Xinjiang in northwestern China has been offline since the riots involving hundreds of Uighurs on July 5 and netizen reports are scarce, but with several hundred syringe attacks having taken place since, leading Han residents of Ürümqi to take to the streets over the past few days, dialogue doesn't seem to be a priority.
Photos from the streets of Ürümqi have been posted to discussion board website Paowang, however, on September 4th and 5th.
Why resort to syringe attacks? nkpoper at Bullog International considers the resistance struggle perspective:
Doesn't look like anyone's saying this time though that these syringe attacks were a CCP conspiracy. People said Pearl Harbor was a conspiracy, people said 9/11 was a conspiracy, and people said the July 5 riots were a conspiracy…even supplying all the details, but all I can say is, that doesn't make sense, and I have no way to confirm.
But it got me thinking, if Uighurs blow up Zhongnanhai during the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, you never know, people might see a conspiracy in that too! Now with these syringe attacks, there's something to go by, and if by some small chance Zhongnanhai does get blown up, it might just not be a conspiracy, but people up to no good, and happily at that.
However, to make myself clear, this Hitler quote only fits this situation, which isn't to say it's appropriate, and definitely isn't what should be done. I'm merely reiterating that most base of logic:
Violation in the midst of struggle may be inevitable, particularly in fierce struggle. Like WWII, wherein all parties resorted to extreme measures. But with the July 5 riots, aimed solely at civilians, such measures are completely unacceptable. The people manufacturing this kind of terror don't deserve any sympathy; any sympathy they are given will only encourage them to continue creating terror. That was the case with the July 5 riots, and that's the case now with the syringe attacks.
Can low-grade terror tactics be justified and should Wang Lequan step down, as so many Han have demanded this past week? Roland Soong comments at EastSouthNorthWest on his translation of opinions expressed in Hong Kong media by two mainland (both also active bloggers) voices on Xinjiang issues in his September 4 post, The Xinjiang Syringe Riots:
The Han writer Huang Zhangjin who studies the Xinjiang problem pointed out the authorities have failed to recognize their mistake after the 7.5 incident and continues to lock down information. “The syringe revenge attacks have been circulated around for quite some time and the citizens are scared. They wouldn't allow this to be reported until after the attacks exploded. How can this satisfy the anger of the citizens?” Huang Zhangjin believes that in order to calm down the tense situation in Xinjiang now, the best thing is to relief Wang Lequan from his job. “The mistakes in the ethnic policies may not have been created by him, but only he can be the scapegoat that can relieve the angers of the Uighurs and the Hans and bring them down the road to reconciliation.”
(ESWN Comments: These are extraordinary comments. On the first comment, it would seem that most people regard it as wrong to use syringe to attack people at random and sow terror. This is called terrorism (“premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by sub-national groups or clandestine agents”). Instead, the comment seems to justify the use of terrorism. This is not going to convince many people.
On the second comment, Wang Lequan is proposed as the scapegoat to be sacrificed for the sake of reconciliation between the Hans and the Uighurs. But why is Wang Lequan unsatisfactory to the Uighurs and the Hans? Because both sides perceived Wang to be tilted towards the other side and they want someone who tilts more to their side. Why were water bottles thrown at Wang Lequan during his speech? Because he promised “severely punishing the criminals in accordance with the law” and the demonstrators did not consider this good enough. To appease these Han demonstrators, the replacement would have to be even more oppressive and draconian, which would upset the Uighurs even more. So the idea of scapegoat will only postpone the problem temporarily. It isn't going to lead to reconciliation.)
Possibly related, an anonymous netizen account of the recent situation in Xinjiang, ‘Just back from Xinjiang, the situation there is far more severe than can be imagined’, appeared online on Saturday and received more circulation Sunday:
1. Old Wang Lequan has no future there, irregardless of how splendid his past was, that's all gone now and for one reason only: all people, including Han and all the ethnic minorities, do not trust him, are cursing him out, want him to scram. There's a rumor: when the July 5 riots broke, he was hosting a representative group from [Wang's home] Shandong province, and very drunk. When he came out to placate the crowds on September 3, people threw water bottles at him…the last I heard was that Qiang Wei has been chosen to replace him: he's from the Youth League Faction, has a chemical engineering background, experience in the central discipline inspection commission, border control, and his outstanding performance makes him a hot candidate.
2. Certain people weren't as quick as they said in responding to the July 5 riots; taxi drivers said that police were being attacked all over, unable to help people needing saving…by July 6 thugs had ganged up and were making trouble; the Han backlash on July 7 was far bigger than was originally understood: people, hotels, mosques, all damaged quite badly. The most depressing rumor is that the soldiers who were martyred who, when things were at at their worst, went to fire three warning shots in the air, were out of bullets…damn…I hope that isn't true…
3. Ürümqi is a mess. The Urumqi Fair had to stop after just two days. On September 3, all of Ürümqi was locked down, nobody allowed in or out, only vehicles with ‘Xinjiang A’ license plates were allowed through the tight inspection points, and all people at the airport and train station were required to show their seat tickets to get on board. We were in Shixenze to participate in an invitation for bidding, and people there said the highways were full of manned emergency army trucks rushing into Ürümqi. One guy who left got it bad, he went to head into the city but all the roads were blocked; after being stuck for more than ten hours, he had no choice but to head back to Shixenze.
4. 31号到新疆的时候就听说有歹徒在扎黑针，捅黑刀，尤其是对上学的孩子们下手，很多大人没办法只能不上班，给孩子们当保镖。让人无法接受的是，乌市8月5 号以来就有这样的事件发生，石河子也有传闻，一个来月，愈演愈烈，ZF不说毫无举措吧，至少是办案不力，怎么让老百姓信任？93当天在石河子至少有三个出租司机说，我们宾馆对面的小区里当天有两人被扎，有人说被杀。。。
5. The hooligans have said that July 5 was just the beginning, and that something big is yet to come before the October 1 National Day celebrations…
6. Despite the impact on the lives of locals, most are prepared for something like this, and life is more or less going on as normal; those with money want to leave, and those getting out includes types like us just visiting on business. Nothing too out of the ordinary can be seen on the streets, but I was perpetually nervous, and now I finally understand what it means to be in the midst of a cloud of terror.
Freudian slip? ingrained western bias? or just sheer incompetence?
“taxi drivers said that police were busy beating people”
Thanks for the heads up, fixed now.
Xinjiang Chinese above writes:
I’m from Xinjiang, I was born there, grew up there, and work there now. On September 2 I had to leave Urumqi on business, and today I talked to a friend there who told me to wait a few more days before coming back, things are still chaotic. My husband and daughter are both in Urumqi, so I’m anxious to finish my work and be with my family who are terrified and helpless. I’ve seen a lot over these past few days of what netizens both in China and abroad have written about these things, especially those comments about Uighurs outside of Xinjiang; I’m speechless, but I do have but one strong desire, and that is for all the video footage from July 5 to be made public, so that people around the world can see for themselves what happened to this society on that night in this civilized country. To see what a massacre looks like.
The Han for the most part are a people who don’t concern themselves with affairs in which they are not involved, and my Mongol and Russian neighbors say that we Han don’t stand together, which is why things are so tragic. The reason Han took to the streets on July 7 is because we had no idea what happened on the morning of the 6th, we thought they just smashed and torched some things and that’s it. Only that afternoon did we learn from some night owl netizen friends that there had been a massacre, and then all Han started thinking that anyone who went outside on the streets would be beaten or killed for no reason or without provocation, and that even 3 year-old children weren’t even being let go, so then there was the rally and retaliation on July 7.
But that was shut down by the government. Things slowly went back to normal, but then a fortnight ago we heard about people being stabbed with syringes, and that Uighurs who were being tackled and taken to the police stations were actually being let go, and that most of the Uighurs detained from July 5 had been let go. It felt like we were the only ones concerned about this. So we did our best to stay indoors, and were careful to look around if we went to, to make sure there weren’t any Uighurs we know in the immediate vicinity. It seems they felt they hadn’t provoked us enough, so on September 1 when the school year started, they started targeting elementary and high school students who weren’t paying attention. Our families only have one child each, who for us are the future of the Han, so on September 3-4 there were Uighurs who were caught with syringes who were getting beaten.
The Uighurs who planned this whole thing know how stupid the CCP is, because what the Chinese government fears most is the sight of blood setting off Han nationwide, and fears people will demand to know what the police and militia police were doing for the nearly five hours during which Han were being killed; fear that people will ask what the connection is between ethnic policies in violation of the law and this massacre; which is why they were shady and evasive in not answering western media questions about just how many Han were killed, and how many killers were shot down. Who did this give the opportunity to spread rumors? Originally, only about 10% of Uighurs and Han were opposed to the larger mistakes the Chinese government made while trying to cover up their smaller mistakes, but it was their stupid policies that pushed the 40% in the middle toward hatred.
My husband and I were university students during the Tiananmen incident in 1989, and it was only six years after that when we saw a western media report that we painfully realized that we had been used. We respect Wang Dan from Peking University, and despise Chai Ling and her ilk that manipulated our enthusiasm to push the student movement to a crossroads. Anyone who mentions the July 5 riots in the same breath as June 4 is just insulting the Chinese university students from that era. We know that throughout history radical revolution has only been to the benefit of a small number of politicians, and that what gets sacrificed are the interests of the people. I admire the kind of gradual reforms as seen in England, which is why although I’m dissatisfied with many aspects of contemporary China, I still do hope for gradual reforms and not turbulent revolution.
I can not express myself well in English, will you please give me a favor and put my comment above into English. Thank you.
Are the syringe attacks definitely true? When I first heard about it I thought it sounded like a rumor that just gets repeated enough that people are scared and believe it.
Songs of protest—–
IN A POPULAR TIBETAN SONG, TASHI DHONDUP SINGS OF BROKEN FAMILIES, CHINESE OCCUPATION, AND THE STERILIZATION OF THE TIBETAN RACE. THE ALBUM, “TORTURE WITHOUT TRACE,” WAS RELEASED AFTER RARE ANTI-CHINA PROTESTS SWEPT TIBET TWO YEARS AGO, LEAVING AS MANY AS 200 PEOPLE DEAD.
DECHEN PEMBA, A BRITISH-BORN TIBETAN WHO PUBLISHES ENGLISH TRANSLATIONS OF TASHI DHONDUP’S SONGS ON THE BLOG HIGH PEAKS PURE EARTH, SAYS THE ALBUM BECAME AN INSTANT HIT.
“TASHI DHONDUP’S SONGS WERE REALLY POPULAR AMONGST TIBETANS BECAUSE EVERYBODY HAD BEEN FEELING SO TRAUMATIZED AFTER THE EVENTS OF 2008 AND THE PROTESTS AND THE CRACKDOWN,” PEMBA SAYS. “THE SONG WAS PASSED AROUND THROUGH THE INTERNET. PEOPLE WERE USING THEIR MOBILE PHONES AND PLAYING THEM TO EACH OTHER AND PASSING THEM AROUND.”