While posing as a grassroots human rights organization, the World Uyghur Congress is a US-funded and directed separatist network that has forged alliances with far-right ethno-nationalist groups. The goal spelled out by its founders is clear: the destabilization of China and regime change in Beijing.
By Ajit Singh
In recent years, few stories have generated as much outrage in the West as the condition of Uyghur Muslims in China. Reporting on the issue is typically represented through seemingly spontaneous leaks of information and expressions of resistance by Uyghur human rights activists struggling to be heard against a tyrannical Chinese government.
True or not, nearly everything that appears in Western media accounts of China’s Uyghur Muslims is the product of a carefully conceived media campaign generated by an apparatus of right-wing, anti-communist Uyghur separatists funded and trained by the US government.
A central gear in Washington’s new Cold War against China, this network has a long history of relationships with the US national security state and far-right ultra-nationalists.
At the heart of this movement is the World Uyghur Congress (WUC), an international Uyghur organization that claims to be engaged in a “peaceful, nonviolent, and democratic” struggle for “human rights.” The WUC considers China’s northwestern Xinjiang region to be East Turkestan, and sees its Uyghur Muslim inhabitants not as Chinese citizens but instead as members of a pan-Turkic nation stretching from Central Asia to Turkey.
As this investigation establishes, the WUC is not a grassroots movement, but a US government-backed umbrella for several Washington-based outfits that also rely heavily on US funding and direction. Today, it is the main face and voice of a separatist operation dedicated to destabilizing the Xinjiang region of China and ultimately toppling the Chinese government.
While seeking to orchestrate a color revolution with the aim of regime change in Beijing, the WUC and its offshoots have forged ties with the Grey Wolves, a far-right Turkish organization that has been actively engaged in sectarian violence from Syria to East Asia.
None of these links seem to have troubled the WUC’s sponsors in Washington. If anything, they have added to the network’s appeal, consolidating it as one of the most potent political weapons the US wields in its new Cold War against China.
The World Uyghur Congress, brought to you by the US government’s regime change arm
The WUC promotes itself as an “opposition movement against Chinese occupation of East Turkistan [sic]” that “represent[s] the collective interests” and is “the sole legitimate organization of the Uyghur people both in East Turkistan and abroad.”
Headquartered in Munich, Germany, the WUC is an international umbrella organization with a network of 33 affiliates in 18 countries around the world. The WUC and its affiliates — particularly the Uyghur American Association, Uyghur Human Rights Project, and Campaign for Uyghurs — are cited in nearly every Western media report on China’s Uyghur Muslims.
From its inception, the WUC has been backed by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). With millions in US taxpayer money, the NED and its subsidiaries have backed opposition parties, “civil society” groups, and media organizations in countries targeted by the US for regime change.
Philip Agee, the late CIA whistleblower, described the work of the NED as a more sophisticated version of the old-fashioned covert operations that Langley used to engineer. “Nowadays,” Agee explained, “instead of having the CIA going around behind the scenes and trying to manipulate the process by inserting money here and giving instructions secretly and so forth, they have now a sidekick, which is this National Endowment for Democracy, NED.”