Author: Ludmila Kondrashova, D.Sc. (Hist.)
On December 5, 2001, a Round Table discussion on the topic "Central Asia: International Cooperation and Security Issues" was held at the Russian Academy of Sciences' Institute for Far Eastern Studies. Taking part in the discussion were staff members from the RAS IFES, plus scholars from a number of other RAS institutes (for Oriental Studies, for International Economic and Political Studies, for Ethnology, and for Geography) and from the Russian Research Institute for Foreign Economic Ties at the Russian Federation Ministry of Economic Development and Trade. Representatives from the academic and governmental organizations of the PRC's Xinjiang-Uigur Autonomous Region (XUAR), with which the IFES has established close scientific ties, were round table guests.
Zhang Zhong, the Deputy Director of the XUAR Committee for Science and Technology's Institute of Scientific and Technical Policy, and head of the Chinese delegation, delivered a report on the topic "The Eastern Turkestan Organization Presents a Threat to China's Security."
The Eastern Turkestan Organization, composed mainly of Uigur separatists living outside the borders of the PRC, has as its goal the detachment of Xinjiang from the PRC and the creation on its territory of an independent state of Eastern Turkestan as a continuation of the eponymous state that existed for several months in 1933. At present, 51 branches of the Eastern Turkestan Organization are known to exist around the world, of which, in particular, 19 are active in Central Asia, 14 operate in West Asia, and 18 are established in different countries in Europe and the Americas. The separatists are infiltrating Xinjiang from Central Asia, where guerrilla training camps have been set up. West Asia is, sui generis, a cradle of Islamic (and Uigur) separatism, the one from which its spiritual leaders and military commanders have emerged. Europe and the Americas serve as platforms for propagandizing the idea of "Xinjiang independence."
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