Riots Expose China’s Ethnic Divisions, Uneven Growth

In the aftermath of this week’s violence in Urumqi, observers are looking at Beijing’s policies toward minorities, and the “Go West” policy which aimed to populate and develop Xinjiang and other western areas. From Bloomberg: The clashes have pitted Uighurs, Turkic- speaking natives of Xinjiang province, against the dominant Han Chinese and ethnically similar Hui group. China’s drive to develop Xinjiang’s resources has spurred an influx of migrants and bred resentment among Uighurs, who complain of discrimination and political and cultural repression. Han Chinese now account for half the province’s 21 million population, from 7 percent in the 1953 census. “We never had any political rights,” said Kurban Haiyur, a Uighur exile who left the province in 2006 to study in Germany. “In my whole life, I never had the same status in society as a Han Chinese.” See also an Al Jazeera report:
In an op-ed for the New York Times, Human Rights Watch’s Nicholas Bequelin looks at historical reasons for the outbreak of violence by Uighurs. See also “A legacy of repression” by Isabel Hilton. The Age has a lengthy report interviewing witnesses and participants in the violence about the mistrust and hatred on both sides: Chen Xiang, a 20-year-old Han man who had joined in the pursuit of the two Uighur boys, explains why he was so angry. A close friend of his, surnamed Jiang, was on his way home from decorating his new house on Sunday night when Uighurs lobbed a petrol bomb onto his No. 3 bus as it reached Shanxi Lane. The bus caught fire and he jumped off. Uighurs then beat him senseless. […] The Government has not said how many of the 156 officially killed were killed by rioters and how many were killed by police. The world, and Xinjiang’s Chinese and ...
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2 Responses to Riots Expose China’s Ethnic Divisions, Uneven Growth

  1. Shane says:

    “Search for Han Chinese sister whose family were butchered by Uighurs”

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article6677379.ece

    “We saw hundreds of Uighurs running down the street on the afternoon of July 5. About ten suddenly rushed into the store. They began to hit the people inside, even the old mother, with bricks and stones. They tried to run outside. Then they were dragged back inside.

    “There were terrible screams. Just wordless screams. But then very quickly they fell silent.”

    “He found no survivors, only four bodies. He has yet to discover the fate of his sister. ”

    This was once a tight-netted family of 5 with a boy of age 13.

  2. Shane says:

    Uighurs have a tremendous tendency to fantasize Ottoman Empire and new Muslin riches from Gulf region. Some of them even look at Han Chinese as the same as Blacks internationally. The first is a 19th century worldview, and the later is of course a popular worldview of 70s’.

    In recent years, many of them felt pretty bad about their inability to integrate into Chinese society after seeing and experiencing the rapid development coastal regions. This probably created more inner struggle among educated Uighur than those from rural area.

    Han population, on the other hand, has been thinking too much about making international trade, growing domestic GDP, building flashy buildings and infrastructures, putting up good schools for students and making more money for themselves.

    In summary, most of them think very little about the inner struggles and identity crisis among minorities. Such broad disconnect builds up frustration and conflicts as well. Chinese society is now on the receiving end of this social problem. It is like a pair of busy parent working hard on their business, spent lavishly on their kids on materials and education, but paid little attention to their inner growth as well as have little quality time. In the end, what they got is a bunch of ungrateful and rebellious kids.

    This issue now have been detected and hopefully more Hans can reach out to minorities like a caring partner of equal, instead of a bossy parent.