Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Cycle Continues

Almost three weeks after the Xinjiang riots on July 5, the Chinese government is trying to spin the violence that left almost 200 dead as an issue about separatism, not ethnic tensions.

Wu Shimin, vice minister of the State Ethnic Affairs Commission said Tuesday that government policies "had nothing to do with the violent crimes" that occurred in Urumqi, a statement foreign scholars, exiled ethnic leaders and residents of ethnic minority regions disagree with.

The Chinese prefer to look at it from a purely economic point of view, that the Han Chinese have injected billions of yuan into the region and have built it into what it is today, and for some strange reason Uighurs aren't appreciative of the efforts.

The "ungratefulness" comes from preferential policies of hiring Han Chinese over Uighers, or encourgaging Han to settle in Xinjiang, leaving Uighers further behind in getting any benefits from the economic development.

Han Chinese are envious of ethnic minority groups as they are allowed to have more than one child, but Uighers are still vastly outnumbered population-wise in the region.

And although Uighers are supposed to speak, read and write Chinese, the government is now coming out and saying that this minority group is allowed and even encouraged to communicate in Uigher and their culture is being preserved.

Meanwhile, the Uighers' traditional homes that their families have lived in for generations are being demolished because of government's concerns that an earthquake may lead to a high death toll in these old dwellings.

Not everyone believes the propaganda, as many Han in the country don't really buy all the spin.

Many on both sides are blaming Wang Lequan, the party boss in Xinjiang who has been in that position for a long time, under the auspices of President Hu Jintao. They believe Wang waited too long to stop the unrest -- and in fact the police knew of the simmering tensions hours leading up to the actual violence but did nothing to pre-empt it.

When the government continues to take the separatist stand, that the riots were started from exiled dissidents, it shows Beijing refuses to take any kind of responsibility for what happened.

Either the central government is blind, or is in complete denial. Its handling of this tragic incident shows it is following almost to a T how it reacted to the Tibet riots last March. And when a person or group allows history to repeat itself... what does it tell you about him/her/them?

1 comment:

ChopSuey said...

Glad to see you're still reporting on this. It's completely fallen off the Western media radar. Meanwhile, Toronto garbage strike day 30 is today.