Posting a bit on the Washington Post community forum
Personally I don’t think that Kadeer is a terrorist. She is a nice well-meaning woman that sincerely believes what she is doing. I also think that she really has no real influence over events in Xinjiang, and that she is just one of dozens (if not hundreds) of tiny idealistic groups in Washington DC with no real money or power.
I am upset at the National Endowment for Democracy. I don’t think that they are controlled by the CIA, because I think that the CIA would be a lot smarter than the people at the NED. Instead I’ve seen the NED *destroy* Chinese democracy groups just like they are *destroying* Kadeer, and personally I think it’s much more likely that the Chinese Ministry of State Security runs the NED than the CIA. The NED gives bad advice and tainted money to the groups that they try to “help.” Kadeer probably thinks that my increasing the profile of her group, she can get more money and influence in the United States. What she doesn’t realize and what the NED doesn’t make clear is that the United States is not going to ever provide any real help or support for the Uighurs. The US and the NED *talks* a lot about human rights, but when you get to real decisions, it’s all about money and power, and honestly there are hundreds of places in the world with situations worse than Xinjiang. All the Chinese government has to do is to convince the world that Xinjiang is just another “race riot” and in three weeks no one in the US will care.
What Kadeer really needs to do is to get support for her ideas among *Chinese* particularly Chinese in China. She had a very brief moment where she could do that, and she blew it. In her interviews she said *EXACTLY* what the Chinese government wants her to say, and she made some very basic mistakes. Again, I don’t blame her. She is a political amateur. I really blame the NED. They should know better. Also, I do think that the NED did *something* that set up the demonstrations.
The NED is composed of former 1960’s people that like demonstrations, and so a lot of NED training to groups is how to set up a peaceful demonstration. The problem is that what ended up happening in Xinjiang was like throwing a spark into a room full of gasoline, and whatever the NED started, it has ended up with Uighurs probably being in a *worse* situation than before, since support among people in China for more ethnic autonomy has probably gotten a lot lower than it was before.
Also, it *is* the situation that the press coverage in the Washington Post and New York Times is probably more favorable to the Chinese government than anything that I’ve seen in the past. One thing that you have to understand is that reporters *are* biased, but if you scream at them about bias, that doesn’t help you get your message out. There are a lot of techniques that you can use to make sure that your side of the story gets published, and the Chinese government has gotten a lot better at using them. The basic ones are treat reporters like human beings, and don’t act as if you are hiding something. The other thing is that doing true to deal with bad coverage by restricting information, but rather *add* information. Finally, part of getting better press coverage is just doing your job right. The impression that I’m getting from the Western newspapers of the riot police is favorable which is that they are mainly there to restore order and prevent revenge killings. This takes a lot of training.
Imagine yourself holding a gun, and then being surrounding by angry people that are trying to beat you up. Learning *not* to fire the gun, takes a *huge* amount of training, and it’s the training that any well-trained policeman has. Western reporters are seeing that sort of training, and that destroys Kadeer’s efforts at getting sympathy by making the Chinese police look like thugs.
What Uighur activists really want is some picture or video of the Chinese police doing something really nasty, and the big effort of the Chinese government is to avoid having that picture or video being seen. Since you can’t restrict press access, then you just train your police so that nothing they do looks bad if some reporters sees them do it.