Xi’s Stability Agenda in Central Asia Boosts China’s Global Ambitions

The 23rd Meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) took place on July 4, with Chinese Communist Party dictator Xi Jinping addressing the state heads of SCO member states. The Global Times reported “that in his speech titled “Staying true to our founding mission and advancing unity and coordination to realize greater development,” Xi emphasized the importance of maintaining peace, security, and economic growth in the region. He acknowledged the common responsibility of sustaining peace and security, the shared task of promoting economic growth, and the desire for harmonious development among different civilizations. Xi asserted that the people’s wish for a happy life, along with peace, development, and win-win cooperation, are the unstoppable trends of our time, addressing the unprecedented challenges faced by human society.”

The formation of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization was driven by China’s aim to rally these countries around the preservation of its territorial integrity. Since the Central Asian countries gained independence from the Soviet Union, China’s primary concern in its neighboring Central Asian states has been stability. China has requested these countries to refrain from supporting political activities of the Uyghur diaspora, who share cultural, historical, and religious ties with the Uyghurs in occupied Uyghurstan.

Following China’s successful efforts in projecting itself as a peacemaker in the Middle East, it attempted to broker a peace deal between Ukraine and Russia. However, the Chinese pro-Russian peace proposals proved ineffective in reality.

Chinese efforts to convince the Turkic states not to support Uyghurs and to avoid following the lead of Western countries have yielded positive results. Last year, the Turkic countries, including Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, voted in favor of China on the UN Human Rights Panel and actively blocked discussions on Uyghur human rights, aligning themselves with China’s stance.

Xi Jinping’s prioritization of stability in Central Asia serves to advance China’s global ambitions, while Western inactivity in Central Asia contributes to China’s acceleration of its objectives in the region.

Uyghurs continue to be the primary victims of the global games. Uyghurs in Kazakhstan have long been targeted by the Chinese government and its allies in Kazakh security forces. Following China’s request, the Kazakh government banned major Uyghur groups such as the Uyghurstan People’s Party. Numerous Uyghur activists, including Huseyin Celill, have reportedly been deported back to China, where they face extrajudicial punishment.

Uyghur Times

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