China’s strategic position previously enjoyed in balancing the two superpowers declining, US
returned back to its old Tibet policy and support the separatists again though it changed its
tactics to play human rights card in stead of providing direct military and financial support in
past. In July 1987, the house of representative of the US passed a bill proclaimed that Tibet is
a country that “being occupied”; in 1997, a special coordinator for Tibet affairs who is in
charge of the US policy on Tibet has been appointed; the house of representative of US passed
a so-called amendment for “Tibetan Human rights problem”. Though the US’s intervention of
Tibet issue mainly through media and ideological terms, the damage to China’s sovereignty it
entailed was even bigger than previous material support to separatists”. 30 It is for sure that
some Western forces hostile to china would not hesitate to continue using the “Tibet issue” as
a strategic card to deter China from quick rising in the future so long as it felt convenient to
use.

     The situation in Xinjiang is no less serious than Tibet and even worse. The national
separatist activities in Xinjiang historically often involved the support from some foreign
forces who usually took advantage of inter-religious and inter-ethnic cleavages for their
particular political interests. Xinjiang geographically situated in the periphery of Islamic
extremism, international terrorism and national separatism. It adjoins Afghanistan, Pakistan
28
   the News Office of Chinese State Council (ed.), Sovereignty and the Situation of Human Rights of Tibet, 1992.
29
   Wang Xi’en, the Analysis on Ethnic Issues in Contemporary China (Beijing: National Press, 2002), pp. 414-415.
30
   Ibid., pp. 416-417.

                                                                                                             16
and Kashmir area of South Asia, some cities like Khash located very close to Ferghana
Valley-the the home base for extremist forces in Central Asia. As a frontier region of China it
has a close ethnic, religious, and cultural contact with bordered Central Asian countries. These
conditions made Xinjiang an easy target for extremist forces in Central and South Asia to
conduct penetrating activities. This well demonstrated by the separatist activities of “Eastern
Turkistan Islamic Movement”. Correspondingly separatists in Xinjiang also tried to reach its
foreign counterparts and some even crossed the border to accept military training in Central
Asia and directly involved in the local violent terrorist activities.

      The national separatism in Xinjiang based on the theory of Pan-Islamism,
Pan-Turkistanism and considered “the idea of independence of Eastern Turkistan” as its
political guideline, and its ultimate goal is to establish a so-called “Eastern Turkistan state”.
The struggle between separatism and anti-separatism in Xinjiang has a very long history.
Domestic and foreign national separatist forces never quit their intention to secede Xinjiang
from China. In the 1950s, there were dozens of rebellions and riots occurred in Xinjiang
against the nascent people’s government with the instigation and support of US and the
Britain; during the 1960-70s, in the context of increased escalation of Sino-Soviet Union
relation, the Soviet Union incited frontier villagers in Xinjiang to escaping to its side of
borderline, called “Yita event”; in the 1980s, domestic and foreign national separatists
coordinately made several violent incidents in Xinjiang; After entering the 1990s, influenced
by the particular domestic and international situation, the separatist activities in Xinjiang
appeared to be increasing.

     In the Inner Mongolia region, the “great Mongolia” issue once had people’s attention.
Mongolia people mainly populate in Russia, China and the Mongolia. “The conference of
world Mongolian” held in Ulaanbaatar In 1993 came out the idea of “reunification of three
Mongolia”, which got some support from some Western countries. Though the “reunification
of three Mongolia” currently is not a so strong force yet but its future intention should be
closely watched.

3. Extremist forces and China’s neighbors
The issue of extremist forces also influences China’s relation with neighboring countries in
the Asia-Pacific region. Taiwan issue arguably involves the US and had an explicit impact on
the Sino-US relation. The intervention policy of the US on Taiwan issue is the biggest barrier
for the future peaceful reunification of China and also the biggest variable influencing the
direction of future development of Sino-US relation. Historically, Taiwan issue to some extent
is the very result of direct intervention of the US, “the US is the biggest external variable on
Taiwan issue, which is a reality that China has to face.” 31 Taiwan is clearly regarded as a
trump card for the US to deter China. The US grant Li Denghui’s visit and afterward
corresponding military excise by China in the mid-1990s once caused the bilateral relation of
the two sliding into the lowest point. The two countries have been at odds with the US’s
sailing weapons to Taiwan. The Tibet issue is another unharmonious note in Sino-US relation

31
  Zhu Tingchang (ed.), the Surrounding Setting of China and its Strategy for Security, (Beijing: Current Affairs
Press, 2002), p.235.

                                                                                                                   17
as China perceived that the US used so-called “human rights problem in Tibet” as an excuse
to deter and delay the rise of China. Because the two have very different values, political
systems and national interests, the continuing disagreement on the counter-extremism issue in
the future is inevitable although the two also enjoyed more and more common interests and
increased their cooperation and coordination. The extremist forces in Taiwan and Tibet always
intended to internationalizing the issue; the US aims at maintaining the status quo of Taiwan
and kept a “no reunification, no independence” policy. The activities of extremist force of
“Taiwan independence”, the process of China’s bid for reunification as well as the US’s
Taiwan policy are bound to be variables influencing the future Sino-US relation.

      The Tibet issue significantly affected Sino-India relation. The Indian government has
been supporting the separatist activities of Dalai Group explicitly or implicitly for a long time,
which shadowed the development of Sino-India relation. India was in the antithesis to China
in terms of Tibet issue. 32 After the peaceful liberation of Tibet in the 1950s, India assisted the
Tibet separatists to undertake torpedoing activities; following a failed rebellion in 1959 Dalai
Lama escaped to India and continue his separatist activities there under the harbor of India
government; because of the strife on the Tibet issue China and India were finally at odds and
fought a frontier war in 1962. Since 1980s, with the relationship between the two countries
normalized India government’s policy on Tibet had a distinct change marked by publicly
declared that India do not recognize the Tibet exile government and not allow Dalai in India
to engage in the separatist activities against China. However, India on the sly still has not
completely dismissed its support for the Tibet separatists. 33 In addition, there is still
suspending territorial disputes between the India and China and some radical nationalists in
India are still inciting the hatreds against China citing the 1962 frontier War. In recent years
Sino-India relation has improved very quickly and the negotiation to resolve the territorial
disputes is under way. A good relationship between India and China are certainly beneficial to
the both sides.

     Xinjiang separatism issue involves the relationship between China and Central Asian
countries. Xing jiang is the largest province in China and also has the longest borderline of
3000 Kilometers adjoining neighboring Central Asian countries such as Tajikistan,
Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. With rapidly expanded presence and strength in Central Asian
countries, the international terrorism and national separatism represented by “Eastern
Turkistan Islamic Movement” also penetrated into neighboring Xinjiang to conduct separatist
and sabotaging activities. Based on the same security concerns and the common interests,
China, Russia and Central Asian countries jointly established “Shanghai Cooperation
Organization”(SCO) aiming at strengthening their collaboration in fighting “three strands of
evil forces” , that are separatism, terrorism and extremism, and maintaining the peace and
stability in the region. The establishment of SCO is a pioneering action and new paradigm for
regional security cooperation. The success the SCO indicates that the threat of extremist
forces itself do not necessarily mean a negative influence on the relations of related countries
but could be a juncture and opportunity hold them together in joined efforts to curb the

32
     Wang Xi’en, the Analysis on Ethnic Issues in Contemporary China, pp. 417- 418.
33
     Zhang Zhirong, International Relation and Tibet Issue (Beijing: Travel and Education Press, 1994), pp.110-118.

                                                                                                                 18
extremis and turned out improving and strengthening their relations.

V. China’ Strategy for fighting extremist forces

In general, extremist forces including international terrorism, national separatism, religious
extremism and cult in a foreseeable future are still one of the main threats confronting the
international society, and could significantly affect the political stability and national security
of China. So China should pay great attention to the issue and keep on high alert.

     The rising process of China itself has become a critical factor in shaping the security
situation of the Asia-Pacific region as well as the world, and the safety of China in a sense is
up to what initiatives and steps China take to model its security environment. So China should
draw up a global strategy and effective tactics for dealing with the threat of extremist forces.

     (1) China should thoroughly adapt to the transformation of new security concept and
attach importance to the non-traditional security. With the quick development of globalization
and multipolarization in the twenty first century, international politics, international relations
and international security are undergoing a revolutionary change since the establishment of
Westphalia system in 1648. For the first time the non-traditional security began to dominate
people’s security thinking as the status of traditional military security is relatively declining.
The threat of extremist forces is one of the non-traditional issues highlighted in this context.
And so China should put the non-traditional security and counter-extremism in its high
agenda for China’s national security.

     (2) China should continue its economic-centered modernizing efforts. An
economically-strong and wealthy China will be the most powerful guarantee to the country’s
security, which not only provide important material base for responding to the challenge
posed by extremist forces but also would greatly increase the coherency and solidarity of the
nation and therefore help accelerating and triumphing the cause of reunification. “The great
exploitation of West China” is a strategic step with great importance in stabilizing the frontier
regions of China, and should be firmly step up and achieve actual results.

      (3) In the battle against extremism, China should actively seek and join the international
cooperation, especially the cooperation with the neighboring countries in Asia-Pacific region.
In the globalization era every country in “global village” are more interdependent than ever
today, and most of non-traditional security issues are global ones. The anti-extremist cause
needs international efforts and inter-state cooperation. And China should have some kind of
strategic and global thinking when coming to the issue of coping with the challenge of
extremist forces. It is necessary to redefine what the essential national interests of China are
and decide the corresponding strategies in this context. China should actively seek and
promote some form of crisis managing mechanism through which China could effectively
cooperate with all related countries in the region and safeguard a peaceful surrounding
environment.



                                                                                                19
     After more than 20-year modernizing development, China had stronger national strength
now than past and played a significant role in the arena of international politics, and economy
and diplomacy and won the respect of international society. China today is capable
influencing the surrounding countries by the ways of economic and trade cooperation, cultural
exchange, security cooperation and diplomacy; with increased confidence China can better
understand and care the security interests of surrounding countries and win their respect, trust
and cooperation, which is favorable conditions for China to initiate some joint efforts in
fighting extremist forces in the region.

     (4) China should continue opposing power politics and promote the establishment of an
impartial and fair international political and economic order facilitating the common
prosperity of the whole world. The issue of extremist forces could not be solved only through
military might and political hegemony. Many specialists in Europe argue that extremism to
some degree related to the policy of the West especially the US: Since the end of the Cold War,
the West missed the opportunity of solving the problems of poverty, drug-trafficking, tyranny,
starvation, racism and religious fundamentalism; the West carried out the policy of
non-humanitarian embargo on Iraq and unilaterally and stubbornly supported Israel’s
“inhabitant policy” contrary to international law; the West tried to impose its values on other
parts of the world including the Islamic society regardless of their feelings. 34 China should
join the international efforts in advocating the equality, exchange of opinions and dialogue
between different civilizations, nationalities and religions, and oppose antagonism, violence
and bully in international affairs, and help in advancing the level of dialogue between the
North and South in order to reduce the gap between the haves and the not haves.

      (5) China should continue its efforts in improving and maintaining friendly relationship
with the neighboring countries. Although the surrounding international environment of China
currently is the best ever in history, more efforts is needed to improve the relationship with
some countries that were at odds with China in history and foster the mutual trust and
cooperation. Maintaining a good Sino-US relationship is critical to the ultimate solution of
reunification of mainland China and Taiwan. Although Russia, India, Central Asian and
Southeast Asian countries to various degrees have somewhat competition with China in terms
of geographical interests but none of them in near or middle future has strength and attention
to challenge China. China should keep and further the development of SCO mechanism, and
maintain and improve the relationship with India and Pakistan, which is of great significance
for fighting separatist extremism in the frontier regions.

     (6) Battling the extremist forces is a long-term and arduous and complex task, China
should link the short-term goal and long-term strategic goal together. Judging from the short
and middle term, the policy and tactics should be develop close cooperation with surrounding
neighboring countries, firmly and aggressively fight extremist forces especially national
separatism, Islamic extremism and cult, and prevent their penetrating into China, and
maintain national solidarity and avoid big social turmoil and crisis in order to safeguard and
create a good surrounding environment for China’s modernization. It is important for

34
     “An Accommodating Policy without Arbitrary of the West,” Quoted in Reference Information, 29 January2002.

                                                                                                            20
stabilizing Xinjiang to corporate with Russia and Central Asian countries within the
framework laid down by the SCO mechanism in joint operation of fighting “three evil forces”
especially “Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement” force; the advancement of economic and
political relationship with India will help deter Dalai’s separatist activities; a stabilized
Sino-US relationship as well as improved relationship with Japan certainly serves preventing
Taiwan from misjudging situation and taking risky steps to declare independence. Judging
from the long-term, the eradication of extremism depends on whether the soil in which
extremist forces generated and overspread can be eliminated and this require reduction of
poverty based on economic development, narrowing of the gap of economic development and
living standards between the frontier regions and inner land provinces, appropriate policy and
handling of national and religious issues, uprooting of social injustice so as to essentially
eradicate the soil for the growth of extremist forces.




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