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Violence Escalates in Xianjiang Province

In the west we don’t always have easy access to news coming out of China where the media is kept on a tight leash and forced to make concessions in what they cover in order to get any access at all. Despite this partial news blackout, events in trouble Xianjiang Province are escalating to the point where the Chinese government cannot keep a lid on what is turning into another grim chapter in their long history of human rights abuses.

Xianjiang’s population of mostly muslim Uighurs has been seen as a potentially troublesome minority for decades and in an effort to keep the region under control and protect their access to energy resources, the Chinese government has been encouraging ethnic Han Chinese to move into the area and has been showing favoritism to these settlers over the Uighur natives in employment and providing government services. This has reached the point where the Uighurs have become increasingly ghettoized and demoted to a status as second-class citizens in their own homeland. In the Urumqi, the capital of Xianjiang, ethnic Chinese now outnumber the native Uighurs 7 to 1.

In recent weeks this situation has become more ugly, with riots breaking out in major cities, especially Urumqi. Mobs of Uighurs and Chinese settlers are roaming the streets and meeting in violent clashes while Chinese soldiers look on and make little effort to do more than contain the violence. In one case a Chinese mob caught brutalizing a lone Uighur even attacked an ABC news crew and police and soldiers chose not to intervene.

Exiled Uighur leader Rebiya Kadeer has been accused by the Chinese of inciting the violence, but she maintains that the Chinese are telling only one side of the story and that Uighurs are being forced to respond to violence from the Chinese population who are supported and protected by the government and military.

The current violence was spurred by a June 26th attack on Uighur factory workers in Guangdong province in which at least two Uighurs were killed by Chinese mobs. Protests have spread throughout Uighur populated areas, but protesting Uighurs often face violent reprisals from the more numerous Chinese population. There is certainly violence on both sides in the conflict, but with larger numbers and the tacit approval of the government and military the ethnic Chinese enjoy a considerable advantage. Bands of Chinese vigilantes roam the streets of the cities, attacking any Uighurs who venture out of their ghetto-like neighborhoods.

The extent of the violence is hard to gauge with limited media access to the region, but even the Chinese Xinhua news service admits that hundreds are dead in the last week alone, over 150 of them when Chinese settlers and police attacked a Uighur protest march Urumqi on the 5th of July.

The violence has lead to the Chinese government declaring martial law in Urumqi, a curfew in Xianjiang and Guangdong, rounding up hundreds of suspected Uighur “ringleaders” and barricading Uighur neighborhoods to keep residents contained. Even though most of the violence seems to have been initiated by ethnic Chinese, the response of the police has been to crack down primarily on Uighurs while looking on Chinese vigilante gangs as allies rather than part of the problem.

Amnesty International complains that this recent violence is just the culmination of a long-term government campaign against the Uighurs which began in the 1980s, in which the minority group has been “the target of systematic and extensive human rights violations”, including “arbitrary detention and imprisonment, incommunicado detention, and serious restrictions on religious freedom as well as cultural and social rights.” They describe a situation in Xianjiang which comes close to “ethnic cleansing” or full government-supported genocide.

Other world news and the restrictions on media access to the region have limited the news coverage of events in Xianjiang, but as the violence increases and the Chinese government cracks down and human rights groups become more vocal in their complaints, the problem is becoming too large to ignore or cover up.

About Dave Nalle

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Regarding the issue of Chinese shills, I think we established previously that they are not necessarily Chinese natives. There seems to be a network of communists living outside of China who are sympathetic to China and/or in their pay who do this shilling. As I recall previously many of them seemed to be Australian.

    Either that or the Chinese are good at dummying IP addresses.

    Peter also still has to get around the problem of syntax which is aberrant in a way characteristic of an educated but non-native English speaker.

    Dave

  • Irene Wagner

    Well, Peter, I’m not as “half-breed” as I think, either. My cheekbones look a lot like Cher’s though, and if I wanted to, I could make a hit single about being part-Cherokee just like she did because Its.Cool.To.Love.Native.Americans, who are no longer marginalized.

    People should be able to live where ever they want. If people want to preserve and celebrate their ethnicity by dwelling in “Little Italy” or “China Town,” or “Reservations where one can run casinos and perform rain dances for paying tourists” fine, as long as they aren’t forced to do it by a government. Sometimes poverty and prejudice can keep people trapped in a ghetto, and sometimes people prefer to live in ghettos because that’s their home away from the “Old Country” home.

    Cindy, I believe the founders who wrote the U.S. Constitution were flawed humans who came up with an enduring masterpiece that was bigger than all of them put together. If the US government truly limited its activities to providing security and justice for the people it is supposed to be SERVING, then Americans, and a big chunk of the rest of the world, probably “could just live.” (PS – adorable black feral kitty has been caught. Hisses and piteous mews have been replaced by where the hell-is-my-breakfast howls. And now…I must do Saturday chores.)

  • http://www.EurocriticsMagazine.com Christopher Rose

    The issue of shilling is a complete red herring and just one of the many ways people like Dave try to devalue the opinions of those they disagree with.

    Dave Nalle, the ultimate ideologue, is a shill for his own prejudiced opinions just like everybody else.

    Criticising people’s writing skills is another blatant and crude attempt to attack the messenger rather than the message and should not be taken seriously by any thoughtful commenter.

  • Peter

    To Clavos: I would careless what kind of title people put on me. You can put on me, and I can put on you, but I prefer not to.
    Criticize incorrectly? Then perhaps you approve of what US did to the Native Americans and round them up in reservations?

    To Dave: You can say it your way, I can say it in another: In the world of Entertainment, one need to do something special to differentiate one’s self against others to achieve fame. Cher hyped that part of herself to achieve stardom.

    I believe we should concentrate energy at the topic at hand instead of focusing on character assassinations, witch hunt, wild accusations, or the likes on different voices other than your own group. If you want to go that way, please join politics.

    Problem of syntax/grammar to prove your belief it is a characteristic of an “characteristic of an educated but non-native English speaker”? What about those who just sucks at formal writing, not care to proof read, or just not give a rat’s ass about syntax/grammar? Can we bundle them all up as non-native English speakers? You bias is starting to show.

  • http://blogs.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/sundaysurfer/index.php STM

    Clav, are you up for reading this stuff or would you prefer I wait until Monday to send it when you are less busy?? I’m off home soon, it being 3.45am here.

    Is the bellsouth email best, or the other??

  • Peter

    Irene: If you are so proud of yourself and could do what “cher” did, then why don’t you? I would gladly see that I’m wrong by your actions (not words).

    Perhaps you think that Native Americans were happily participating to live in reservations for you to write that second paragraph? “Sometimes poverty and prejudice can keep people trapped in a ghetto, and sometimes people prefer to live in ghettos because that’s their home away from the “Old Country” home.” Very right, so which is more prevalent toward Native Americans: Poverty, prejudice, or simply got used to live in the land our government designated them to live in and forgotten the ancestral homeland of the past?

  • http://www.facebook.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    *Has been cheerfully noticing Irene’s posts.

  • Clavos

    Then perhaps you approve of what US did to the Native Americans and round them up in reservations?

    That’s exactly what I mean by “criticize incorrectly,” Peter.

    To this day, no Native American is forced to live on a reservation, and many don’t.

    The concept of establishing reservations was a flawed solution to the problem of Native American loss of territory, lost in their wars with the United States, but they are not obligated to live on them, and in fact the reservations have freedoms other Americans don’t enjoy, including autonomy of administration of their territories, freedom from Federal taxation, etc.

    And recently, the Native Americans have found and are exploiting their privileges in very creative and lucrative ways, such as the casinos you mentioned earlier.

    The casino concept has worked so well for the Seminoles here in Florida, for example, that they are now the owners of the entire worldwide chain of Hard Rock resorts, which generates a high five figure income for every man, woman and child in the tribe.

    In short, US treatment of Native Americans, while not stellar, is so far above the repressive, cruel, feudal Chinese society you defend so vigorously, as to be a model of humane treatment in comparison to China.

  • Clavos

    Go, Stan. Any addy works, mate.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    Please can someone fix my comment in 57?

  • http://www.EurocriticsMagazine.com Christopher Rose

    Cindy, I would if I knew what was wrong with it…

  • http://www.facebook.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    Christopher,

    I used a left arrow thingy (less than sign) right where the comment disappears. I forgot I cannot do that here because it’s read as html. If you remove that it should be okay. TIA.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    As interesting as Native Americans are, I thought I would attempt to return this debate to the actual subject at hand, events in Chinese Turkestan. This article at Xinua is its latest attempt to de-legitmize Rebiya Kadeer. Separatism and independence from Chinese domination are indeed issues here – the reason why the regime in Peking ships so many Han Chinese to live in Turkestan – it is attempting to secure its western borders against the many Turkic nations further west. One never knows when these Turkic nations will figure out that by pursuing one Turkic identity together, rather than separately, they will profit from their control of huge stretches of land north of India and south of Russia.

  • http://www.EurocriticsMagazine.com Christopher Rose

    Cindy, no you didn’t!

  • Peter

    To Clavos: “To this day, no Native American is forced to live on a reservation, and many don’t”? This and the next paragraph are an eye opener for me? You are right that reservations are created because of the reasons you wrote, but “they are not obligated to live on them”? So that’s why they voluntarily left their ancestral homelands and moved to the reservations? Let’s take a look at the Act that “voluntarily” let Indians leave their ancestral land to the reservations: The Indian Removal Act.

    And about the Casinos, why don’t you try to find out the negative effects and testimonials of Native Americans about building a casino on the Internet?

    I can tell you that minorities in China also can born than 1 babies unlike the Han. Comment 32 already provided examples of some of the advantages they get as well. They are also exempt from federal tax. Many of their cultures icons and products (akin to dream catcher) are also there in the mainstream Chinese culture. All the minorities are missing is the full autonomy, but they are not in reservations.
    If you expect that every nation on Earth must have their own system akin to what we have, believe what we believe, then you’ll continue to argue such things with me and I get bored easily with such repetitions.

  • Irene Wagner

    To #56 Pete: Asian residents of North American Chinatown don’t all have the same reason for remaining there. Some “First Americans” stay on reservations (not all do) because Native customs have been resurrected along with a desire for tribal cohesion. Some stay because generational poverty following near extermination during US westward expansion is exacerbated by a genetic disposition to alcholism.

    So Peter, I hope you’ve convinced yourself that Uighers and other ethnic and religious minorities (e.g. those who, like Gao Zhisheng, aren’t atheists) should have the freedom to live and congregate where they please in China. After all, if denying these things to Natives in America wasn’t a good thing, it isn’t a good thing for that to happen to minorities in China.

    I’m concerned about human rights in America and China, Peter, and I’m going to be just as charitable as can be and assume that you sincerely share that concern–but you’re about 100 years too late directing it toward the plight of the American Indian. What’s been done there, sadly, has been done.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    Hmmm, okay Christopher. Thanks for trying. I will try to remember what I wrote instead.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    this is what I did

  • http://www.facebook.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    Hi Irene,

    I believe the founders who wrote the U.S. Constitution were flawed humans who came up with an enduring masterpiece that was bigger than all of them put together.

    Bigger than any human, I think, that’s what I see as the problem.

    If the US government truly limited its activities to providing security and justice for the people it is supposed to be SERVING, then Americans, and a big chunk of the rest of the world, probably “could just live.”

    Even with the best possible start, as you suggested, it’s a failure. I don’t see how some people having power over other people will ever work out.

    …adorable black feral kitty has been caught. Hisses and piteous mews have been replaced by where the hell-is-my-breakfast howls. :-)

    I am resolved to being kittyless for some time to come. As it turns out, someone likes the empty nest idea. I have decided to be indulgent as I have also been indulged.

  • Irene Wagner

    Cindy, I believe that a universal, radical, permanent change in human nature is possible. There, I found the common ground, where I can wave goodbye. (To every thing there is a season. A time to have kits, a time to have cats, a time to recover.)

  • http://www.facebook.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    Cindy, I believe that a universal, radical, permanent change in human nature is possible.

    I understand why. I, myself, would settle for an insignificant change in a single opinion of a solitary individual, about now. :-)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Good luck.

  • Peter

    To Irene: I do not have to convince myself as the minorities already do congregate and have the freedom to live anywhere in China for various reasons such as economical. There are many minorities in various Chinese cities, some inter-marry with other ethnic groups.

    Perhaps reservations now have become different than the past. As you clearly said the Native American people are adapting to their situation and made the best use out of it. But you also have pointed out, the process is painful and long, but there are still after effects which you said is a genetic disposition, but I see as the forceful environment factors, such as unemployment, that exacerbate this disposition.

    There is no perfect solution to minorities, in US or in China. But the best we do is to gradually improve them. China already did so for most of its minority group. The strongly religious Uighurs and Tibetans are difficult to live with heterogeneous cultures into their lives, but hey if hundreds of years of reservation life made Native Americans survive, hundreds of year of close living with other ethnic groups can make them more open and accepting of other cultures, not just the Hans but the world, perhaps?

  • Irene Wagner

    Peter — last comment, last paragraph, last sentence. Perhaps.

  • Irene Wagner

    Peter, when you said, “There is no perfect solution to minorities, in US or in China. But the best we do is to gradually improve them,” did you meant the best WE do or the best THEY do?

    I’m all for the gradual approach, but people who live together in societies can improve each other, don’t you think? Why does it have to be one-sided, that diminishes the potential for potential improvement of the society by as much as 50%!

    Anyway, Peter, I’m still going to give you the benefit of the doubt, that whether you are a Chinese or American citizen, you have the potential to recognize and intervene when cruelty is being inflicted, even when the victim is someone with whom you disagree vehemently on ideological matters.

    Would you please read this short article about civil rights attorney Gao Zhisheng who is being tortured, and consider using whatever influence you may have with other Chinese people to help him, and other religious minorities who may be suffering torture in similar ways?

    Thanks a lot Pete! (Sorry if that’s too informal — That’s what I call my little brother who has the same name.)

  • Irene Wagner

    Dave Nalle’s article is about Muslim Uighers, I know. Lest anyone get the idea I don’t care about Muslims and have co-opted this thread to ask you to appeal to the Chinese government on behalf of Gao Zisheng, a member of my own faith, please consider the fact that Gao Zhisheng is a human rights lawyer fighting for the human rights for ALL Chinese, including the Falun Gong whose practitioners are being subjected to ORGAN HARVESTING THROUGH VIVISECTION!!!

    Statement of DAVID KILGOUR, ESQ., FORMER MEMBER OF THE CANADIAN HOUSE OF COMMONS, CO-AUTHOR OF THE ”REPORT INTO ALLEGATIONS OF ORGAN HARVESTING OF FALUN GONG PRACTITIONERS IN CHINA” to Congress:

    “I must also give credit to AI for putting out an emergency bulletin recently about the arrest of China’s most courageous lawyer, Gao Zhisheng, who shares a number of qualities with Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi. Indeed, it was Gao who invited David Matas and myself to investigate the matter of organ seizure of Falun Gong prisoners, although we were not granted visas by China’s Government. It is my intention to nominate Gao for the Nobel Peace Prize, and I would hope that the Members of Congress will do that as well.”

  • Irene Wagner

    Pete, here are some videos of Gao Zisheng speaking in Chinese (with English subtitles for the benefit of most of the rest of us here.)

    Human Rights Lawyer Gao Zheshing’s last interview before his arrest. He was considered a hero of the Communist party before he started speaking out against things the Chinese government preferred him to keep quiet about. Then the torture started. Maybe you’re a Gao Zeshing kind of person, Pete.
    Please help.

    Here’s information on how all of us can try to contact people of influence in China on Gao Zeshing’s behalf.

  • Irene Wagner

    And Ruvy, I will finally speak to you, too.
    For the love of G-D, Ruvy, hold your peace for once.

  • Clavos

    I hope Peter will help you, Irene, but I doubt it.

  • Peter

    To Irene: I mean the best that we all should do. The good thing that I have notice is that both Americans and Chinese have the capacity to improve their shortfalls given time. I truly wish that we can all learn from each other instead of rejecting each other.

    As for Gao Zhisheng, my heart goes to his family for his disappearance. But I do not like how any information is twisted when presented to me. I do not trust government media sources as well as the “free” corporate media sources. There are just too many hidden factors that manipulates the information before we, the common people, get to know them. I will do best to form my own thinking on this issue. One thing that I do know is that no family can be denied to know where their family members are being kept, be it Gao, secret operatives, or whoever else.

    I don’t mind the informal name Irene and thank you too

  • Irene Wagner

    Thanks Clavos. I am not the one needing help. I am embarrassingly safe and happy. Peter may or may not respond, but he is also not the only one reading. Gao Zisheng was tortured for doing good, Clavos. This article seemed like a good place to talk about it.

  • Irene Wagner

    Thank you Pete! Thanks for thinking it over.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    Irene,

    I have become a very big fan of social whatchamajiggy sites. I have recently joined facebook. I like twitter still, it has it’s good points. In fact each one has its own thing it is particularly good for, to me. Twitter is the best for following protests and actions as they happen. Twitter has anarchists on it, but mostly they are ancaps. Facebook has tons of anarchists from all over the world, and I have yet to meet one who is an anarcho-capitalist. I wish I could learn about 5 languages instantly.

    Anyhow, this is a long roundabout way to say 1) we signed the petition, 2) I twittered it and three people retweeted it. and 3) facebook lets a person start a group. For example one could start a group about this particular person, Gao Zisheng. One then can then send out the info to people and suggest they join the group and sign the petition.

    It is just a suggestion you might like. I plan on starting a group that buys livestock for African families who are in need of assistance.

    My URL is set to my facebook account if you are not on there and would like to be. A lot of people would join such a group.

    (P.S. No explanation is necessary if you decline. It is just information you may wish to use.) xxoo

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    And Ruvy, I will finally speak to you, too.
    For the love of G-D, Ruvy, hold your peace for once.

    NO.

    “For Zion’s sake, I shall not be silent and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not be still, until her righteousness emanates as a bright light, and her salvation blazes as a torch” [Yeshaiah/Isaiah 62:1]

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    But, Irene, I ‘ll not carry forth arguments over persecution of Christians from another thread to this one; there is no need. Go in peace and plead the case of your co-religionist.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Gao Zisheng’s religious beliefs are really entirely beside the point. In his case what matters is that his advocacy for human rights was enough to get him tortured and disappeared like thousands before him who tried to do good in the face of institutionalized evil.

    It is much easier to point out ethnic/sectarian violence as I did in my article than to make people understand that the Chinese do this sort of thing to their own people as well.

    Ethnicity, education and past service to the state clearly will not protect you when your activism comes to be perceived as a threat to the established order. In fact, I would guess that the reaction is in many ways more harsh to those who are perceived as traitors like Gao Zisheng than it is for those who are perceived as outsiders like the Uighurs.

    Dave

  • Irene Wagner

    Ruvy in 84. Yeah, ya gotta shout when the Spirit says, “Shout.” Thanks for not ripping on me for talking about Gao. I wish peace for you, too.

    Cindy – Thanks for caring about this. Sometimes a person can feel like a Lost Causes Clearinghouse. But its all about the starfish. :*) Bye for now, Cindy.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tolstoyscat Cindy
  • Clavos

    Cindy,

    You should stop using tinyurl to format your links. That site is notorious for uploading spyware to computers that access it, for which reason millions of savvy users refuse to open their links.

    I would love to watch that film, but can’t.

  • Bliffle

    Clavos,

    Switch to linux.

  • http://twitter.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    Here is the link Clav.

  • Clavos

    Thanks, Cindy.

  • Clavos

    Bliffle,

    It’s not my browser, it’s my firewall (ZoneAlarm), and I can ignore it and proceed, but won’t.

    Tinyurl needs to quit polluting users’ hard drives with crap.

  • Irene Wagner

    CINDY – as to your link, I’m coming up with a name, but you’ll know me when you see me. It won’t be until later on this summer, though. Thanks again!

  • Bliffle

    Clavos,

    You need a different OS, not just a browser or firewall.

    Windows is poisoned with Active-X, which has big holes through which one can drive truckloads of viruses and worms.

    Also, Adobe “Flash” has holes: some windeows security functions were delegated to Flash.

  • Bliffle

    Microsoft migrated the ActiveX code down into the OS so no one who uses windows is safe from ActiveX security leaks.

    ZDnet article

    ZDnet comment A

    ZDnet comment B

  • http://www.facebook.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    Irene,

    :-)

    you’ll know me when you see me

    I am sure I will…