2009 July 08 Wednesday
Chinese Attacks On Uighurs Started Latest Round Of Violence?

Being an ethnic minority can have big downsides. Therefore I do not want to become an ethnic minority. Sounds like the Chinese attacked the Uighurs first.

The trouble started when rumors began to spread that Turkic-speaking, mainly Muslim Uighur migrant workers at the toy plant had raped Chinese women. Allegations also were posted online, and they traveled through the Han community.

Police would eventually say the charges were untrue. But as word spread of further alleged sexual assaults, enraged Han workers attacked their Uighur co-workers.

The Chinese government has been importing Han Chinese to dilute the numbers of ethnic Uighurs in Xinjiang because the provice has lots of oil and because the Han do not want to see China shrink due to secession of Xinjiang. This use of immigrants to control a subject population should serve as a lesson for American net taxpayers.

The trigger for the inter-ethnic violence actually originated in Guangdong province.

Sunday's riots started when around 3,000 ethnic Uighurs, including many high-school and college students, gathered to protest ethnically motivated killings in a factory in China's southern Guangdong province. The riots turned violent but, thanks to China's information firewall, no one knows exactly why. State-run media report that Uighurs had attacked Han Chinese and count at least 156 people killed and more than 1,000 injured.

The Asian Wall Street Journal editorial I'm excerpting here is full of all sorts of wrong and foolish sentiment.

Like Beijing's brutal response to the Tibet riots, a crackdown will only strengthen the Uighurs' pro-independence movement.

The puny Uighur population is less than 1% of the Han Chinese population. The Han are going to swamp the Uighur and the Han will be totally ruthless in effectively suppressing dissent. The desire to be free isn't a strong feeling that is on the march around the world, lots of mythology not withstanding.

It makes sense for the Uighurs to oppose Han Chinese rule. The Han are more successful, powerful, and have higher status. The relative status of the Uighurs declines when Han Chinese move in. The Han government officials prefer their fellow Han co-ethnics. Uighur cultural and religious beliefs are opposed by the Han. The Uighurs can see the writing on the wall.

Peter Ford of the Christian Science Monitor reports that the Uighurs live in fear of the the Chinese secret police.

Getting any Uighurs in Urumqi to talk on Monday was impossible. Their Internet access had been cut off, most of their phones, too, and those whom foreign journalists reached were too terrified of the government to say anything.

Xinjiang, an allegedly autonomous region, is the hardest place I have ever worked. The atmosphere of repression is Stalinist. For a week last year I tried to gauge ordinary people’s feelings there about the authorities. Not one person I spoke to would give his real name, and most whom I approached wanted nothing to do with me.

Glad I'm not there. But here in America lots of people post with pseudonyms on blogs. Some of those pseudonymous writers have justified fears. Though most people who use pseudonyms say things that do not require secret identities. Every time you see a pseudonym in a comment ask if that comment contains something that necessitates hiding one's identity to say it. Rarely does it seem necessary.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2009 July 08 12:00 AM  China


Comments
dave.s. said at July 8, 2009 3:42 AM:

It's not that I need to hide, exactly: nothing I say is illegal, immoral, or fattening. But, suppose I were a podiatrist, and I was spouting off about what a dweeb Joe Biden is, or that I think the teachers' unions act in the interest of their members, not the students. It's a distraction, to the people coming to me for plantar fasciitis. They don't need to have my views of Joe Biden distracting them from my views on plantar warts. So why put my full name in there? dave.s.

Ned said at July 8, 2009 8:21 AM:

I've been to China a couple of times, although never out to Xinjiang province, where most of the Uighurs live. I do remember that one of my tour books referred to Xinjiang (and Tibet) as "areas where Chinese rule is resented."

Xinjiang has some mineral resources and is also where the Chinese nuclear testing facilities are located. The Uighurs are a Turkic mostly Muslim people that used to be a majority in Xinjiang but are now a minority due to the government's program of moving Han Chinese into the province. They have strong ethnic ties to the Muslim peoples of the adjacent central Asian nations.

The Chinese population is slightly over 90% Han, and the minorities have a pretty rough time of it (ask the Tibetans). The WSJ has been running articels about the Uighur situation, and these are generally very good in spite of occasional descents into nonsense, as cited.

The Beijing government greatly fears any sort of dissent and can be reiably counted on to crack down brutally on the Uighurs and any other ethnic groups that make trouble. The Tibetans are the most problematic - they are Buddhist and have a very sympathetic figure in the Dalai Lama, a pacifist who goes around the world reminding people of their plight. The Beijing government would love to squelch him but can't. But the Uighurs are Muslim, and some of them have ties to terrorist groups, so they won't get much support internationally. And within China, any form of dissent, especially by minorities, will be harshly dealt with. One action that would most definitely get Beijing's attention in this regard would be if the Gulf Arab nations (who supply a lot of China's oil) decided to "show solidarity with their Muslim Uighur brothers" by cutting off oil exports to China. But don't hold you breath waiting for that to happen.

Francis said at July 8, 2009 9:11 AM:

"But the Uighurs are Muslim, and some of them have ties to terrorist groups, so they won't get much support internationally. And within China, any form of dissent, especially by minorities, will be harshly dealt with. One action that would most definitely get Beijing's attention in this regard would be if the Gulf Arab nations (who supply a lot of China's oil) decided to "show solidarity with their Muslim Uighur brothers" by cutting off oil exports to China. But don't hold you breath waiting for that to happen."

Like those Uighers that got caught in Afghanistan. They weren't there to fight the US but to train and later go back and fight the Chinese. And the Arabs will happily ignore the plight of the Uighers in return for Chinese economic and military goodies. Business is business. And nobody wants to piss of the PRC. That includes the US.

Anonymouse said at July 8, 2009 9:33 AM:

"Every time you see a pseudonym in a comment ask if that comment contains something that necessitates hiding one's identity to say it."

Ex Post Facto isn't just a river in Airstrip One.

kurt9 said at July 8, 2009 11:05 AM:

The liberal concepts of racial equality and what not that we take for granted in the West are not widely shared outside of the West. These ideas have really been around for only about 50 years and it is not clear that they will last. If the West should decline economically and technically relative to China, is it not likely that Chinese values and ideas will enjoy a popularity and Western ideas become regarded as failed or irrelevant. The liberal-left has as much, if not more. vested interest in preserving and protecting the West as the rest of us do. The Western liberal-left should consider what life would be like in a non-Western dominated world.

Perhaps this involves too much thinking for them. Thinking is painful for most people.

Rot said at July 8, 2009 11:12 AM:

"The liberal-left has as much, if not more. vested interest in preserving and protecting the West as the rest of us do. The Western liberal-left should consider what life would be like in a non-Western dominated world."

All very true. And how's that working out?

Anonymous Coward said at July 8, 2009 1:15 PM:

I can't afford to have my real name be associated in a Google search with HBD websites, period.

Anonymous said at July 8, 2009 4:18 PM:

Why not post anonymously, Mr. Parker? Hate speech is "protected" by the Supreme Court (I use the word protected liberally and humorously, so lawyers, spare me the replies) by a 5-4 margin. Do you think this is going to last? With another couple more Obama SCOTUS picks, hate speech will be illegal and sites like this (and people like yourself) will be investigated. I love your blog and I'm sure I would get along great with all of my fellow readers, but what good does it do us to sacrifice our jobs, money, and livelihood just to post an idea? Can't abstract ideas just exist without a name behind them?

Anonymoose said at July 8, 2009 4:45 PM:

"Can't abstract ideas just exist without a name behind them?"

Names serve only one purpose: to query J-List's database to tell me whether I should embrace or destroy that person. Information is a currency best catalogued by the Super Men capable of weilding it.

Randall Parker said at July 8, 2009 7:46 PM:

Guys,

I see people using pseudonyms to post on sites which have no political import. Why is that?

Anonymous,

Can't you at least use a pseudonym that makes you different than a thousands of other people also posting as Anonymous?

BTW, I really meant it below about not posting "anonymous" as your name. I guess I'm going to have to implement some script to enforce this. People won't respect the request I make below.

Why not post anonymously? Well, I've been posting with my real name for 6 years and so far lightning hasn't struck. Maybe the whole fear thing is overblown?

kurt9,

You use a distinctive pseudonym. Thanks for that.

Western influence decline: Yes, this is already happening. China is becoming more influential and therefore freedom of speech and democracy are becoming less appealing. The Liberal Manifest Destiny myth is going to become harder to believe in coming decades.

Randall Parker said at July 12, 2009 4:31 PM:

BTW, what about fame? You could even post with a distinctive pseudonym and achieve fame under that pseudonym. Look at Audacious Epigone and Godless Capitalist. They are immortal now for their branded writing.


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