On air: Your questions about the violence in China

ChinaWe can see by looking online that you’re interested in this story, and your questions and discussions are more about wanting to know more about the people and places involved, than about the rights and wrongs. So we’ll have a panel of experts ready to answer your questions about the violence between Han Chinese and Uighurs in the city of Urumqi. Please post them here.

68 Responses to “On air: Your questions about the violence in China”

  1. July 7, 2009 at 14:45

    What interests me is to know is how many and what parallels can be drawn to the Uighurian uprising and the the massacre of Tienanmen. How is it, that it was televised in the first place? Didn’t the Chinese media stop it in time? If I were an oppressing party official, I’d stop the divulgation of those pictures right away. What happened behind the scenes?

  2. 2 Chris in Ohio
    July 7, 2009 at 15:00

    If this precious little information is what is allowed – or simply not prevented – from seeping out of China’s political vacuum, what greater atrocities are being perpetrated that the BBC, CNN, and other news sources are simply unable to discover, verify, and report?

    • 3 SC Peter
      July 7, 2009 at 15:54

      China will always lose. Let in the media they get dammed if they do and dammed if they don’t .

  3. 4 Methusalem
    July 7, 2009 at 15:28

    In 1949 the Han-Chinese made up less than 10% in the Xinjiang province. In the year 2000 they are 40%. We saw in places like Kosovo where the West played an important role to save Muslim minorities. Now, will/can the West do the same to the Muslim Uighurs, or will this Muslim minority group be the first in history to be exterminated?

  4. 5 SC Peter
    July 7, 2009 at 15:47

    Like Australia where aborigines were forcefully taken from their parents to decimate their kinds. 50 years later the Chinese will apologise for bringing in economic reform and womens rights , education for girls and giving them a quota to help them to get a place in universities. the world can wait 50 years later for a Kevin Rudd to apologise. Chinese are still waiting for an apology from the British royal family for forcing opium to the Chinese

    • 6 RightPaddock
      July 8, 2009 at 08:16

      @SC Peter – It only took 40 years. Taking the children continued until at least 1967, some would argue later. IMO, Keating’s 1992 Redfern speech was delivered directly to the Aboriginal people was a much better than Rudd’s, and the sky did not fall in then either.

      At the time of the Opium Wars Britain was a Constitutional Monarchy with an elected Parliament. It was Prime MInisters Robert Peel, William Lamb, and George Hamilton-Gordon who prosecuted the wars and sent the gunboats up the rivers, not William IV or Victoria. The only institution that can legitimately apologise is the British Parliament via the PM. The Monarchy had relinquished the last vestiges of actual power back in 1701.

      If we applied “your rule” then Major General Michael Jeffery would have delivered the “Stolen Children” apology that Rudd delivered last year.

  5. 7 Anthony
    July 7, 2009 at 15:48

    I think it’s funny that when Ireland kills a couple of Englishmen it’s ALL OVER THE NEWS, TV, Internet, Newspaper. When it’s in China I barley hear or see anything about it. Why is this? Because they aren’t White? Because they are Muslim? It’s just odd that SO many Chinese Muslims died, yet its barley raised any flags.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  6. 8 gary
    July 7, 2009 at 15:49

    The China we in the west see is actually a small, wealthy country living within the borders of a very large, poor country. The government well recognizes this dichotomy and as well the importance of its maintenance. Cheap labor stokes the fire under their pot of gold and they will do anything to keep the lid on. Chinese government policy in these matters has been to deflect, destroy, and deny. They’ve already suggested a US connection for the Uighur discontents. Soon the tanks will roll in, peace will reign, and shortly thereafter, the average wealthy Chinese citizen will angrily deny anything at all ever happened.

  7. 9 Anthony
    July 7, 2009 at 15:58

    I think it’s funny that when people in Ireland kill a couple of Englishmen it’s ALL OVER THE NEWS, TV, Internet, Newspaper. When it’s in China I barley hear or see anything about it. Why is this? Because they aren’t White? Because they are Muslim? It’s just odd that SO many Chinese Muslims died, yet its barley raised any flags.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

    • 10 Dawn
      July 7, 2009 at 16:28

      ”’? It’s just odd that SO many Chinese Muslims died, yet its barley raised any flags.

      -Anthony, LA, CA”

      It is just odd that SO MANY Chinese HAN citizens killed by Chinese Muslims, yet people like to lie about the truth and say the reverse.
      Juse because it is China, anyone against Chinese is righteous.

  8. July 7, 2009 at 16:13

    It seems that the Chinese authorities is still using brutal repression to silence any dissidence. It’s no wonder that other brutal regimes in Asia, especially in North Korea and Burma feel protected by Beijing.

    Why does there seem to be a conspiracy of silence on the part of the international community, especially the EU and the USA? Do they consider the events in the city of Urumqi as purely internal matter?

    How effectively is China a united country in view for calls for independence and autonomy in some of its regions?

    The city of Urumqi doesn’t have internet access. What’s the political implication of this?

    Is the tension between Han Chinese and Uighurs in the city of Urumqi ethnic or religious as Uighurs are Muslims?

    How credible is it that there are terrorists among Uighurs, a claim used by the Chinese authorities to clamp down on any protest by them?

    • 12 Brian from Ca.
      July 7, 2009 at 17:34

      To Abdelilah: Really enjoy your posts!
      From my perch, China has fundamental problems, 300 million along the coast doing comparatively well economically (Chinamerica, if you will), and the balance of the 2 billion that is not doing so well. So, China has an income distribution problem that amplifies geographic and ethic diversity issues, difficult soil for openness and liberal democracy.
      So, China needs to expand economically to keep the nation glued together. Resources for this growth (and places to stash cash and dacha hideouts) are why China regime (it’s really an oligarchy) supports some of the world’s most repressive governments. It is also why China has the most dramatic economic stimulus package.
      Why are Angloworld and the EU quiet about the problem? We need China to grow and stay whole to help our economies, Chinamerica goes both ways.

    • 13 RightPaddock
      July 8, 2009 at 08:42

      @Abdelilah Boukili in Morocco — Yep its remarkable how similar the Chinese authorities are in their oppression of the Uighers to their Sudanese friends in their oppression of Darfuri’s. Or perhaps the Chinese are taking a lead from the US backed Moroccan authorities, who’ve been oppressing the people of occupied Western Sahara since the 60’s

  9. 14 Peter_scliu
    July 7, 2009 at 16:25

    I think is very funny that the west seems pre occupied with how the Uighurs fair and totally ignored the Han Chinese plight but they showed great concern for the pro democracy movement in Tiananmen. Are the people really that concern . Has this violence against the Han Chinese been encourage by the west indifference to the violence against Han Chinese in tibet and the west failure to condemn it?

  10. 15 steve
    July 7, 2009 at 16:26

    Er, isn’t this another nail in the coffin for the concept of “diversity”? People have inherent suspicions and hatreds of people that are different, this results in murders EVERY DAY OF THE YEAR. It’s time to stop hiding this horrible nature of human beings, let’s admit it, finally.

  11. 16 Jean (zhawn)
    July 7, 2009 at 16:27

    PBS in America reported that cell phone pictures of lynchings of Uighurs in South China were sent back home contributing to the desire to protest. Can you expand on that or shoot it down?

  12. 17 VictorK
    July 7, 2009 at 16:27

    Q1: Does Beijing have a policy of Han ethnic supremacy in Xinjiang? The region is being flooded with Han Chinese, in much the same way as Tibet has suffered decades of demographic warfare in an attempt to destroy its cultural and ethnic identity. Is this a matter of policy or is it driven by the economic opportunities presented by the region’s riches?
    Q2. Whatever its cause, does Beijing have any interest in halting and reversing the Sinicisation of Xinjiang?
    Q3. Xinjiang is rich in natural resources, especially oil and gas. How much do local people (excluding Han settlers) benefit from the exploitation of this wealth?
    Q4. To what extent are Jihadist & Islamist ideologies making headway amongst the Uyghurs, Xinjiang’s largest indigenous group? In Uyghur opposition to Chinese rule what is the balance between religious and nationalist motivations?
    Q5. Pakistan and Afghanistan are two of the countries bordering Xinjiang. Is it possible that Al Quaeda may establish a base in the region?
    Q6. How well would the Chinese regime cope with an ‘Islamist’ terror campaign directed at civilians in places like Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong?

  13. 18 Ramesh, India
    July 7, 2009 at 16:31

    Is there any parallel between the pro government militia in Iran and han chinese?

  14. July 7, 2009 at 16:31

    Your picture in the intro shows a man who looks very different from the stereotyped Chinese image. (Yes, I DO know that there are as many or more looks of Chinese as there are Europeans, Africans, etc.) What is the anthropomorphic history of these people? Have they every controlled their own land, or do they live in a cross-road that has been controlled by more powerful neighbors (like the Chinese today)?

  15. 21 mountain adam in portland oregon usa
    July 7, 2009 at 16:39

    I would like to know how many other ethnic and religious minorities in China
    are treated like this? China is a large country I have to think this happens elsewhere, besides the obvious example of Tibet.

  16. 22 VictorK
    July 7, 2009 at 16:41

    Abdelilah Boukili in Morocco – July 7, 2009 at 16:13 wrote,
    “Why does there seem to be a conspiracy of silence on the part of the international community, especially the EU and the USA?”

    Why do the EU and US have more of an interest in the persecution of Muslims, the demographic robbery of their ancestral land, and the theft of their oil resources by Beijing than the member states of the Arab League and the Organisation of the Islamic Conference?

    Xinjiang is up there with Chechnya and Darfur as conflicts with far more human significance than Palestine that Muslims have always shown complete indifference to.

    There is no Western interest whatsoever in Xinjiang, though there perhaps ought to be a Muslim one. The fact that the region – unlike Tibet – really does appear to be an integral and historic part of China makes this more of an internal matter, though there are still questions that it would be interesting to have answers to.

    • July 7, 2009 at 17:15

      To VictorK,
      I am insisting on the role of the EU and the USA because the Arab League and the Organisation of the Islamic Conference are toothless. They can’t solve even problems in their own sphere – that is among member states.

      Personally, I see the West is turning a blind eye to what is taking place in the city of Urumqi because it needs China in other important matters like the nuclear issue in North Korea and Iran.

      China is a vital country for the West. To put it bluntly, its interest lies in Beijing and Shanghai, the spinal chord of economic and political exchange between them and not in in city of Urumqi, an obscure city where there are just protesters and not decision makers with whom it can sign vital contracts.

  17. 24 anu_D
    July 7, 2009 at 16:44

    Violence is bad anywhere but is an unavoiadble fact of life ocassionally in … communities where a mix of diverse cultures/ religions/ sects coexist…esepecially when the levels of economic prosperity and eductaion are low.

    The Chinese violence falls in the same category between the Hans and Uighuirs….and the govt is having to use law enforcements meansures to curb further spread of ethnic violence.

    The situation is no diffrent from Shia/ sunni or Tamil/Sinhalese or Dalit/ upper caste type clashes seen in Middle East and South Asia….or tribal/ ethnic fights in Africa.

    BUT the extraordinary interest in Chinese violence is because of people’s perception( created by the media) ….that this must be human right violation suppressing peaceful demonstrations..because it is China.

    Media is either ignorant or seeking sensationalism in this case.

    Look no further than the other thread on WHYS on this subject….that balatntly attributes this sectarian violence to communism ( ignorance) and labels it as an example of China’s human right violation ( more ignorance)
    …..not fair to China here

    a_D in Kuwait

  18. 25 globalcomedy
    July 7, 2009 at 16:52

    In the States, how’s this for perspective. Today it’s all day coverage of Michael Jackson’s memorial. Other things like China, Iraq? Who cares about that?

  19. 26 LagCam
    July 7, 2009 at 16:56

    Some facts here might help you know more about this incidents in Xinjiang,
    1, Most of poeple died are chinese Han people.
    2, Those protesters are from outside of Urumqi, not from this capital city where they protested.
    3, Han people always are in disadvantage situation when they conflict with Uighurs, here in Urumqi, also same in others cities in China.
    4, China will fight against any speration attempts in Xinjiang, Tibet etc.

  20. 27 Brian from Ca.
    July 7, 2009 at 17:00

    Many places of intersection between Muslims and other peoples seem to be major points of conflict, Darfur, Lebanon, Palestine, Kashmir, Chechnya, Abhazia, Bosnia and now Xinjiang. While I am not saying anything disparaging and deeply respect Muslims and their faith, is there a mode of thinking in some branches of Islam that may lead to these outcomes? If so, what is to be done? How can we ease tensions at these points of intersection between peoples?

    • 28 anu_D
      July 7, 2009 at 17:12

      Education, slowing the popoulation growth and economic prosperity eases the inter-comunal tensions.

      when there are more people, less literacy and from diverse religions ( especially if one those is militant in nature)….the flash points are quite low

  21. July 7, 2009 at 17:17

    China needs democracy! Enough with the MJ coverage. Focus on real news not on MJ. People are being killed in China. This is truly horrible.

  22. 30 VictorK
    July 7, 2009 at 17:17

    @anu_D: your analysis is disingenuous. If the Uyghurs understand one thing it’s this: they are on the way to becoming a minority – FOREVER – in their own ancestral region. The number of Han Chinese in Xinjiang is almost on a par with the number of Uyghurs. And Xinjiang is not a region that Han Chinese are native to. I’m sure you’d have no difficulty understanding, say, Palestinian resentment at successive waves of European Jews settling in a land that they (the Palestinians) regarded as theirs. This is, for the Uyghurs, a matter of national survival; don’t trivialise it as being a mere law and order issue or just another bout of ethnic violence.

    The Beijing dictatorship are either political incompetents or unscrupulous racists (or maybe both). They’d have no difficulty at all in holding onto Tibet and Xinjiang if they were ready to respect and maintain the established cultures and ethnic identities of those places. But they seem incapable of trusting those who are not ethnically Chinese, hence their policy in both cases of destroying the local people through an engineered inundation of Han Chinese settlers.

    The Uyghurs are right to fight for their national existence against invaders.

  23. 31 VictorK
    July 7, 2009 at 17:31

    @Brian: I doubt it.

    Re your examples: Darfur- both sides are Muslim; Lebanon – a critical factor is interference by Syria and Iran; Palestine – the PLO, the standard bearers of the Palestinian cause, has always been mainly secular – as strange as it may seem Israel surreptiously encouraged the growth of Hamas as a less formidable religious rival to Fatah (and are now getting their reward); Chechnya – a Muslim land annexed by Russia and forced to remain a part of it by violence; Ab[k]hazia – a conflict that would have been impossible without Russian involvement; Bosnia – Serb imperialist aggression against Muslims; Xinjiang – an ethnic conflict in which Han Chinese colonisation is a driving force; and Kashmir – the only one of your examples for which Islam can arguably be blamed.

    Because people involved in a conflict are Muslim isn’t in itself a reason for blaming Islam.

  24. 32 anu_D
    July 7, 2009 at 17:35

    Hello Vicotr K,

    Other than propoganda what validation would you present to your theory of “Evil Chinese Govt forcing minoritization of ethnic Uyghurs”.

    and why are you making it sound as if Uyghurs are living in a separate nation….there is no parallel to eitehr Palestine or tibet here.

    As I said it is easy for minds clouded with pre-determined contempt for Chinese models…to turn every thing into a govt conspiracy of suppression…and hence communism is evil

  25. 33 VictorK
    July 7, 2009 at 18:04

    @Abdelilah: publicity – even without executive capacity – can make a difference in these situations. And the Chinese leadership are unusually sensitive, for dictators, regarding what’s said about their country. If it cared, the Muslim world could play a role in this, even if not a decisive one. It doesn’t care. If it did, far from being toothless oil sanctions and the termination of contracts in places like Sudan would soon get the Beijing dictatorship’s attention. V.S. Naipaul identified the root of the problem: Islam has effected an imperialism of the mind, whereby only the things that affect and matter to Arabs are considered important (Palestine, Iraq), and are to be considered important by non-Arab Muslims too. The concerns of non-Arab Muslims are of little or no importance (Afghanistan, Kashmir, Chechnya, Pakistan, Bosnia, Kossovo, Somalia, Xinjiang)

    I think Western governments have learned important lessons from Iraq and Afghanistan, lessons which Muslim protest helped teach, about not getting involved in matters that don’t concern them. Xinjiang isn’t our concern. I don’t see any difficulty between wanting to co-operate with China on things like N. Korea and Iran, and bringing pressure to bear – if appropriate – on Xinjiang.

    • July 8, 2009 at 23:58

      To VictorK,
      I enjoy reading your anti-Arab and anti-Muslim comments. Sometimes you hit the nail on the head, others, you miss many essential points.

      But I assure you the stereotype notions you have about the Arabs and the Muslims aren’t general. There are also some Muslims ignorant of Western culture who consider Westerners immoral and totally lacking spiritual values. They are doomed to hell after death. I mean there is ignorance on both sides.

      You said, “Xinjiang isn’t our concern.”
      I assure you very few Muslims are aware that Xinjiang is predominantly Muslim. So far there are just protests in which each side claims to be right. They are considered as internal matter.

      The lessons the West seems to have learnt from Muslims is that it’s adventurous to intervene militarily in any Muslim country about its social and cultural structure it knows very little. Like any people they abhor being ruled by despots; at the same time they can never accept to be ruled by a power that doesn’t at least share their religion. As you know, the slogan used by the Islamist militants was Iraq and Afghanistan were occupied by the infidels. The term infidel had more resonance than the promises by the Western powers that they were there to liberate them.

  26. 35 Nate, Portland OR
    July 7, 2009 at 18:11

    I’d like to second VictorK’s question list, especially 1-3.

    I’d like to hear an acknowledgement from your pro-Han Chinese guests that government sponsorship of massive immigration of Han to non-Han parts of China, combined with preferential treatment of the Han immigrants, is extremely threatening to the non-Han natives. They’ll have their explanations and mitigating factors for it, which I’d like to hear as well, but I’d love to hear them at least acknowledge the legitimacy of the non-Han fear and anger – if not the legitimacy of the violence.

  27. 36 Andrew in Australia
    July 7, 2009 at 18:15

    It is all about resources and land. Nothing more than China’s desire to posses land on its Western frontier particularly as it contains mineral wealth. We discourage expansionist policies of other ‘undesirable’ nations who have tenuous claims on land areas and will displace the indigenous inhabitants or flood the land with immigrants. The Indonesians have done it in resource rich West Papua, the Israelis have done it on occupied land to name just two examples. Chinese officials or guests will focus on the terrible Uigars, but I suspect the fact that mass migration to the area which exacerbates this problem does not figure into the equation.

    Money, money, money – that’s what it is all about and China has shown little regard for human rights so do not expect any concern from the communists about what is going on.

  28. 37 steve
    July 7, 2009 at 18:16

    Given the seriousness of what is happened, and the completely opposite viewpoints of the guests, I would imagine it would be difficult to transition to Michael Jackson coverage when something so serious is going on in the world. It almost makes a mockery of the daily suffering that happens in the world when you talk about a dead celebrity.

  29. 38 steve
    July 7, 2009 at 18:21

    If you replaced the words Han Chinese with Israel, and and uigher with Palestinian, BBC would be covering this story nonstop for weeks on end, but since it isn’t, the story gets shared with Michael Jackson’s tribute ceremony.

  30. 39 Brian from Ca.
    July 7, 2009 at 18:25

    Isn’t settling Han Chinese similar to the Czar’s policy of settling Cossacks on the perimeter of Russia into order to expand it’s Empire in the 18th and 19th centuries?

  31. 40 Andrew in Australia
    July 7, 2009 at 18:30

    The Chinese government are systematically bulldozing Uigar culture, destroying much of what exists much the same as they had done during the cultural revolution.

    One suspects that were the Uigars not Muslims then the rest of the world would be raising more objections to China’s actions. If they were Christian or some other denomination at least, then the US in particular would not stand for this cultural genocide. Think of the uproar over the Bamiyan buddhas. This is being lost with very little attention being paid to it.

    • 41 Vera the international mongrel
      July 8, 2009 at 00:43

      I just got back from travelling in Xiniang (Kashgar, Moustaga Mountains, Yongke, Turfan, Urumuqi…) and have learned a great deal about the people and the regison. The link below are photos and thoughts from Xinjiang I posted on Facebook.

      I was in the People Square talking to the friendly locals Uyghurs, Hui and Han a few days before the clashes.


      I am saddened by the deadly clashes.

      Even out of China’s 55 ethnic minorities, the 8 million or so Uyghurs stand out for being particularly un-Asian. They are not like the southeast Asian peoples of Yunnan, or the recognizably east Asian Manchu or Mongolians of the northeast. The Uyghurs are not even like Tibetans, with whom the Han at least share some ethnic/linguistic ties. No, in Xinjiang, when you look around and see the Muslim Turkic Uyghurs, you wonder whether you’re in China at all, or should be. The Uyghurs look Central Asian, dress Central Asian, eat Central Asian and act Central Asian. And the Uyghurs are not the only Central Asian people in Xinjiang. Around the city of Tashkurgan near the Pakistani border is a population (40,000 or so) of Tajiks, at home in the high Pamirs. Just north, and near the border with Kyrgyzstan is a large Kyrgyz population (160,000 or so) tending to their livestock from their yurts. Further north, around Urumqi, is a large population of Kazakhs (1.25 million or so). There are even some Uzbeks about. Xinjiang is, in many ways, squarely a part of Central Asia, albeit one that is within the borders of the Chinese republic.

      As unlikely a part of China as Xinjiang is, at least ethnically/culturally, there doesn’t really seem to me to be a realistic hope of Uyghur independence–China is much too strong and the Uyghurs do not even have the outside sympathizers that Taiwan and Tibet have. Also, despite the dissimilarities between the Han and the Central Asian people of Xinjiang, the historical ties between the Uyghurs and the Chinese are ancient. Living as they do due west of “core” China, right along the ancient Silk Road, the Uyghurs have had contact with China for thousands of years and were not only part of the same Mongol empire (the Uyghurs were central to the administration of Mongol-ruled China) but have been part of China since the 18th century. Even though the Uyghurs are Turkic, practice Islam and write in an Arabic script, this long history together means that, as one Uyghur man put it to us, the Uyghurs are “used to living with them,” them being the Han Chinese.

    • 42 RightPaddock
      July 8, 2009 at 10:32

      @Andrew in Australia – similar Buddhist artefacts were destroyed in Ghanzi prior to the ones in Bamiyan, more recently, in 2007, others were destroyed in the Swat valley. Yet I’ve never seen, heard or read any mention these in the media.

      The ones in Bamiyan got all the attention because the Taliban created a media circus over their destruction, whereas with the others they just go about their evil business and the media utters not a word. Were Bamiyan’s twin Buddha’s, in the eyes of the Taliban and Al-Qeada at least, symbolic of the WTC’s twin towers.

      A US citizen stood beside his soldiers and watched Baghdadis destroy their national museum and library in 2003. Not a single finger did he or his soldiers lift to stop the destruction, instead he told us “this is war, stuff happens”.

      The Baghdad museum was arguably not important, built as it was by the British only 80 years before, nevertheless there was much angst over it. The library had existed variously for a 1,000 years or more. I believe it had books which survived Hulagu (Genghis’ grandson) Khan’s invasion in 1258 . Yet its destruction scarcely rated a mention in the Western media.

  32. 43 Steve in Boston
    July 7, 2009 at 18:47

    Well, if as VictorK says, the Uyghurs are on the rampage for their national survival, then let the Chinese do what they must to restore peace and order, and may the best side win.

    Small “s” steve is correct–this is the ultimate result of liberal diversity when times get tough. I don’t know how many times I’ve posted that the “melting pot” is the way to go, but consider it posted once again.

  33. 44 Tom D Ford
    July 7, 2009 at 18:54

    The west seems to pronounce Uighur as “We-ghur” but that Uighur woman pronounces like “Oy-ghur”.

    The “Terrorist Uighurs” in Guantanamo were Christians but those in China are being called Muslims, what is the reality?

    Now, as an aside about changing reality; before the US invaded Afghanistan the Taliban had almost eradicated opium poppy growing, but now the Taliban is being accused of making money from growing opium poppy, so what is the truth here?

    • 45 Tom K in Mpls
      July 8, 2009 at 03:14

      As for the Taliban, I suspect both are true. When faced with the need for cash, morals are often put aside.

    • 46 RightPaddock
      July 8, 2009 at 11:06

      @Tom D Ford – I would guess the Taliban stopped the growing of opium due to over supply and declining prices, an MBA might call it strategic supply rationing.

      Some Uighur were let out of Gitmo a few years ago and sent to Albania precisely because they were Muslims, as are most Albanians. I believe they’ve not done too well and the Albanians have let it be known that they don’t want any more.

      I suspect Gitmo’s saying those that remain are Christians to placate the German public. The Murky Angel has an election in a few months, re-settling former terrorist suspects may not down too well with her public, especially if their Muslims. Let’s not forget that the 9/11 terrorists lived in Hamburg before going to the US.

      Perhaps the ones that remain have converted to Christianity. That’s apostasy, if they were from a hard line Islamic state rather than China then I think they could get a death sentenced in absentia for doing that.

  34. 47 Melissa
    July 7, 2009 at 19:09

    I agree with VictorK. To put it plainly, the Chinese government is clueless about justice. The Chinese government has shown repeatedly that it is intolerant, murderous, and racist.

    The Uighur demonstration dwarfs the invasion and occupation of Tibet, and the mass murder of Tibetans by Han Chinese. Do not forget their kidnapping and probably murder of the next designated Tibetan Buddhists’ Dalai Lama when he was just a small child.

  35. 48 Hao in Tokyo
    July 7, 2009 at 19:13

    As a native Chinese, I think I can tell some of you the real situation in China.
    First I have to say the riot in China is really horrible and sad news to me, and actually to all the Chinese people. But some facts may help you understand what exactly happened in my country:
    The victims in this event are Han Chinese and most of the people being killed are just innocent residents in that city, not the protesters. So don’t attach some topics like human right or democracy to this event. This is completely a series of murders, not what you imagined, or in some sense, what you want.
    I am a han Chinese and I have friends from minorities. I don’t think that the minorities in China are ever unfairly treated and actually we have preferential polities towards the minorities,say, on education.
    It is ridiculous that some people just set their eyes on those negative parts of China and use “brainwash” on we Chinese who say something good to our country. Well I am studying in Tokyo now and I am able to obtain information from various source, and the fact is that to most of Chinese living in China is comfortable and free. And you can find critical comments to the authority in Chinese websites as well.
    One last thing I wanna say, Xingjiang is no question a part of China, so is Tibet.

  36. 49 Bert
    July 7, 2009 at 19:22

    Politically correct western people have to be mighty hypocritical to take either side in this latest conflict. Imagine how unseemly it would be for such people to apply the same principles, for instance, to the decreasing Anglo population in states like California, New Mexico, and Texas. Should we expect riots there as wel now, in the face of invaders from South of the border? Are we to expect and condone a “fight for national existence against invaders” in those states?

    China, like Japan, is hardly a place where the propagandish mantra “celebrate diversity” exists, as it now does in most of the West. Perhaps this is more comparable to what happened last year in Gerogia. There too, immigrant waves of ethnic Russians, over the years, have changed the demographics of the region. In my view, it’s highly debatable whether Sakashvili’s offensive was warranted. Those who think the West should stand with the Uighurs must believe that the Han should move out of Xinjiang, ethnic Russians out of Georgia, and I’ll let you guess about Hispanics in the three aforementioned states of the US.

    Does anyone know what happened to the Etruscans? Nothing! They basically merged with the Romans, and you can still meet their descendents in Tuscany today. Amazing how this stuff can happen.

  37. 50 anu_D
    July 7, 2009 at 19:52

    Hao in Tokyo…your words merely validate my fundamental and first analysis posted on this situation.

    However your words may not matter to thoe pre-decided and conditioned China basher…..pronounced guilty of human rights….regardless of the evidence or lack of it….and hence communism is evil.

    and don;t be surprised if you get dismissed as an agent planted by the Chinese Govt 🙂

    For similar reasons half my posts ( inconveniently against the flow of western ideas)….don;t make it pass moderation

  38. 51 SMB
    July 7, 2009 at 20:17

    I was in Kashgar several times in the early 90s. Uighur and Chinese communities were wholly segregated. There seemed to have been collaboration and dispersal of privilege on the party level however. Uighur institutions, as schools or cultural institutions were systematically referred to as “minority” (xyz) institutions. China extends infrastructure and and a “way of life” into a part of the world, which feels culturally distinctly closer to other parts of Central Asia. My impression was that the Han Chineese were perceived as a entirely alien element by the majority population, which had all reason to fear that on the long term demographics would settle their fate as a distant, but homogenized Chinese province. Army and administration are perceived as occupying powers. I think it is somewhat embarrassing that Western media take a somewhat detached view of the situation in Xinjiang, as these realities have been festering for decades and are related and similar to what has been the fate of Tibet. Even during my few visits, there were instances of violence, including the bombing of a government buildings – there was no talk of Islamic extremism yet.

    Kind regards, SMB

  39. 52 VictorK
    July 7, 2009 at 20:57

    steve July 7, 2009 at 18:21, wrote “If you replaced the words Han Chinese with Israel, and and uigher with Palestinian, BBC would be covering this story nonstop for weeks on end, but since it isn’t, the story gets shared with Michael Jackson’s tribute ceremony.”

    I have to agree. Xinjiang – along with the DRC of Congo, Darfur, Chechnya and Somalia – is one of the topics I have repeatedly called attention to. Collectively they’ve received less coverage than Israel-Palestine, even though (with the possible exception of Xinjiang) many more people have died in a single given year in any one of those countries than in the last 10 years of the Israel-Palestine saga. Why is Israel-Palestine considered to be a ‘crucial’ (???) issue, and the others non-issues, despite an aggregate death toll running into the millions?

    The media do more than just cover the news: they decide what is news, often on very un-newsworthy criteria (e.g. Jackson).

    July 7, 2009 at 21:02

    We have of late been talking about democracy and chiding dictators. Given the increase in protests that have been noted in many places, can we also ask ourselves whether there is a chance that there is also a new phenomenon of neo-dictatorship of and by the masses?

    There seems to be a neo democracy too which might change our reasoning and even annihilate both the sate and democracy itself. Some are for theocracy and others are against it(no mention of democracy). Its no more a case of one system inheriting another but toppling of one order to a totally new order that we know nothing about. Is there something like absolute freedom for any individuals or a self groomed group of people.

    Self regulation can be dangerous if the recent banking crisis is something to gawk about. For the first time, I have learned that there is something more than just somebody beeing refered to as purely a Chinese. What is Hans/Uighurs and what is wrong with the CHINESE now?

  41. 54 Thomas Murray
    July 7, 2009 at 22:19

    The Obama Administration has fielded the idea of resettling some Uramqi from Guantanamo back to China.

    Talk about yer throwing gasoline on the fire!

    –Lou., KY, US.

  42. 55 Roberto
    July 7, 2009 at 23:09

    RE “” So we’ll have a panel of experts ready to answer your questions “”

    ———– This some minor bloodletting compared to all the thousands of years of massive upheavals in Chinese history.

    1. I’d like to know what the ethnic demographic breakdown in the area was 100 yrs ago compared to today.

    2. What was the approximate time that the majority of Han moved into the area.

  43. 56 Tom (of Melbourne)
    July 8, 2009 at 07:13

    The Uigurs are a turkic nomadic group with no fixed settlement, who historically have ranged throughout the Central Asian region. As a strategically important part of the ancient silk road, the present day Xinjiang region has historically been a crossroad of a rich mix of cultures. Various kingdoms and empires have laid claim over the region throughout the ages, including among them the Kyrgyz, Kazakhs and Tang Chinese. Some of these cultures have been lost through time – eg. the Greco-Bactrians.

    So to answer some of the questions laid out before:

    Yes, the Xinjiang area have been settled and resettled by a myriad of cultures, not limited to the Uigurs.

    No, the nomadic nature of the Uigurs mean that Xinjiang is not their ancestrial homeland, but rather their current place of settlement. This is similar to the Gypsie people having no claim to ancestrial homeland over Europe.

    Yes, the Chinese have had a long and rich historical link to this region since the Tang Dynasty (618 AD – 907 AD).

    Yes, the Uigur people are currently on the poorer end of the wealth spectrum in an economically active region.

    Yes, the Uigur culture, along with all other cultures, Han and non-Han, within Communist China, has being constantly undermined in the name of modernisation.

  44. 57 Saut
    July 8, 2009 at 09:30

    I am not surprised that the pro-Han Chinese commentators here are happily explicating without realising that this BBC WHYS website and its British connection could be the source of both insight and record of experential management of secessionist struggles.
    I see parallels and similarities of the Uighur to the Irish struggle for independence. What was won by the sword in ancient times can be overturned in this modern age when the conquering powers demonstrated ineptitude in fair-dealing and tolerance of the subjugated people’s culture. The burden of benevolence falls on the conquerors. Because subservience amd meekness of the subjugated is the expectation and objective of the conquerors.
    Could the Uighur problem be solved the Irish way? Independence for the Uighurs.

  45. 58 Ezmet
    July 8, 2009 at 11:51

    I think this unprecedented protest was triggered by the impotence of the chinese governments to fail to interfere the violence which was taken place in Shao guan in Guang dong province concerning the uyghur workers at a toy factory, thousands of thousands of chinese stormed into uyghur workers’ dorms to attck them. You can check it out how cruel a nation can be as chinese they are, go to youtube.com and type in ” uyghur worker” you will see some disturbing videos ever taken. Well, it’s a universal force that an amount of force put into a place= same amount of force bouncing back, you can not repress people forever, there’s a limit

  46. 59 RightPaddock
    July 8, 2009 at 12:37

    I heard that the current troubles were sparked by the rape of a Chinese female in Guangzhou province by some Uighur men, who were subsequently murdered by local vigilantes, the vengeance has since spiralled out of control.

    I have no idea whether or not the rape took place, but that doesn’t matter, the people in Shao Guan obviously believed it did happen..

    I can’t help thinking about would happen if some Chinese men raped a local woman in some Muslim countries. The woman could be killed by her family in order to preserve their honor, whilst the rapists could pay some blood money and serve a year or two in prison. I can’t make anything sensible of that either.

    I also wonder how much of the tension in the south has to do with the 20 million Chinese factory workers who’ve lost their jobs in recent months. I imagine Cantonese speakers in Guangzhou might easily regard Uighur speakers from XnXiang as a foreigners. perhaps I’ll hear someone speak to that.

  47. 60 Dinka Aliap Chawul,Kampala-Uganda
    July 8, 2009 at 13:31

    It`s good that so called Hands-Chinese had experience and understood how it like to be violently confronted by a brutal massive crowds because of what you are, so please aware your gov`t of its consequences & dangers of ethnic cleansing inorder to take off it nose in …..Sudanic affairs in Darfur particularly……!!!!!!?

  48. 61 qwerty133
    July 8, 2009 at 14:40

    The Chinese commie dictators hold on power by killing, killing their own people followed by killing other ethnic groups. Chinese settlers in Xingjiang no doubt are benefited through the colonialisation process therefore won’t hesistate to lend their support to the regime and hence paid the price.

    • 62 Chen
      July 16, 2009 at 13:02

      Totally agree, especially the “paid price” analysis. So basically you are saying that the 3000 victims of 9-11 “benefited” from the US middle east policy and therefore “paid” their price? Have you been talking to Osama? He said the same thing.

  49. 63 Tom K in Mpls
    July 8, 2009 at 14:59

    It is looking like a situation with no good answers created by invading politicians. It seems no different from when the British Empire took three smaller countries and created Iraq. The fun will never end.

  50. 64 Shivanshu Goswami
    July 8, 2009 at 19:33

    Are these riots religious in nature? (Xinjiang is bordered by Kashmir, Pakistan and Afghanistan) Or is this a struggle between ethnic groups?

    If the riots are religious, then can this force China to reverse its stand on islamic terrorism in Kashmir?

  51. 65 Momtaaz Jung
    July 8, 2009 at 23:46

    correction >> “removed to Eastern Han provinces”

    Momtaaz Jung

  52. July 12, 2009 at 09:09

    Looking into large Modern Downtown Mosques into Major cities like Beijing Shanghai and Hong Kong belongingt to Prosperous Chinese Muslims and finding Uighur working in Han area Toy factory with factory labour law Dispute in Guangdong (about 200 Kms from Hong Kong away from three thousands kilometers away Turkistan).This Xingjian which is original central Asian Turkic Arabic alphabets Uighur bordering central Asia Mongolia Pakistan Afghanistan IH Kashmir .Xingjian has its own thousands of Mosques and distinctly Muslim Central Asian Territory Character( minus Hans gimmick brainwashing) .Like Jews (Israelis )waking up 3000 yrs later ransacking Christian – Muslim Palestine acquiring free stuff (90% land and their thing) their counterparts Hans were thing of the past. After Han Dynasty came Jin, HU. N.S. Tang ,Kings, Songs, Republic of China Modern growth Dynasties .They are awakening to acquire Like Israel Japan India G20 summit (Oil Car based economy Stimulus package)trampling Muslim Property every where. There are more than 100 million Chinese (not Uighur) Muslims are out there (unaccounted).Attempt to put the clock back like Hindu Buddhist Jews and Christians while Attempt to acquire Afghanistan Iraq Iran Oil blaming Pakistan Alqaida for own failure and Truth is wishful thinking by G20 Bunch summit group leaders which PM Hu Jiato had cut short to return to China.This is Uighur crisis developed near Hong Kong .

  53. 67 Chen
    July 15, 2009 at 22:55

    What does the media call a group of people killing civilians and bombing buses for political goals? It depends.
    In Isreal/Palestine, they are called Hamas;
    In Spain, they are called Bask separatists;
    In Northern Ireland; they are called Irish Republic Army
    In the US, they are called 9-11 terrorists
    In Xinjiang, they are called peaceful protestors and freedom fighters.

  54. 68 Chen
    July 16, 2009 at 00:20

    To all pro-china, pro- Han, defenders of dictatorship: the answer to all China’s troubles is the lack of democracy. These kind of ethnic issues will never happen inthe Western democratic contries. See, there are no riots of the abriginals in Australia, because they speak do not their language any more. Also, there are no killings of white civilians by the Indians in the US because all the native Americans are so satisfied with their well protected culture and busy enjoying their equal economic prosperity. Anyone who has gambled in the Idian reservation will tell you this. if there are occational riots such as the one in LA, those events are totally diferent from what happened in Xinjing. we the European immigrants and their descendants have democracy on our side, so we don’t have to be ashamed of what happened to the natives and we got to keep and enjoy what we gained from the salvages. Unlike the Chinese government, our democratic government have not and do not have any systematic discrimination against minorities, so they have no reason to riot. Just look around how many native americnas are working in Washington DC.

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