After the violent attack on the Kunming Railway Station last weekend, China’s state media warned that “the eastward expansion of Xinjiang terrorism is accelerating.” Looking to China’s ethnically distinct and resource rich Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, netizen 思想精荟 drew attention to a linguistic contradiction:
思想精荟: Forwarded from a Xinjiang Uyghur’s Weixin: “If Xinjiang’s petroleum is Chinese petroleum, Xinjiang’s natural gas is Chinese natural gas, and Xinjiang’s minerals are Chinese assets, why aren’t Xinjiang’s terrorists called Chinese terrorists?”… We should calmly consider his words [pondering][pondering]
While the Kunming attack has potential to further strain historically tense relations between China’s Uyghur and Han populations, state media has also been encouraging the public to avoid the “irrational and biased mindset” of blaming all Uyghurs for the work of a few extremists. Just as 思想精荟 asked his followers to take a moment for consideration, other Chinese netizens are encouraging deeper reflection on the recent attack. Weibo user Happy张江 forwarded the following Renren post to Sina Weibo, where it is still circulating:
Happy张江: Mutton Kebabs and Raisins: In regards to the Kunming attack and ethnic minorities, please spend three minutes in silence. Have a look at this post.
Mutton Kebabs and Raisins
1. Near the subway station at Zhujiang Road in Nanjing, there is a mosque, and next to that a mutton kebab shop owned by some people from Xinjiang. The kebabs are very tasty. Among the several people in the restaurant, there was a young man who spoke pretty good Mandarin, and always greeted customers very warmly. Every time I passed by, I’d order 20 yuan in kebabs, then go get rice and chili pepper, dried bean curd and shredded meat, or a beef soup and potstickers. Makes a good feast for dinner.
When I returned to Wuhan after graduation, I couldn’t find such good mutton kebabs. My mouth waters every time I think of it.
I don’t know why, but every time something comes up about Xinjiang, I think of the kebab shop and that warm young man.
2. In recent years, you rarely see Xinjiang folks selling nut cake in Wuhan anymore. They’ve switched to raisins and various Xinjiang-style dried fruits. I once tried buying raisins from them near Wuhan University. 25 yuan for 500 grams. I paid 10 yuan, and when I weighed it at home, it was exactly 200 grams.
Unlike the nut cake vendors, dried fruit vendors are seldom seen working together with a large group of people They mostly vend alone. I’ve even seen a Xinjiang woman, face covered in hijab, selling dried fruits by herself on the street of Wuhan, right next to Hubu Xiang.
3. After the July 5 Incident [2009 Urumqi Riots], two things made deep impressions on me.
The first was the failed hijacking attempt on China Southern Airlines. The situation was very dangerous. A group of terrorists on the flight were communicating in Uyghur about the hijacking. Another group of Uyghurs figured out their plan, took the lead, and foiled the attack along with a group of Han people.
The other thing was the terrorist attack in Xinjiang after the July 5 Incident. During the attack, more than 50% of the victims were Uyghurs, and of the policemen who died protecting Han and Uyghur people alike, some were Uyghurs as well.
4. The terrorists who launched attacks in Xinjiang, Beijing, and Kunming are not the same people as the Uyghur policemen and Uyghur heroes who fought the hijackers, or the young men who sell mutton kebabs, or even those selling nut cake.
5. My point is, the situation in Xinjiang is definitely more complicated than I’ve stated above. How do we unite the forces that can be united, how do we clean up more-than-a-handful of terrorists? It’s a very complicated situation. Simply treating all Uyghurs harshly will not solve the problem, but rather will push those mentioned in Section 4 over to the terrorists’ side.
Translated by Mengyu Dong.
The following reply to Happy张江‘s post was censored by Sina.
崔小平律师: If everyone really had a sense of citizenship to a single country, there would be no opposition among different ethnic groups. // @薛明波: // @丷沄農夫: Make correct distinctions, avoid making more enemies // @一之黑亚离子: “Uyghur” is not the same thing as “Muslim”; “Muslim” is not the same thing as “terrorist.”
Another Weibo user commented on the the Soviet ethnic policy that influenced China’s:
吴钩：Lenin and Stalin came up with the most idiotic ethnic policy in all of history. All modern multi-ethnic nations do everything possible to temper the differences among various ethnic groups in effort to create a political nationality based on citizenship, like the United States. But the Leninist-Stalinist approach is the complete opposite—do everything in your power to highlight all the nominal and political differences between the various ethnic groups. Even if you look at the issue from the standpoint of a ruler, this approach is baffling.
Weibo user 民主法治博爱‘s question about security measures in Kunming was censored by Sina:
民主法治博爱: Situated within a one-kilometer radius of the Kunming Railway Station are the following organizations: the Kunming Railway Police Department; the Railway Station Squadron of the Kunming Transportation Police and the Beijing Road Police Station. Additionally, there are members of the Armed Police and other security personnel stationed at the railway station, plus, heightened security due to the ASEAN Expo and the Two Sessions… Here’s my comment: With this kind of security, if you have individuals carrying huge knives—even if the knives are hidden—if there are a dozen or so individuals wearing the same strange black clothing, shouldn’t they have been intercepted and interrogated much earlier? Can any relevant departments provide an explanation?
Translated by Little Bluegill.