Xinjiang remains offline and online discussion of the recent ethnic unrest there continues to be highly restricted. Building off radical interpretation of Uighur-on-Han violence in Ürümqi, however, and noting that neighboring Mongolia has its fair share of neo-nazis, what conclusions can be made regarding the violence from both sides?
Beijing Spring editor Hu Ping, in a recent post for RFA, wonders if Uighur anger can be attributed to government policies in the region, lists several reasons why that might be and, using the term Han chauvinism, concludes that it is. Wikipedia defines Han chauvinism as:
“Referring to people carrying ethnocentric viewpoints that favor the Han Chinese majority ethnic group in China at the expense of the other minority ethnic groups, often under the assumption of cultural superiority. […] Actions and speech that constitute the ethnocentric and ideological aspects of Han chauvinism (such as hate speech against minorities) are illegal in the People's Republic of China and are either banned or censored.”
Hu's post brought in a number of comments:
09/03: 我没去过新疆，但是在我的家乡湖南，最起码我读书的两个城市：永州，长沙。还有现在在的这个城市：深圳。维族人跟我们（汉族人）比起来权利是大很多的—— 他们可以强买强卖，他们卖的价格非常高，而且看了东西一定要买，这个我们一点办法都没有的。警察可以骑在我们头上，对他们是一点办法都没有的，就是犯了事也很快出来！
Hu's piece was reposted to UighurBiz, founded by the ethnic Uighur economist and netizen Ilham Tohti; Tohti was detained in July and released in late August, and generated some discussion online this week after expressing support for the new Xinjiang Party boss Zhu Hailun's tougher stance (canceling the ‘less arrests, less executions, more leniency’ policy) on crime. Here are some comments left today on the UighurBiz post:
Ilham has expressed support for the new Ürümqi Party chief Zhu Hailun's decision to cancel the “Two Lesses, One Leniency” (less arrests, less executions, more leniency) ethnic policy. Ilham feels that all people should be equal before the law, saying that ethnic minority criminals have definitely benefited from this policy, and that at the same time it leaves Hans feeling dissatisfied.
That's how people are; Han only started calling for Wang Lequan's resignation after they began getting pricked with needles; Uighurs only called for the cancellation of ‘Two Lesses, One Leniency’ once they started feeling their safety threatened. Do you think there's a chance they'll each go back to their previous stances?
Ilham is one of the few Uighurs who talks any sense, who sees clearly the difference between ethnicity and state. Not at all like some of his underlings who don't know crap, calling Han [relocation] illegal, treating it all like a big joke. Glad to be able to learn something here from you.
And just how many Han are there who don't discriminate against Uighurs?
In fact, Han in many places in Xinjiang don't just discriminate against Uighurs, but don't even see them as human. For example, six years ago I was in Xinjiang on a business trip. I was standing on Yan'an Nan Road in Ürümqi trying to get a taxi, and one Uighur girl came up next to me and was trying to get a taxi too. It always takes a long time to get a cab in Ürümqi in the winter. We were freezing and finally when one empty cab did pull up, it went right past that girl and stopped right in front of me. Strange, I thought, and after I got in I asked the driver why he didn't stop for the girl. The (Han) driver said: we don't pick up those leatherhats (Uighurs). I asked why. He said once he picked up an Uighur who gave him fake money, so I asked if he'd ever had Han customers who gave him fake money. He said he had.
I said if you treat Uighurs like this, aren't you worried about the ethnic conflict getting worse? The driver said, they don't dare, we have guns. Then I had nothing more to say. I was there for three days, and every time I got in a cab I asked if they were willing to take Uighur passengers, and got the same answer every time: Uighurs have bad tempers, can't be reasoned with, they won't stop for them, etc. It was only later after I asked one local Uighur that I found out that there are about 6,000 taxis in Ürümqi, and because Uighurs are always getting refused rides, in the end they hired 200 Uighur drivers, but when that's not enough, there's not much else to be done, so a lot of Uighurs have started their own unlicensed taxi businesses, basically any Xiali car you see around Erdao Bridge is a pirate taxi. Once I got a better idea of the situation, I thought something was bound to happen sooner or later.
Unwarranted love or hate, it's just like a mirror. However you treat people is how they'll treat you back. If you don't think about the consequences of your actions and just go around putting labels on a certain ethnic group, seeing these people who have been here for centuries through a lens of prejudice, how else could Xinjiang not be in a mess?
uighurhr 发表于 2009-9-9 07:41
In fact, Han in many places in Xinjiang don't just discriminate against Uighurs, but don't even see them as human.
If you want people to treat you like human, first you need to start acting like one.
Thanks to years of lovely propaganda from Party Mother, when we here in the interior get victimized by Uighur thugs, we don't even believe our eyes.
Well well well, stop the finger pointing already, if people really want situation improved.
That, of course, won’t be enough because Mother Party is a pretty dumb mother I would rather not have at home. Counterproductive policies are always an obstacle… I just hope wise people from both sides can see that and gradually push it to an end that’s long overdue.
It also takes education, and I believe that with in a couple of generations things will change. Look at how those oldies behave in Shanghai and look at the young people, you’ll realise how great an impact education can make on a generational basis.
Educate the Hans, and educate the Uyghurs… but not in a unrealistic propaganda way. It’s 21st century now and we’ve certainly seen some multicultural countries out there in the world that do not get reduced into racial riot every now and then.
Well, some Chinese people think like this because they don’t know most westerners actually HAVE outgrown the little racist minds of their grandparents. Most people in Australia don’t give a flying —- about what your racial background is. People may still dislike certain behaviours of certain people, but that alone, can’t be called racism.
People living in China, I mean those who have never travelled around and lived overseas for a solid period of time just don’t seem to grasp the extent to which the world has moved on… I suppose the same can be said about some Uyghurs as well.
I know this is off the topic but I think it’s actually the root of many problems out there in China when it comes to this kind of ethnic tension.
Meanwhile, I think some Chinese people do have a bad attitude when it comes to language/cultural issues. Lots of “Chinese” people (imagine me doing my fingers as the quotation mark) who probably don’t even hold Chinese passports, try to talk to me in Australia in Cantonese… they think that’s the only legitimate language when talking to another “Asian-ish” person. I find that very annoying to the extent that I almost detest the language itself. I sometimes even feel bad that I don’t look more Turkic like my grandpa.
I would only speak Mandarin Chinese to people I know pretty well, otherwise I would always speak English because it’s “business” in Australia.
Many “Chinese” people, however, do not have the cultural sensitivity or basic respect for others. I can’t say if that’s the same in Xinjiang with the Hans there but I can have an educated guess about it.
Now we are all surprised that there is a big tension…
1) “most westerners actually HAVE outgrown the little racist minds”.
Not true. It is just politically incorrect to be racist in your face. We in the West call it “closeted racist”.
2) “who have never travelled around and lived overseas for a solid period of time just don’t seem to grasp the extent to which the world has moved on”
China has moved on too. Foreigners who have not traveled to China don’t know this either.
3) “Lots of “Chinese” people (imagine me doing my fingers as the quotation mark) who probably don’t even hold Chinese passports, try to talk to me in Australia in Cantonese”
Why should someone hold Chinese passport to speak Cantonese or any other Chinese dialects? Just because you have 1.3 billion people in the People’s Republic doesn’t mean you have the monopoly on Chinese language. In Malaysia (where i come from), many people from different ethnic groups can speak Mandarin because they attend Chinese public schools. Many people don’t have a passport from an English-speaking country, and they still speak English. I don’t see the problem.
People try to speak to you in Chinese probably because they want to better communicate with you. (If you can use someone’s first language to communicate with them, why wouldn’t you? It will be a great help to them. Not everyone is born to be able to speak a second language perfectly you know).
4) “they think that’s the only legitimate language when talking to another “Asian-ish” person. I find that very annoying to the extent that I almost detest the language itself”
I wonder if a German will detest English language (or any other European languages) when an Australian speak to him in English because he is White-ish. Maybe, just maybe, your strong sentiment against Cantonese is the result of your subconscious racist attitude towards Chinese people? (Don’t mean to insult you, but this is a possibility that we must explore, even though you condemned racism in your writing.)
5) “I would always speak English because it’s “business” in Australia”
By the same analogy, do you also believe that everyone should ONLY speak Mandarin in China, no matter their ethnic/national/citizenship background? Since Mandarin is “business” in China.
6) “Many “Chinese” people, however, do not have the cultural sensitivity or basic respect for others”
You make it sound like only “Chinese” people are insensitive, while cultural insensitivity is a global issues. Chinese could well be the victims of insensitivity too. Since you live in Australia, you must know that “Australians” put Chinese people’s surname behind their given name. This is insensitive because family name is important to Han Chinese and they believe it should be put at the front. (this is just one simple/harmless examples. I can give you more at you request)
“I wonder if a German will detest English language (or any other European languages) when an Australian speak to him in English because he is White-ish.”
Being German, I have to answer this. It’s not that I hate English, but indeed find it irritating that most Chinese assume we speak English in Germany. Just as if there were only two languages, Chinese and English, on this planet.
“Since you live in Australia, you must know that “Australians” put Chinese people’s surname behind their given name. This is insensitive because family name is important to Han Chinese and they believe it should be put at the front.”
You really want to indicate that Chinese are all so sensitive when it comes to Western names? They are most definitely not, which is why almost every Westerner in China gets a Chinese name sooner or later – and not always voluntarily.
back to policy of han goverment in east turkestan
For it is not in colonial acquisitions that we must see the solution of this problem, but exclusively in the acquisition of a territory for settlement, which will enhance the area of the mother country, and hence not only keep the new settlers in the most intimate community with the land of their origin, but secure for the total area those advantages which lie in its unified magnitude.
— Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf
“Well, some Chinese people think like this because they don’t know most westerners actually HAVE outgrown the little racist minds of their grandparents. Most people in Australia don’t give a flying —- about what your racial background is.”
LOL….yeah the racial attacks on Indian students and xenophobia towards other Asians are just an abrasion. Australians are the “enlightened” bunch.
Abrasion? Sorry to nitpick, but did you mean “aberration”?
Yeah, I find the statement “most westerners actually HAVE outgrown” racism to be somewhat exaggerated. I grant it’s what westerners like to think of themselves, but I don’t find it particularly true in practice, at least in my experience. I do grant, however, that racism tends to manifest itself in different ways, and I find racism to be more blatant amongst Chinese.
No, that alone can’t be called racism. It becomes racism when those behaviors are mentally associated with that person’s race instead of that individual person.
Yeah, kinda sucks when you’re butt poor and can’t go about jet-setting around the world, exposing yourself to different people and cultures.
People living in China, I mean those who have never travelled around and lived overseas for a solid period of time just don’t seem to grasp the extent to which the world has moved on… I suppose the same can be said about some Uyghurs as well. —
you are absolutly not right. the irony is that Uighurs and Chinese are both in a modern world. just chinese are living in own and uighuts in own. neither does han chinese nor goverment acsept the diferences of uighurt development and is trying to press them into own !they are barbars who are supose only to live how we say” lifestyle. aside that the best choice for the future of chinese state is to acsept of their indepence and give them a way to develop on own. or in the future chinese will face own extinction even faster than all that keeping their “nation with only one nationality” policy.
Just a question: What do a handful of idiots in Ulaanbaatar have to do with violence in Urumchi? It’s not like the two cities are very close to each other (overland distance 4+ daytrips?), it also does not seem that there are many Uighurs in Ulaanbaatar.
I don’t know if Australians are enlightened or not but they are a lot better than the way Han Chinese treat Uyghur’s.
Those are two different situations. In Australia’s case you have foreigners going to learn in another country. I don’t agree with Australians but I do understand their point of view. Here you have foreigners (Chinese, Japanese, Indians) going to the country taking university spots, jobs and just space. What is it now in Australia 10% Chinese? Some might even call it an extension of China now(Look at what happened during the torch run). So one can understand people’s frustrations. Globalization is a hard thing to grasp. It’s a hard thing to share your pie that you’ve had for so long with an outsider.
But when westerners go to Asian countries such as China, India and Japan westerners are not as accepted or welcomed in their countries and would never get as far as they would as Asians do in western countries.
In Urumqi You have this constant flooding of Chinese people migrating and ECONOMICALLY developing who look down upon the Uighur people. They are treated like sh*t, they don’t get hired for jobs, their religion and way of life are not respected. They are commonly thought off as thieves and vagabonds. (I have to tell you I have gotten my cell phone stolen by a Uyghur once, but I have had far more things stolen by Chinese since I have been here in Shanghai.)
Yes the Uyghur’s have these small favoritisms like they are allowed to have more than one child and the Han are not. OF COURSE THE UIGHURS SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO HAVE MORE THAN 1 CHILD THEY ARE LESS THAN 1% OF THE POPULATION!
I can’t understand how the Han who are 95% of the population of China complain about less than 1% being able to have more than one child. It’s the government’s fault in the first place for allowing the Han population to become so dense. Don’t blame the Uyghur’s.
As far as education goes Uyghur’s are given a score boost. Why not? Again 95% vs. 1% How can a Uyghur compete academically? If you take the score boost away no Uighur will be able to go to a university because they are not given jobs in order to help them purchase a better education.
I don’t mean to make Han the bad guy here, but how can you complain about such an insignificant 1% getting better treatment than you? Let them have it…you need diversity in this country which is filled with so much xenophobia and indifference to the welfare of others.
An argument can be made of what the west did to American Indians. That was 250 years ago. People change and minds change and the Indians that are left are stinking rich from Casinos. And I’m sure America won’t ever make this mistake again.
America also had slaves, but now the descendent of a slave has become the most powerful man in the world.
There is no excuse to what the Aborigines are being put through by Australians and that needs to be rectified, but at least they are free to practice their beliefs and have more than the basic human rights.
Many Han people died two months ago and no one deserves to die…But one must think what sparked a usually peaceful people to violence? Do you think Uyghur’s decided one day to just wake up, take knives and start killing Chinese? I don’t think this was done by an outside influence. I just think those people got fed up…and unfortunately they took it out on innocent people.
My final message is this….Han Chinese need to recognize Uyghur’s as humans, and people who have a history and culture, and that culture needs to be respected. Stop complaining. All of your government is Han, the president is Han, all of the richest people in China are Han. What more do you want? Stop blaming the wrong people. Stop being so nationalistic. Nationalism is an ignorant weapon that the government switches on like a light bulb. And you Han fall for it all the time.
MONEY IS NOT EVERYTHING. Some people are maybe happy with what they were before. So let sleeping dogs lie.
You try to make everything look politically correct, but your tendencies are seeping through everywhere.
It is perfectly understandable that some Australians to hate Chinese immigration, even though they are only about 3% or whatever. American policy against native Americans are also excusable, since the natives ended up better. And even though America still aren’t granting all that self-determination to native Americans/Hawaiians which they preach to every country about, it’s not a big deal.
“In Urumqi You have this constant flooding of Chinese people migrating”
Please show proof. This is a misconception that keeps getting repeated time after time. The Han population in Urumqi has actually declined slightly since 1980. The same is the case with Han population overall in Xinjiang. Even before 1949 and when CCP took over, Han population is a huge majority in Urumqi. 17% vs 60%, guess which is which. Also, I am sure in an Uighur majority area, Hans are going to get equal treatment for hiring and all that stuff, since Uighurs are such nice, flawless, liberal people.
“It’s the government’s fault in the first place for allowing the Han population to become so dense.”
Do I even need to comment on this? Yep, Han should definitely be prevented from breeding. That’s called human rights, and I am sure everyone supported the 1 child policy, since it prevents “Han population to become so dense”.
Also I don’t see how being a minority should rightfully deserves to be given privilege in having children, even when they takes up a small percentage. China has lots of people. 1% is a big number. It’s not like they are going extinct. Unless you are looking at Chinese people like plants and animals, and you would want biodiversity in your kingdom. Oh, I got your point now.
“Again 95% vs. 1% How can a Uyghur compete academically?”
Legitimately like everyone else. But I am sure Chinese or Asians in general are given special advantageous academically in western countries like America, since they are such a small minority and they couldn’t possibly compete.
“…usually peaceful people…”
Again with the illusion of the noble minority. And no, I don’t think they just decide one day to kill Han, because I believe that the race riots were fanned by a few hot heads or organizers.
As for your last paragraph, while it’s true that Chinese in general need to be last racially ignorant, rest of your paragraph is nonsense. “All of your government is Han”, not true. “the president is Han”, remember that 95%. “all of the richest people in China are Han”, not true. For one obvious example, Kadeer was a billionaire. But I am sure that she is the only rich Uighur that ever existed, since nobody ever heard of another famous rich Uighur. Fall for nationalism? Seeing your race getting targeted for racial hate crime and getting angry is irrational and ignorant and called nationalism now?
“MONEY IS NOT EVERYTHING.” Yes it is to most people, including your beloved noble minorities that are untainted by modernization and capitalism. In Lhasa and Urumqi, a lot of the anger is because of unequal economical development between ethnicity, isn’t it? Please drop that stupid fictional image of “noble savages”.
Even before 1949 and when CCP took over, Han population is a huge majority in Urumqi.–
are you kidding me? Han were 10% of population back in 1949.
Han chauvinism is alive and well. Like many other unpleasant aspects of Chinese society (prostitution, gangs …) that were suppressed by the Communist party after 1949, it has now re-emerged.
1. Many Chinese aren’t even aware how racist and discriminatory they are. They think it is quite normal to classify whole groups as inferior/dangerous and treat them accordingly by refusing service/employment.
2. Even those Chinese who are aware of discrimination see it as a problem of perception and ‘losing face’, not of fair behaviour and respect for others. Their response is often to try show ways in which those they discriminate against are ‘better off’ and how they benefit from Chinese patronage, rather than trying to ensure they are treated as equals.