China: Considering Han chauvinism

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:

08/31: 本人是汉人,去过东突厥斯坦维吾尔地区。胡平先生所说的情况完全属实。该地区的大部分区域目前的汉化状况十分严重,并不断有大量的汉族移民,维族完全被边缘化。

I'm Han Chinese and I've been to the East Turkistan Uighur region. Everything Hu Ping has said is entirely true. The state of Han assimilation in most of these areas is quite severe, and large numbers of ethnic Han keep migrating there, Uighurs have been completely marginalized.

09/01: 如果是这样的话,那美国是不是也在搞英语同化政策呢讲印第安语言的人你在美国可以畅行无阻吗?共产党的干部队伍里不但是少数民族广大汉族也一样被剥夺了宗教信仰的权利啊!维吾尔人可以不受限制地生儿育女,而当地的汉族人却被国家的计划生育政策严格限制哦!作为在中国生长的汉族人,我们真的没有感到所谓的大汉族主义!

Since you put it like that, then isn't America carrying out similar policies of English assimilation? You don't think that people who speak Indian [sic] languages have problems getting by? Within the ranks of CCP cadres, it's not only ethnic minorities who have been deprived of their religious rights, but the Han majority too! Uighurs have no restrictions on the number of children they can have, but Han there are still heavily restricted by state birth planning policies! As a Han born and raised in China, we really don't see any so-called Han chauvinism!

09/01: 同化、融合是社会的进步,拒绝融合是没有出路的,就想在美国不会说英语还有机会进入主流社会吗?陈破空在美国不也只是一个社会的边缘人。

Assimilation, integration, these represent social progress; there is no hope in rejecting integration. Do you think someone in America who can't speak English has a chance of entering mainstream society? Isn't Chen Pokong just another marginalized figure in the USA?

09/02: 维吾尔人或图博人(Tibetan)在自己的土地上说自己的语言应该是畅行无阻,这应该就是当地主流社会的语言。

Uighurs and Tibetans shouldn't have any restrictions on speaking their own language on their own land, it is after all the language of mainstream society there.

09/02: 真会胡扯!在台湾原著民还不是要说汉语.写汉字!

What utter crap! Even aboriginals in Taiwan have to be able to speak and write Chinese!

09/02: 真是胡评了,别忘了汉人到新疆的时间比维吾尔早

Come on, Hu Ping, don't forget that Han were in Xinjiang before the Uighur were.

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!

I haven't been to Xinjiang, but back home in Hunan, I studied in at least two cities, Yongzhou and Changsha. Now I'm in Shenzhen. Uighurs have a lot more rights than we (Han) do: they get preferential treatment in business, they're allowed to overcharge, and if you stop to look at what they're selling, you're forced to buy, and there's nothing we can do about it. Police can breathe down our necks, but can't do anything to them, and when they break the law they get let right back out!

09/04: 对待伊斯兰,必须大棒和胡萝卜政策同时实施,目前来看应该大棒为主。伊斯兰需要改良、进步才有出路。目前它就是反人类的宗教。

With Islam, carrot-and-stick policies must be implemented simultaneously, but at present it seems the stick is winning. Islam needs to change itself before things will get better. Currently, it's an inhuman religion.

09/05: 维族被边缘化.这个基本是事实

Uighurs have been marginalized, this is a basic fact.

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:




“Two Lesses, One Leniency” ought to be canceled”

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.



其实,新疆的很多当地汉人对维吾尔族不仅歧视而且不当人看,举个例子,6年前我在新疆出差,在乌鲁木齐延安南路路边打出租车,比我后来一个维族女孩也站在我旁边打车,冬天在乌鲁木齐往往打车需要很长时间,冻得不行了,好不容易一辆空车来了,根本没在女孩旁边停,直接停我面前了,我还好奇,上车后问司机什么不拉女孩,汉族司机说:我们不愿拉这些皮帽子(维族人)。问问什么?他说有次拉了个维族给的是假钱,我问有没有碰到汉族乘客给假钱的?他说也有。我说如果你们这样对待维族,你们不担心将来维汉矛盾越来越深吗?司机答:他们不敢,我们有枪。我再也没说话。出差3天,每次打车我都问司机愿不愿意拉维族,都是众口一词,什么维族人脾气大、不讲理、不愿意拉之类的话。后来问了当地一个维族人才知道乌鲁木齐全市有近六千俩出租车,由于维族乘客屡遭拒载,终于让200 多辆维族司机开出租,满足不了需求,没办法,很多维族人就做黑车生意了,二道桥一带的夏利基本上都是黑车。了解了情况后我心想这样的地方将来一定会出事!


Ilham is one of the few Uighurs who talks any sense

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


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.

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.



It's typical for Uighurs not to act rationally. All the preferential treatment Party Mother has given them, like putting ethnic unity first, giving preference to ethnic minorities, etc., it's made it so that the less sense they make, the more benefits they get, and then they act even less rationally.


I hope that this website won't keep promoting and tempting the demon of hatred every day. Just look how many posts on this website are pushing hatred.


So what, westerners don't discriminate against Chinese and other Asians? But if you look back over the past 100 years, the effect of leaving ideology behind (is China still a communist country?), has this kind of discrimination increased or decreased? If you look back to the dog-eat-dog past of 100 years ago to the G2 today, has this change come about because those foreigners enlightened themselves morally out of racism?


  • Chan

    I believe all human beings and races like to live in a healthy and peaceful manner. We have to learn how to live in a peaceful manner together with all. Just like when our body is sick, we have to know what is the cause of the illness, and take care of our body to recover and prevent it from getting sick again.
    Think and act accordingly to promote more Peacefulness and Harmony……

    • samy

      “I believe all human beings and races like to live in a healthy and peaceful manner.We have to learn how to live in a peaceful manner together with all.”

      then start not to live in a racism-world.

  • Well, I believe that this matter is not about racism. It’s actually about bring racism and other forms of discrimination under the law. But without an independent judicature in China, no solution is viable in the present circumstances. Meanwhile, the stereotyped Han vs. Minorities stories are infesting western media, the fact that a good majority of Han live peacefully with ethnic minorities is often ignored.

    The demonstrators’ (or mob, depending on how you define them) frustration with the Chinese government does not justify their retaliation on Han civilians most of whom are as poorly represented in the state politics as their attackers. Unfortunately, people are often blinded by their anger and make poor choices.

  • Chan

    Yes, we must start to live in a Peaceful and Harmony manner with ALL.
    “Peacefulness and Harmony start from you and not the other one else.”;Similarly
    “Peacefulness and Harmony start from Me and not the other one else.”
    It is the peacefulness and Harmony that must started from within you and me, neither from the without nor from the other one else……

  • Don't understand

    I don’t understand why people are favoring one race over another. Why is almost everyone standing on Uighur side? It seems logical that both Han and Uighur in Xinjiang are racists. However, it seems like everyone thinks that the “minorities” are always the peaceful and nice people who would never discriminate against others and treat “outsiders” as their family, and it is always the Han who started it. In fact, Hans, overall, are the minority in Xinjiang! And the population of Han has not increased much at all in the last decade or two.

    Everybody is saying that Han provoked Uighur’s with their racist hate, even when the evidence clearly shows that it is the Uighur who hates Han to the point of mass murder (if you don’t believe that the sudden burst of Uighur’s racist anger are fanned by Turkenstan independence movement).

    I agree there is definitely a lot of han chauvinism, but people are being so one-sided. Why haven’t anyone considered that Uighur Xenophobia is also a factor? Again, it seems like most westerners must have already aligned the Han ethnicity with CCP government on the axis of evil already, and no matter the circumstances, it is always the Hans who are at fault.

  • Sorry for the delay in posting your comments, for some reason they keep going straight to spam.

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  • A Silent Observer

    The reason why it’s one sided is because Chinese in a sense like to see themselves as victims and don’t take responsibility for actions that could have been prevented…..Case and point….

    This is about a half Chinese half black girl and mother who were publicaly defamed by this “peaceful rising” nation

    The innocent daughter was called a “chimpanzee(monkey)” “ni99er” “ugly”. The mother was called a “whore” because she happend to sleep with a black man. So how can you expect the world to believe you when you can’t accept a slight difference in looks?

    I’m black American I can never take the Han’s side now. Not after this….


    Her mother’s skin is pretty thick.
    At the time finding foreigners was indeed a fad, but you still can’t pick blacks!



    Fucked by a black.

    How come a zebra wasn’t born…?


    Ugh. Yellow people and black people mixed together is very gross…only black skin, not yellow skin, chocolate skin…

    Not even knowing this common knowledge, ruining a child’s life…..

    And it goes on and on….This is from the “victims” of racism by the foreign media?

    Now you tell me as a black person whose side should I be on?

  • knights

    Let’s always assume the “white” Americans are always at fault (being racists) when there’s ethnic outbursts in U.S . .. .[rolled eyes]

  • Stephan Larose

    I’ve lived in China 7 years and have never heard a single Chinese person say something even remotely nice about Uighurs. The rule here is “they’re all thieves.” But didn’t China kill millions and millions of Muslim Chinese in the late 19th century, Shaanxi province lost 93% of its Muslim population during the Dungan Revolt?

    Meanwhile, Han migration to Xinjiang steadily increases and of course the Uighurs are resentful, Han can speak Chinese and have “guanxi” (connections) so they get most of the good jobs. The Uighurs are left to become beggars and prostitutes in their own land.

    So long as these trends continue, with Chinese dehumanizing the Uighur and diluting population, there will be no peace.

    Cultural sensitivity in homogeneous China has never really been its strong suit, which is a shame, China could have much better relations with its minorities if it had a less patriarchal approach to relations, but continues to insist that it is right and other cultures are backwards and thus shoot itself right in the foot.

    America is wrong when it forces “democracy” on other cultures, China is wrong when it forces “development.” Less force and more genuine dialogue might be better…

  • A translation of Hu Ping’s essay is available here:

  • SimpleUyghur

    “Ilham is one of the few Uighurs who talks any sense”

    There are many others who talks sense, but the behaviors of Han people over several of decades made us believe Han people are selfish, untruth-worthy, inconsiderate, so people looking for other ways/alliance for the solution instead of talking “sense” with Han people.
    People turn to religion with the fear of the threat of assimilation, as it is the only feasible way to make us stay united, and survived even our economy is destroyed, our language is diminished, our culture is diluted.
    Many minorities in China are on the edge of extinction , we do not want to be one of them.
    What most Uyghurs want is what is clearly written on the constitution:
    Freedom of religion, freedom of using our own language, equal rights …
    and true enforcement of the law for autonomous regions.
    We believe Xinjiang is our homeland, can accept and live with the condition that it is inalienable part of China but Han people do not care to build trust among Uyghurs as much as once they have used to do when they “liberated” Xinjiang and started to migrate to Xinjiang, and they care lesser with the growing of China power. Most of the benefits we believe that we might get as an autonomous region, repeat, which is shown on the law either not delivered or distorted, those few left just used for show case of “favorable” policy and repeatedly told every day on all media insulting our intelligence while we are struggling for survive.
    You cannot expect someone to talk “sense” with you when you repeatedly fail to deliver what you have promised.
    How many Han people asked themselves a simple question: why thousands of people participated to the group of “mob” in July 5th, when they clearly knew they might face life sentence or death penalty? because they are desperate!!!

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