Monday, September 25, 2023

Abbas and the Palestinian Authority Warms up to China

Washington, DC – Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas arrived in Beijing for a three-day visit in June, where he was welcomed with full military honor. Abbas and Xi smiled as they shook hands and noted that China desires a more significant influence in the Middle East and that “China firmly supports the just cause of the Palestinian people…”. The meeting between Abbas and Xi also included various China-supported economic initiatives, including tourism and development projects. In their joint statement, the Palestinian Authority and Beijing stated that “Xinjiang-related issues are not human rights issues at all, but anti-violent terrorism, de-radicalization, and anti-separatism,” officially denying the existence of modern-day concentration camps in CCP-occupied East Turkistan (aka Xinjiang). 

Abbas is No Stranger to Genocide Denial and has a History of Embracing a Slew of Conspiracy Theories.

For someone like Abbas, it is a well-accustomed behavior to deny the existence of modern-day genocide.

In 1982, Abbas authored a doctoral dissertation called “The Other Face: The Secret Connections Between Nazism and the Leadership of the Zionist Movement” in Moscow, where he accused the Zionists of partnering with the Nazis during WWII to create a Jewish state. Two years after its publication, Abbas authored a book called “The Other Side: The Secret Relationship between Nazism and Zionism,” which was inspired by the notorious Nazi official Adolf Eichmann, the architect of the Holocaust. Although he has not publicly denied the existence of the Holocaust, Abbas still maintains that the Zionists colluded with the Nazis to wipe out the European Jews to bring about a Jewish state into existence through Jewish immigration to Palestine. 

Abbas is a co-founder and the head of Fatah. This political party was directly involved in carrying out multiple terrorist operations around the world, including the infamous 1972 Munich Massacre, where eleven Israeli Olympians lost their lives at the hands of the Palestinian terrorists. In 2022, when Abbas was asked whether an apology would be issued to Israel for his party’s role in the massacre during a press conference, Abbas accused Israel of causing more than “50 different holocausts” toward the Palestinian people. 

So how does this impact the Uyghurs and all other Turkic peoples of East Turkistan? Unfortunately, they are far too used to being sidelined and betrayed by Islamic nations across the world. To date, not a single Muslim-majority nation has recognized the Uyghur Genocide, nor have they publicly condemned the Chinese regime. Even the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has not condemned the CCP for repressing its Muslim population. Why is this so? Simply put, most of these nations are interested in only two things: financial benefits and political alternatives to the US and the West. 

For years, the CCP has invested enormous finances to win over nations worldwide, particularly through its Belt-and-Road Initiatives (BRI). Of course, these investments do not come without a price. Countries under the BRI are often seen forfeiting their territories and/or natural resources to China after failing to pay back billions of dollars worth of their Chinese loans. Take the case of the Gwadar Port of Pakistan, for example. It became the property of China Overseas Port Holding Company (COPHC), a state-owned Chinese company after Pakistan failed to make its Chinese loan payments. Since all Chinese-owned overseas ports are required by Chinese law to provide preferential access to the PLA Navy, the Gwadar Port is open to several Chinese military operations. 

At a GSV event focusing on the US-India Strategic Partnership at the National Press Club, Col. John Mills (Ret.) said, “Pakistan has essentially become a tributary state to China…”. Yet, despite being held economically hostage to China, Muslim-majority nations still hold firm to their connection to the Chinese regime. 

The CCP has a long history of utilizing the US’s mistakes.

When human rights violations across the world are called into question, particularly by the US and the EU, China has almost always supported the perpetrators. Whether it was the Kim regime of North Korea or the Mullahs of Iran, or Putin’s Russia, the CCP has always supported their pursuit of authoritarianism. As a result, looking the other way and praising the Chinese concentration camps is an easy tradeoff for regimes in control of Muslim-majority nations. 

Abbas is clearly using another genocide denial to attract another friend that he believes will be a useful alternative to the US. However, as it did for its fellow Muslim-majority nations, the political marriage between the CCP and the Palestinian Authority will most likely lead to the Palestinian Authority turning into another tributary state to the CCP. 

The US, unfortunately, seems to have contributed to this process. For instance, the Biden Administration’s disastrous pull-out from Afghanistan in the summer of 2021 has largely eroded any form of international trust in the US and seems to have largely contributed to troubles that came after. Like a domino effect, it was not long after Afghanistan that Putin decided to invade Ukraine, and China’s aggression towards Taiwan grew exponentially. 

The Biden Administration does not seem to rattle China too much either. In a tweet, Uyghur Human Rights Project’s (UHRP) Government Relations Manager, Julie Millsap, said, “The @JoeBiden administration has been willing to engage with Xi Jinping before they engage with the #Uyghur community. In spite of repeated requests over these couple of years, the @WhiteHouse/ National Security Council have refused to have #Uyghurs in the EEOB.” At best, this sends a message to leaders like Abbas that the US will no longer be a leader in addressing Human Rights concerns. In the meantime, the Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples of CCP-Occupied East Turkistan will continually suffer at the hands of the CCP and add another fellow Muslim-majority nation to their list of betrayals.

Author profile
Se Hoon Kim
Assignment Editor/Senior Correspondent, East and South Asia

Se Hoon Kim is the Assignment Editor and Senior Correspondent, East and South Asia at Global Strat View. He is also a columnist for the Sunday Guardian.

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