Uyghurs Speak Out on Hotel Restrictions

The New Dominion is a blog aims to provide a constantly updated source of news and information about China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. The following post is about recent hotel restrictions imposed on :

In my last post on the subject, I stated my belief that the way a people react to civil rights violations is just as important, if not more so, than the violations themselves. In terms of the way modern Xinjiang is perceived, reported, and studied outside of China, this distinction is crucial, since much of the information out there focuses on spectacular, attention-getting episodes, and to a lesser extent, widespread, lower-level situations like the Ramadan restrictions and even the hotel regulations we covered before. The discussion, outside of Xinjiang, by academics, analysts, activists and journalists, of alleged oppression in Xinjiang is nothing new. What tends to be missing from most of this, however, are the opinions of the Uyghurs themselves.

This situation, of course, is not from neglect or lack of trying – journalists and academics come to Xinjiang frequently with the express purpose of ferreting out elusive Uyghur commentary on various subjects – the Olympics, the Uyghur way of life, terrorism, inter-ethnic relations, etc. Naturally, there is no one Uyghur voice on these topics, and we can hold as axiomatic the fact that across the millions of Uyghurs in Xinjiang there are a wide range of stances, from one extreme to the other and everything in between. However, a robust network of rules,(some written, some not), surveillance, and punishments works quite efficiently in curtailing access to Uyghur opinions on a significant scale. Thus we are left with isolated, anonymous, and often furtive voices that crop up in media reports and academic treatises, to stand alongside the very vocal and hardly unchecked accusations of diasporic Uyghur activist groups. Furthermore, those voices are mediated – delivered to us through a writer who despite even the best efforts to be objective nonetheless has an agenda in writing the report or thesis, one that may differ from the objectives of the Uyghur source referenced.

(h/t EastSouthNorthWest blog.)

October 29, 2008, 10:13 AM
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