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China: Urumqi mass incident and beyond

According to Xinhua latest report (July 6), the violence in Urumqi, capital of northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, has led to at least 140 people dead and 828 injured. The regional government said that the mass incident was masterminded by the World Uyghur Congress. However, Uyghur independent activist explained that the unrest was sparked by anger over a confrontation between Han Chinese and Uyghur factory workers in Shaoguan city.

Shaoguan June 26 riot

So what had actually happened in Shaoguan? According to the Chinese official report, the conflict on 26 of June was caused by a rumor about a sexual assault of Han Chinese woman worker in a factory campus by Uyghur worker. The armed fight between Han and Uyghur workers had led to the death of 2 Uyghurs (some unconfirmed sources said the number of death was up to 18 Uyghurs). The Youtube videos below showed the June 26 riot:



Ethnic policy and hatred

While the Chinese government continued to use western conspiracy theory in addressing the ethnic conflict, Drunken Pig pointed out from a Han Chinese perspective that the Shaoguan incident and other similar ethnic conflicts are a result of government's ethnic policy:

汉人女工被强奸的事情在广东经常发生,但是由于作案者大多能够得到有效处理,很少酿成大规模群体事件。这次因为涉及到维族群体,而且传说是涉案者被政府释放而不受惩罚的事情重复发生之后,才导致大规模群体仇杀。

In Guangdong, sexual assault cases involving Han woman workers are not rare, but in most cases, the criminals would be arrested and would not result in massive gang fight. This time, the case had involved Uyghurs and the rumor said that local government had released the criminal without any punishment. Massive gang fight seeking for revenge thus took place…

这些年的群体事件,大多出于民众对特权阶层的仇恨,而这些特权阶层的背后,都是国家暴力。中国政府的民族政策,把流到内地的维族群众变成了这样一个特权团体,但是同时也剥夺了维族人本该拥有的信仰权和自治权。

Most mass incidents in the past few years were generated by hatred towards the privilege class supported by the State. The ethnic policy of the Chinese government has turned the Uyghur in Han regions into privileged social group, while at the same time, the Uyghur is deprived of their religious freedom and autonomy back home in the northwest region.

Repressing religion freedom

由于中宣部的丰功伟绩,普通民众对其他宗教所知甚少,甚至有些人以为穆斯林不吃猪肉是因为猪是他们的祖宗。无知导致的种种误解…可以说,很多仇恨都是政府的宣传机构煽动出来的…

Because of the propaganda department's achievement, most Han people have very little knowledge and respect of others’ religions. For example some Han Chinese believe that pig is the ancestor of Muslim and that's why they do not eat pork. Ignorance leads to prejudice… Much of the hatred is incited by the government propaganda department …

在广东,虽然有很多维族人,但是你很难看到清真寺。我相信礼拜和祈祷对减少穆斯林的犯罪率是有效的。

In Guangdong, the Uyghur population is quite large, but we have very few Muslim temple. I believe religious activities can lower the crime rate.

那些杀人的汉人,在这次冲突中表现得非常残忍。但是平心而论,他们长期以来是受害群体。在广东,几乎所有的政府部门都护着新疆人。镇压汉人群体事件不会有大问题,但是镇压维族人,会遇到很大的阻力。因此地方政府迫于当地民众压力清理新疆流氓的行动,有时候竟然要借用黑社会和便衣联手的方式。

The Han Chinese engaged in the killing (in Shaoguan) are very cruel. However, they have been suffering from injustice. Local government tends to protect the Uyghur people. In case of mass incident, it is common for the government to repress the Han Chinese, but they would be very careful in handling Uyghur people's protest. Sometimes the government would let the triad society to solve the Xinjian gangster problem.

Social minority and unemployment problem

Uighur online disagreed with Drunken pig's Han centric viewpoint and presented the other side of the story:

成千上万的维吾尔孩子被拐骗到内地毒打虐待做小偷是事实,你们有多少人想到背后的社会问题?一个人、一个民族谁天生愿意做小偷?ZF采取过什么有效的干预措施?在我看来:一部分维吾尔孩子沦为小偷的事实恰恰说明了一个真实的现状:维吾尔人在他们的故乡处于是社会的最下层地位。

Thousands of Uyghur kids were kidnapped and beaten to become thieves in Han Chinese region. Can we say that Uyghur people are natural born thieves? Has the government done anything to help them? The fact that so many Uyghur kids have become thieves indicates that Uyghur people are at the lower strata of the society.

DXXX (account protected) from twitter also pointed out that:

在新疆名义上是维吾尔自治区,但是维吾尔在新疆是弱势民族。仅就汉语的使用,就是当地维吾尔族处于极大的劣势,所有招聘单位都由汉语主导。很多企业排斥招收维吾尔员工。金融、通讯、银行、石油化工,天然气等诸多领域,维吾尔人都是限制。由于政府的歧视政策,造成维吾尔人就业困难。

In theory the Uyghur region is autonomous, in reality Uyghur is social minority in Xinjian. Han Chinese is the dominant language in the job market. Many corporates refuse to employ Uyghur. In sectors such as finance, communication, bank, oil and natural gas, Uyghur people could not enter. Government's discrimination has led to unemployment problem among Uyghur.

Urumqi mass incident

Back to the Urumqi Mass Incident, during the curfew, twitterer zz23377737 experienced 1. electricity cut. 2. disrupted tele-communication 3. non-stop police siren. Several twitterers said that the Internet connection was still cut unavailable this morning in Urumqi.

Below are two videos showing the protest scene:

ESWN has the most updated collection of news and informations on the Urumqi Mass Incident.

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  • http://www.cubiclemuses.com Aaron Farr

    Any independent confirmations on the ethnicity of those killed? Second hand reports from Beijing have told me they’re reporting those killed were Han Chinese.

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  • http://chemhu.blogspot.com/ chemhu

    I bet most of the dead are Han Chinese. How crazy these rioters are!
    Visit my blog, see more brute pictures.

  • Charles Liu

    Lam, do you really think factory fight over rumors started by jilted worker justify the riot and violence?

    BTW, what the Reuters article doesn’t tell you is, Dilxat Raxit and World Uyghur Congress are funded by US government.

    As a tax payer I completely reject my governemnt using my money to foment violence in China.

    • http://www.cubiclemuses.com Aaron Farr

      To be more specific, the Uyghur American Association (a nonprofit US charity) is part of the World Uyghur Congress. The UAA receives funds from the National Endowment for Democracy, another nonprofit US charity. It’s the NED which gets most of its funding from the US Congress. So the connection isn’t quite as direct as Charles suggests.

      • Charles Liu

        Oh please Aaron, don’t insult people’s intelligence by omitting the fact the NED was created by US Congress to overtly conduct what the CIA used to coverly.

    • http://oiwan.wordpress.com/ Oiwan Lam

      From what has been reported by Xinhua, even the Chinese government sees the Shaoguan gang fight as the reason for the initial peaceful protest (around 200 students outside the government building at Urumqi). Why and how the 200 protest turned into riot is yet not clear.

      • the tank man

        xinhua news agency is the loudest mouthpiece of
        the communist party .Even mainland chinese people
        don’t believe in what they publicize. We come
        to globalvoice because we believe it’s a place
        for facts and voices that are yearning to be
        heard.You need a thorough investigation and
        research for a professional news report rather than
        copy and paste broken sentences from
        tabloids.

  • Pingback: Tracking the Urumqi Riots on Drop.io « Rick Martin

  • Pingback: The New Dominion » Urumqi Incident Analysis at Global Voices

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