China’s treatment of Uygurs getting attention in US

The plight of China’s Uygur Moslems has become more visible in the US lately. Yesterday there was an immense article with photos in USA Today (by that paper’s standards, the size of the article was biblical). Today another syndicated piece appeared, this time in the Kansas City Star (requires registration).

Under the guise of a “war on terrorism,” China has launched such an implacable campaign of repression on its Muslim Uighur minority that it’s stopped cold nearly all violent attacks.

Not so long ago, far western China was roiled by more than 200 bombings and assassinations. More recently, a brutal crackdown reported by human rights groups has ushered in a measure of calm to remote, oil-rich Xinjiang.

China has shrugged off criticism and pledged anew to obliterate any glimmer of separatist sentiment within the ethnic Uighurs, who number about 8 million.

Today, the Uighurs (pronounced Weegers), who live in arid dun-colored towns and cities on the edge of the forbidding Taklimakan Desert, dwell in resentful coexistence with migrant Han Chinese flooding their homeland. They bristle at how China has restricted their religious freedom, yet fear to speak out amid the pervasive presence of security agents.

Communist Party leaders sound triumphant in describing their efforts to quash Uighur separatists, linking them to a global network of al-Qaida terrorism.

A great thing, this war on terror. I wonder how we’ll look back at it a few years from now, when we’re able to determine how many of those killed were terrorists, or just innocent victims caught in the vortex.

The Discussion: 22 Comments

That’s odd, just this year the Bush administration urged China to tackle terrorists moving into North west China from the formers Soviet republics close to their borders, and suprise suprise most of these ‘terrorists’ supported setting up an independant Islamic state in North West China.

These ‘terrorists’ that the Aemrican’s wanted sorted out were largely Uyguer or closely related tribes.

One pot, one kettle.

September 23, 2004 @ 7:42 pm | Comment

“Not so long ago, far western China was roiled by more than 200 bombings and assassinations. ”

Well, that certainly sounds like there were actually terrorists in China. My guess is that there is a pretty good chance that there is–or will soon be–a connection between Uighur seperatists and international terrorism.

I spoke with a few Uighurs while I was in China and their feelings towards the CCP were not as clear-cut as activists would have you believe. Most resent the government’s’ treatment of their people, but many just care about doing whatever they can to improve their daily lives, which usually requires working with the Han Chinese and through the CCP.

September 23, 2004 @ 7:44 pm | Comment

richard, chile!!

It burns ma butt when u git on your high horse about China….agin!!

There is 20 MILLION Hui Muslims in China and there is BOOT–I-FUL, OLL..DD.. examples of mosque architetur in dat country. Dem Huis ain’t complainin’, ‘cos they git to pray ALL dey want!!

Only some riffraff out in som’ far corner West, is gettin’ odd idea-hs about freedom…

Now, dem Tibetans git to cel’brate beawtiful Montam Great Prayer Fest’val, too!! So don’t all ya go believin’ Tim n Susan Sarandon n their silly Tibet movie…

September 23, 2004 @ 8:55 pm | Comment

Openings and closings

I was once in a Jewish youth group and we had a Rabbi attend a session. He asked a simple question: why are you a Jew? The standard answer because of my mother was excluded. Why else? There were many answers. Because of the Holocaust. Because of anti-S…

September 24, 2004 @ 12:51 am | Comment

If a group of African Americans, or any other minority group, was to band together in one state and then start throwing hand grenades at the police, and demanding that that state be split offf to make an independant country, then you can be that the government would put down the uprising using force. Remember Waiko, now expand Waiko to cover an area the size of a state.

I’m pretty certain that you’d call them terrorists too, and that you’d want your government to put a stop to the bombings.

And when they’d been shot or arrested you’d cheer the police for making the country a safer place.

One man’s terrorist is another man’s …. and you know the rest of the story.

September 24, 2004 @ 3:20 am | Comment

Looks like the Yankee running dogs have finally caught up on our insidious plans. Time to pull a “Stalin”.

September 24, 2004 @ 10:38 am | Comment

It’s not as if the Uighurs ever made a conscious decision to “band together” in Xinjiang in order to demand autonomy — they’ve been living there all along.

September 24, 2004 @ 4:14 pm | Comment

Good point, Vaara.

September 24, 2004 @ 4:39 pm | Comment


The Indian tribes also lived in America a long time before white people came,wasn’t it?

Of course, they saw themselves as different tribes, just as in China’s West, not as `collectively’ Uighur, or this or that, in a national consciousness.

But of course America has come a long way from consolidating its own security (or so it thought, until now) and good-hearted Americans wince at the first hint of `oppression’ in other countries. There,but for the grace of God, goes us…

September 24, 2004 @ 10:48 pm | Comment

ACB, chile!

U talking to me?? You sound cross…chill, sugar. Ah am on YOUR side!!

Mameha means what Mameha sez, ’bout dem Hui and Tibetans…dey have freedom to do as dey like, as long as dey do as dey are told!!! Dat’s right…a definition of DEMOCRACY from dat li’l book of quotes!

Now ah like chillin’ out at Pekingduck cos ah like Richard cutting down Bushies to bonsai size!!
But ma MERCURY JUST SPILLS, sugar, when he start bashin’ China!

It’s true, sweetpea. Mameha’s great grand-pa, come from China to Cuba, n them children come to US of A.

Don’t believe it? U look at dat Naomi Campbell girl…she like hitting people with cellphones, dat?

She don’t look it…but her grandma…shhhh….is CHINESE! It’s true, honey. Mmmm….wahhhh!!!

September 24, 2004 @ 11:16 pm | Comment


I gotta talk 2 u ’bout Tim and Susan Sarandon n that li’l Tibet movie, sugar.

Now ah spoke 2 dat new China president Mr Who…Hu, thank you, chile, don’t u like his Kennedy haircut?

Now, Mr Hu…dont’cha like his groovy glasses…he agree not 2 send Tim n Susie 2 hard labour camp.

Mr Who..Hu, right…will now invite dem two, to stay at HOLIDAYINN LHASA for a month!!!

See for demselves good things the Chinese have done since dat Dalai Lama quit his hardship post for a life of bling-bling wid Hollywood royalty!

Only problem: Tim n Susie gotta go Tibet WITHOUT their Botox surgeons, personal trainers, hairstylists, masseurs and ev’ryone else dat pamper ’em!!!

Now, is dat tough love, honey? But Tim n Susie, dey gotta learn not 2 poke dem noses into things dey dont und’rstand, right, luv?

Now, ahh put in a good word for Susie, cos ah lurrrvvv…ed her in StepMom with Julia `Husband Snatcher’ Roberts!!!

So that’s settled, child. Right. What? No, don’t thank me, honey.YO’ happiness is MA happiness!!!

September 24, 2004 @ 11:25 pm | Comment

So, in other words, what you’re saying to the Tibetans in your own inimitable way is:

“Sorry for destroying all those monasteries. Hey, here’s something that ought to make you feel better — a Holiday Inn!!!”

You know, there are five-star international hotels in Saudi Arabia, and Cuba, and in several of your nastier African dictatorships too. Yet I believe the people of those countries would gladly trade all the minibars and glass-fronted elevators in the world for some actual freedom.

September 25, 2004 @ 1:00 am | Comment

And yes, the treatment of Native Americans by the U.S. was, and is, a national disgrace. But just because we did it doesn’t make it OK. (Same goes for unilateral, unprovoked wars against distant countries, which is why the Iraq war sets such a dangerous precedent — but that’s another story.)

And besides, the various Native American groups really were, and are, different tribes, speaking different languages, with different cultures and faiths. A Navajo and a Seminole are as different from one another as a Yu and a Mongolian. Or, for that matter, a Han and a Uighur.

September 25, 2004 @ 1:11 am | Comment

oops, I meant “Yi” not “Yu.”

September 25, 2004 @ 1:54 am | Comment

Vaara, honey!

ah can tell from yo’ voice dat ma happiness is not yo’r happiness!

Does dat mean Tim n Susie hafta unpack their Vuitton n Prada travel bags and cancel dat private jet trip? N all dos Tibetan n Chinese cheerleaders waitin’…

Honey, Mameha is doing sumpthin’ important…ah is baking apple pie, n will talk 2 u again…mmm…wahhh!!!

BTW: what’s a sociopath, chile?

September 25, 2004 @ 2:08 am | Comment

Only a question, Richard. Why do you use such an awful situation like Uygurs repression in such a political way? Is Bush blame if chinese authorities are so criminal? Uygurs aren’t Bin Laden. Bush fights against Bin laden. PRC against freedom. It’s not the same. Your blog is great in chinese issues. It’s dramatically biased in american issues.

September 25, 2004 @ 4:57 am | Comment

I am dramatically biased on the governments of both China and the US. A blog is supposed to be biased or it would be pretty dull — it’s all about opinions. I try to be as fair as I can and give all sides the benefit of the doubt. bush is not to blame at all for the political excesses of the CCP. He is to blame for creating a mentality that all’s fair in the war on terror, even the sacrifice of individual liberties. This mentality allows bush to give other nations that are less fair than our own a wink and a nudge when they implement draconian, cruel and barabric tactics — as long as they say it’s part of the “war on terror.”

I am not saying, by the way that I equate the CCP with the US government — hardly. I love America’s democracy, at least the one we enjoyed before bush. I have much less respect for the authoritarian system of the CCP. However, I do strive to be fair, and i have to say that I still see some signs of hope that Hu will emerge as a true leader who will change things for the better. I hold no hopes whatever for flightsuit boy, who has relentlessly proven his incompetence, stupidity and recklessness again and again and again.

September 25, 2004 @ 11:05 am | Comment

Uhm… in general communist dictators don’t give me so much hope. And Bush can be voted out, Hu Jintao no.

Best regards.

September 25, 2004 @ 7:12 pm | Comment

I’m not so sure bush can be voted out. Even if he loses, I can imagine him simply saying he cannot give up control at such a critical time and declaring martial law. Stranger things have happened.

September 25, 2004 @ 7:23 pm | Comment

Do you really mean wat you’re saying? Do you really believe that? Sorry but… if so, I think “bias” is not the right word to describe your (and many others’) attitude. “Obsession” is better.

Thank you for your attention.

Have a nice day.

September 25, 2004 @ 8:05 pm | Comment

I have been amazed at what’s going on with the abuse of the law in America. We saw it start with bush’s stealing the election in Florida, and that’s been well documented. He has broken the law again and again — what’s to stop him this time?

Now, I don’t think it’s likely. But as I said, stranger things have happened in this world. People have seized power before. Nothing can surprise me.

September 25, 2004 @ 8:12 pm | Comment

Ho-hum, Vaara, another day, another mousepad warrior, squeaking freedom, freedom, freedom!!!

I take back what I said about good-hearted people and grace of God, because some people are genuinely committed.

But your Brownie/Boy Scout enthusiasm would be endearing, if not so pathethic.

So the world is your playground, with your little toy gun.

And you speak for all 55 nationalities of China, and even the “oppressed” of the Third World.

So a Han is completely indistinguishable from Uygur. Looking back at pictures, I suppose millions of us were fooled, that Wu’er Kaixi – a student leader of the 1989 Beijing Spring – was Uygur. Now why was he fighting for Chinese “freedom”, when he should have been in theWestern regions, fighting another cause?

And where did Wu’er end up – in a car wash in America. Did you say something about people in the Third World trading mini-bars, for menial jobs in America? Some maybe – not all.

Amei, one of Asia’s biggest pop singers – listen to her hitting the high notes, singing gospel in Mandarin – is a Taiwanese aborigine. Well, I have been fooled – obviously, you can tell ourselves apart better than we can.

murasaki “momo” shikibu

September 26, 2004 @ 8:55 pm | Comment

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