Thanks to David Kelly, researcher at the University of Technology Sydney, for translating the following opinion piece by overseas political commentator Liang Jing:
Liang Jing, A common disaster for all peoples*
The bloody clashes in Xinjiang cast a long shadow over China’s future; Whether Uighur or Han, they were victims of the ruthless, greedy and incompetent CCP regime. I believe that both the Han and Uighur people are heavy-hearted today, because they all know that Pandora’s box has been opened, the demon has been released, and there will be more innocent Han and Uighur victims of bloody conflict. Where is Hu Jintao’s harmonious society? How will he confront the reality of racial revenge? Does he really think people will accept his blaming everything on instigation by overseas Xinjiang independence elements?
Sixty years ago, the CCP, in order to control Xinjiang, carried out an extremely bloody repression of Uighur separatist forces in which tens of thousands of people were killed. But this was the era when “class revolution” had the upper hand, and when even more Han “class enemies” were physically eliminated. The fact is that the generation of Chinese leaders who took over the country not only failed to provoke deeper ethnic hatred due to the killings, but thanks to their hard drive and spirit of sacrifice created an unprecedented state of national harmony—or, stated differently, the illusion of a harmonious nation—in Xinjiang.
However, when the Communists betrayed their ideal of liberating the world’s poor, and began providing for their own well-being, a resurgence of national separatism in Xinjiang was scarcely avoidable. Hu Jintao’s generation of CPC successors who grew up drinking wolf’s milk, learned brutality from their rebellious forefathers, but failed to learn their down-to-earth work-style based on personal effort. All they can do apart from worshiping violence and money is repeat empty slogans. Over time, various contradictions mounted up and disaster finally broke out.
This large outbreak of conflict between Uighur and Han in Xinjiang comes as no great surprise to many people. The activities of the Xinjiang independence forces have been well known for a long time. Few, however, anticipated the scale of the conflict and the number of casualties. The most surprising is that the trigger for the outbreak of the conflict occurred thousands of kilometers from Xinjiang in Shaoguan, Guangdong. When I heard that bloodshed had occurred in Shaoguan between several hundred Uighur migrant workers and 2000 Han migrant workers I was taken aback: how could those in power in Xinjiang and Guangdong be so blinded with lust for gain as to actually want to send peasants from southern Xinjiang to Guangdong to solve the shortage of migrant workers—what was this but putting a flame to dry fuel?
The migrant worker system—essentially a system of state slavery—is a disaster for Chinese society. For a long time, China’s ruling elite have thought of it not as a shame, but on the contrary as glorious, that it was China’s comparative advantage. Everyone knows that China’s migrant workers have neither individual nor collective dignity, and having been humiliated to the hilt; their minds are flooded with grievances. According to official statements, an employee at Xuri toy factory had spread rumors sparking bloodshed between ethnic Han and Uighur workers. That one rumor could at once lead to such a large-scale upheaval is evidence that many migrant workers were already on the lookout for opportunities to let off steam.
The hundreds of millions of Han migrant workers were a volcano ready to erupt. The CPC rulers, quite insensitive to the dignity of the poor, recruited thousands of poor Uighurs to Shaoguan from thousands of miles away, claiming to be alleviating poverty. In their eyes, there was no difference between the poor and animals; they are but factors of production that can be “configured” as they please to obtain the greatest economic output. However, the poor Uighurs were not so crass as to be unaware of their abject status; that the CPC gained enormous wealth from Xinjiang’s oil and gold deposits, while they themselves had no rights to a share in these resources;or that they need not have been so poor, need not have had to leave their homes and families, to suffer humiliation in such a remote and unfamiliar foreign land.
Xinjiang has always had ethnic conflict, but this was not the primary cause of the tragedy that has just taken place in Urumqi. The real curse is the government’s greed, incompetence and blind faith in violence. If it had only come to its senses a little, been less convinced of its own cleverness, less self-deceived. If it had just honestly faced the people, respected them, cared about their problems, listened to their voices, separatist forces would not have such a big impact or led to such a large-scale ethnic bloodshed. It is this abysmal government that is in fact the disaster shared by people of all ethnicities.
* Liang Jing, “Ge minzu renmin de gongtong zainan” [A common disaster for all peoples], , 8 July 2009 [梁京： “各族人民的共同灾难”，2009年7月 8日.].