Wednesday, July 08, 2009

China's Wild West.

The Han Chinese rioters in Xinjiang look remarkably well disciplined, they look more like fun runners than an angry mob. I almost sent them sponsorship money.

There isn't anything that the West can do to influence what China does in a landlocked province in the the middle of Asia other than cluck loudly in disapproval. There are only two ways that the situation in Tibet and East Turkestan (Xinjiang) will be resolved- Independence at some point in the future or more likely the swamping of the territory with Han Chinese.

Here's a good article from 1999 which more or less predicts the current situation.

It is still not widely understood in the West that Mao Tse-tung's greatest achievement was the re-creation of most of the old Manchu Empire. Less than half the territory of the People's Republic is ethnically Chinese. A quarter is Tibetan; a sixth is Turkic; a tenth is Mongolian.
Of all these territories, it is Eastern Turkestan that is most populous, most productive, strategically most important, and most fractious. Occupying the westernmost part of the People's Republic, Eastern Turkestan is home to several million non-Chinese peoples speaking Turkic languages and practising Islam. By far the largest group is the Uighurs. Precise numbers are hard to state because Chinese statistics on minority populations are deeply unreliable. Officially there are 8 million Uighurs; there may in fact be more than 13 million. They are rapidly being swamped by incoming Chinese, most recently by more than 100,000 peasants resettled from west-central China as part of the Three Gorges Dam project. All this is of course deliberate policy by the Peking government, as is revealed by occasional lapses into frankness in the Chinese press. Da Gong Bao, Peking's mouthpiece newspaper in Hong Kong, reported on June 2nd this year that official policy was "to adjust the proportions of the populations of different ethnic groups in Xinjiang". ("Xinjiang"-- which means "New Territory"-- is the Chinese name for Eastern Turkestan. It is an abomination to the Uighurs, who say: "It may be 'New Territory' to the Chinese, but it's been our homeland since the beginning of time!") This population policy is augmented by parallel strategies for cultural annihilation that will be familiar to followers of Tibetan affairs: forced abortions, religious persecution, outlawing of local languages, suppression of any truthful discussion of the region's history, and so on.
Obviously rioters who murder the Han shouldn't be treated sympathetically but the way the Chinese government has behaved was always going to end in violence.


JuliaM said...

The MSM and the lefty blogs have been falling all over themselves to avoid the 'm' word when reporting this...

Ross said...

The Turkic peoples don't seem to be particularly devout Muslims though and the same sort of thing has happened in Tibet where they really do practice a 'religion of peace'*.

* Although Buddhism hasn't always been peaceful.