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January 2021

Self government

Opinion: Helping Xinjiang and Tibet through Divestment and Self-Government

These days, it’s easy to lose sight of what’s going on outside the United States, yet China continues to commit human rights violations in Xinjiang and Tibet with impunity. In fact, the pandemic has increased restrictions. Fortunately, the international community is speaking out, the Member States of the United Nations decry abuses in Xinjiang and human rights experts raise concerns on the “enforced disappearance” of the Panchen Lama. As the number of these convictions increases, we would like to propose two more: the disengagement of companies complicit in human rights violations and the recognition by the United Nations as non-self-governing territories.

Tibet and Xinjiang both have a disputed history of conflict with China, mostly over sovereignty issues. China claims Tibet has been under Chinese sovereignty for 1793. In contrast, the Tibetan government-in-exile claims that Tibet was invaded in 1949-50. Tibet had its own language, currency, army, government, culture, religion and treaties, which display their independence. Meanwhile, in comparison, in Xinjiang, China began asserting more sovereign control over the region – which borders Russia – as it became more interested in trade. A history of separatist violence challenging Chinese sovereignty claims has only heightened China’s resolve.

China’s human rights violations in Tibet and Xinjiang in the name of state sovereignty are truly endless. China has implemented the forced transfer of populations; public executions; murder of demonstrators; torture of monks, nuns and citizens in the country, including Tibet. Tibet also suffered from the genocide. Both regions suffered “re-education” and mass surveillance, and China has denied the basic rights of the two populations. Less direct infringements of rights such as destruction of monasteries, exile of religious leaders, attempted installation of religious leaders and Tibetan flag bans and Dalai Lama photos also took place.

Despite China’s draconian control over the two regions, divestment could be an effective means of exerting economic pressure on China. In Xinjiang, in particular, the divestiture could have the additional effect of ensuring that US-based businesses and consumers are not complicit in these human rights violations. In Tibet, US companies should consider disengaging from strategic sectors that will weaken either Chinese economic growth or the People’s Liberation Army. Meanwhile, in Xinjiang, Americans and US companies own millions of shares in Chinese tech companies like Hikvision and Dahua, which are implicated in human rights abuses, while other US-based companies companies, like Nike and Adidas, can source materials from the forced labor of the Uyghurs themselves, for which these companies should be held accountable. Marion smith, the executive director of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, endorses this approach through Congress. All of these measures may not force China to completely stop the persecution of Uyghurs, but it would make participation in human rights abuses costly for American businesses, investors and consumers.

In addition to divestment, the UN should officially recognize Tibet and Xinjiang as Non-self-governing territories, which is defined as “the territories whose population has not yet reached a full measure of self-government”. A formal label like this would constitute a strong UN challenge to China’s claims to sovereignty in the two regions, and it would require China to report annually on the status of each territory’s progress towards independence. . retaliation, but China status on the UN Special Committee on Decolonization could influence the definition of decolonization, which would also have consequences for the rest of the world. In addition, the presence of Han Chinese settlers, attracted by incentive migration policies, complicates the eventual process of decolonization for the two regions. However, it should be noted that the two regions, which still have high ethnic concentrations of their indigenous populations, can serve as buffer states and benefit from growing international recognition of human rights violations. A more in-depth conversation on this idea would certainly help shed light on the extent of China’s resistance and more details on the effectiveness of this proposal.

As should be evident by now, these propositions are neither simple nor holistic. Our argument is that resuming the debate, even with non-exhaustive solutions, is the only way to find better answers. While talking about the problem isn’t a guarantee of a solution, ignoring it is a sure-fire way to make sure there never is one.

Fatima Bamba, Katie Engsberg, Mitchell Macheske and Sarah Salkowski are masters students at the School of International Service. The opinions expressed by the authors are their own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of The Eagle and its staff.


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Self government

Private militias are the enemy of self-government

If we cherish our right to choose our leaders, we must crack down on private armed “militias”.

The US Constitution and all 50 states prohibit armed militias who train together or show up in force at public gatherings. Under Illinois law, it is illegal for people to organize into a private militia without state permission.

Yet national authorities have looked the other way as private militias – truly irresponsible armed offenders – do just that. Authorities have also ignored the dangerous spread of “open port” laws, which allow vigilantes to carry military-style weapons to public gatherings and even to state capitals. Organizations that track militias say they are active in all 50 states.

Climb the steps of the Capitol

When insurgents stormed the United States Capitol on January 6, militias known as Oath Keepers, Proud Boys, and Three Percenters were among them. The video captured men dressed in camouflage marching in an organized line along the steps of the Capitol with combat helmets, bulletproof vests, gloves with knuckle protection and radios. On Monday, the FBI warned of possible armed protests in all 50 state capitals and Washington, DC, in the coming days.

For Americans who believe in democracy, this is very scary.

Reasonable Americans should agree that no elected government can function if armed paramilitaries use force or the threat of force to overthrow the will of the people. How can government function when lawmakers and their families are threatened with violence? Yet the Southern Poverty Law Center says that in 2019 there were around 180 anti-government militias across the country undergoing military-style training.

Ignore at our peril

Government officials have tended to ignore groups because they do not recognize the extent of the threat, do not want to spark a storm of opposition from gun rights groups, or, in some regions sympathize squarely with the militias. In addition, some police and prosecutors claim that anti-militia laws are so vague that they are unenforceable.

Laws need to be updated and enforced.

In court documents filed Thursday, federal prosecutors, without specifically naming the militias, said some of those who stormed Capitol Hill intended to “capture and assassinate elected officials.” They are the kind of people who are drawn to armed militias. And this is not the first time that we have seen an attempt to overthrow duly elected governments. Members of a Michigan militia called Wolverine Watchmen have been accused of plotting the kidnapping of governors, including Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

People who believe in their right to violently overthrow democracy have long communicated with each other and reinforced their twisted beliefs in online chat rooms and in the feverish swamps of message boards. After January 6, it is clear that they represent a clear and present danger.

“We are in the middle of another civil rights movement,” said Kathleen Sances, president and CEO of the Illinois Gun Violence Prevention PAC. “I think it’s an effort to maintain a white supremacist system.”

Some militia members are aligned with the so-called boogaloo movement, which seeks to prepare for or incite civil war.

Easily leads are swept

Chicagoan Lee Goodman, who led the pre-pandemic protests against gun violence, said he always tried to engage with opponents who showed up at his events.

Many of them were people who had perhaps barely passed civic education classes in school and did not really understand a political system based on democratic representation. They are trained by like-minded individuals with violence in mind, he said.

“When you tell them it’s all about personal freedom, they believe it,” he said.

True personal freedom requires democratic government. America’s real strength is that it is a democracy ruled by the will of the people. Private armed “militias” have no place here.

Send letters to [email protected].

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Home rule

Independence: family shares memories of Home Rule fights in the 1970s

As part of a new monthly column devoted to the Yesteryear Yes movement, The National asked readers to submit photographs and memorabilia from the independence campaign that took place long before the 2014 referendum.

We’ve found that many younger readers understand the conversation about independence through the lens of indyref, but it’s important to celebrate the people who worked decades before the vote.

For the Yesterday We’ve also brought to light some incredible old footage of people who played key roles in the struggle for independence from politics and the media, starting last month with a popular selection of clips of Margo MacDonald’s work in the 1970s.

For those who wish to submit their own keepsakes – whether it’s photos of people on marches, old flags, badges, T-shirts, flyers, whatever you have – there will be a link to the end of this article.

READ MORE: The best moments of Margo MacDonald fighting for Scottish independence in the 1970s

For today’s article, reader Stephen Malloy submitted this photo of his brother Jeff, around 10, wearing his Home Rule for Scotland t-shirt in the early 1970s.

“My younger brother Jeff Malloy is about 10 years old in this photo. My mom, 90 and still going strong, has been a longtime SNP supporter and bought it for him,” he told The National .

The National:

“Sadly, we lost Jeff a few months before the 2014 referendum. He would have been devastated by Scotland’s failure to vote for Indy, but I’m sure he’s still here, somewhere, wishing and hoping for it. ‘independence.

Stephen said his brother’s enthusiasm for independence inspired those who knew him at a time when “it was not popular opinion.”

The reader, a decades-long supporter of independence, explained how the movement has changed in recent years.

READ MORE: SavantaComRes Independence Survey: Support for Yes and SNP very high

For him, the best memory of the independence movement was “the discovery of the many sources of information that the explosion of social networks has triggered”.

“For so many years the country has been subjected to a carefully tailored and slanted media advising Scotland that we will hopelessly fail as an independent nation,” Stephen explained.

“Suddenly we had a bunch of smart commentators, tweeters, bloggers, FaceBookers explaining, with facts, that the mainstream story of ‘too small, too poor, too stupid’ was nonsense.

“The genie was finally out of the bottle.”

If you would like to submit your story and photos for the next month Yesterday feature, follow this link.

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Sovereignty

Nunavik needs self-government before needing protected lands: Makivik Corp.

Makivik Corp. says Nunavik cannot support Quebec’s plan for new protected areas in the region – not while the organization is working towards self-government.

In December, the Quebec government announced its intention to designate 29,785 square kilometers of new land reserves in Nunavik, as well as to expand two existing reserves.

These areas include the Innuksuac River Basin, the Arnaud River, Tursujuq North, Tursujuq Center, Tursujuq South, Eaton Canyon, Maritime Marsh, George River, George River North and Marralik River.

Once approved, these areas would be protected from industrial development.

But Makivik says the time is not right for the organization to support the plan, as the Inuit of Nunavik are in full consultation on the creation of a new Inuit government for the region.

Makivik refused to collaborate in the Press release of December 11 the Quebec government got angry when it announced the protected areas.

“Right now our focus is our self-determination,” said Adamie Delisle Alaku, vice president of environment, wildlife and research at Makivik Corp. “We are trying to regain our own authority over land and water.

Makivik does not have the means to block the government’s plans, although the proposed protected areas still need to be the subject of public consultations and an impact assessment before the province can give them the green light.

But the Inuit birthright organization hopes its message will be heard in Quebec.

Nunavik organizations participated in the selection of designated areas after the territory launched the Plan Nord, its master plan for development north of the 49th parallel, in 2011. Their participation has continued since then. But Delisle Alaku said the final proposal was brought forward by the province using French place names that most Inuit would not recognize.

Makivik Corp. signed a memorandum of understanding with the federal government in May 2019 that serves as a framework for negotiations for Inuit self-government for the region.

It is not clear what roles a self-government of Nunavik would assume. But the Ottawa initiative on the recognition of indigenous rights and self-determination promises “the implementation and exercise of indigenous rights,” including the recognition of indigenous legislative power and inherent rights to the land.

Makivik’s chief negotiator is drafting a constitution for Nunavik, which the organization says will establish the conditions for establishing a regional government based on Inuit values, culture and language.

While Makivik is working with the federal government, the organization has not yet signed the same memorandum of understanding to work with Quebec.

“At the moment, we are in the early stages of our negotiations with the federal government, but that will have to change [to Quebec] soon, ”said Delisle Alaku.

“And this whole idea of ​​working together, nation to nation – we have a lot of progress to make.”

When the Quebec government first launched the Plan Nord, it made a commitment to protect 20% of the province’s landmass by 2020.

Today, 10 years and three governments later, this process is underway; François Legault’s government recently launched its own scaled-down version of a Nordic plan.

The latest land designations in Nunavik bring the total protected area of ​​the province to 12.7 percent.

“For me, it’s having a good report card,” said Delisle Alaku. “They are pushing their own agenda forward.”

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