Friday, July 10, 2009

Uighur Riot? Revolt? Foreign Separatists? Depends on What You Read

CNN and Radio Free Europe spell it "Uyghur," Reuters, asiaone news and FOXNews use "Uighur," both are efforts to present the name of an ethnic group in the Latin alphabet. I'm using the "Uighur" spelling for now.

Trouble involving Uighurs is nothing new.
"...China's western holdings include Uighur Muslims, a Turkic people who would just as soon not be part of China's regime. Chinese authorities were quiet about killing unruly Uighurs until 9/11 and the 'war on terror' gave them an excuse for their anti-Muslim actions...." (September 4, 2007)
China's government seems to be aware of how trouble in its western territory might affect its image. Foreign reporters have been ordered out of the areas. Out of concern for the safety of the foreigners, officially. (asiaone news)

From the Beijing's point of view, it's already a bit late for that.
"...Chinese authorities say 156 people were killed and more than 1,000 others injured on Sunday after Uighurs took to the street in protest.

"Authorities blamed Uighurs for 'rioting', although exiled Uighur leaders say security forces used disproportionate force in their clampdown and that hundreds of Uighurs may have died...."(asiaone news)
There may be an element of truth in the official version: that the incidents are essentially Uighurs "rioting". Two Uighurs died in a "massive brawl" late last month, between Uighur and Han workers at a toy factor in southern China's Guangdong province. People, including Uighurs, have been moving there, looking for work. (CNN)

China: Executions, Persuasion and Education

It's fairly clear, from news that's getting out, that China's national government is anxious to restore order and a measure of tranquility to its western territories. A Communist Party leader, speaking in Xinjiang Uigur Autonomous Region's capital city, Urumqi, made it clear that he was quite serious about stopping the violence.
"...More than 1,400 suspects have been detained, according to Chinese officials, who have vowed to deal harshly with those involved in Sunday's riot.

" 'For those who brutally killed the other people in the riot, the government will execute them,' Urumqi's Communist Party leader, Li Zhi, said Wednesday.

"China's chief police officer, Meng Jianzhu, said the main instigators 'should be punished with the utmost severity,' while others who were 'provoked' to take part in the riots 'should be given persuasion and education,' according to Xinhua...." (CNN)
Meng Jianzhu's remarks about "persuasion and education" are reported in a July 8, 2009, Xinhua article. There's an excerpt at the bottom of this post.1

Meng Jianzu's assurance that those who were following the lead of others will be "given persuasion and education" would not comfort me, if those to be 'educated' were friends and family. There seems to be a certain lack of transparency and accountability in China's system of government, which allows speculation that the "education" will go well beyond what a western government might call "rehabilitation."

But that's getting into topics like penal philosophies and mind control: which are beyond the focus of this blog.

China and Uighurs: 'It's the Fault of Foreigners'

Judging from his public statement, state councilor and public security minister Meng Jianzhu must be very good at his job. He already knows who is to blame for the violence involving Uighurs.

Foreigners are to blame.

Or, more precisely, "overseas separatists".
"...Meng said that adequate evidence proved that the riot was masterminded and remotely controlled by overseas separatists and it was a serious struggle to maintain national unity against separatism...." (Xinhua)
Presumably Uighurs living in China have had the urge for independence 'persuaded' and 'educated' out of them by now.

I think I understand how important what China's national leaders might call national unity is to them. Without places like Tibet/Xizang province and Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, their domain would be smaller.

Many nations have dealt with threats to national unity. For example, almost a hundred and fifty years ago, under somewhat different circumstances, the dominant northeastern states in America crushed a revolution in the American southeast. In the case of the War Between the States, it took the South about a century - and a new set of national policies - to recover economically.

I hope that Uighurs (or Uyghurs) have a better experience.

Related posts: In the news: Background:
1 I think it's safe to say that what appears in Xinhua's English online edition are views which have been approved, directly or indirectly, by China's national leaders.

"Xinhua reports the news to readers in China and to the world. It also functions as part of a broader information apparatus for China's leaders. The agency 'receives, translates, condenses, and provides analysis of news gathered from all over the world and presents it daily to China's readers...'...." (
"Chinese police chief urges hardline crackdown on thugs in Xinjiang riot"
Xinhua (July 8, 2009)

"China's top police officer on Wednesday urged no leniency in the punishment of thugs who took part in the Urumqi riot.

"Meng Jianzhu, state councilor and public security minister, made the remarks when visiting local residents injured by the rioters and family members of those victims in Urumqi, capital of northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

"In the July 5 riot at least 156 people died and more than 1,000 were injured.

"Leading rioters should be punished with the utmost severity and those taking part in the riot, who were provoked and cheated by separatists, should be given persuasion and education, Meng said.

"Commissioned by the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the State Council, Meng also visited local police officers and members of the Armed Police personnel and mourned for the victims.

"Meng said that adequate evidence proved that the riot was masterminded and remotely controlled by overseas separatists and it was a serious struggle to maintain national unity against separatism...." (Xinhua)

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.