China's ethnic tinderbox

Discussion in 'General Global Topics' started by strollingbones, Jul 9, 2009.

  1. strollingbones
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    strollingbones Diamond Member

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    The recent Urumqi and Lhasa riots have shattered the myth of a monolithic China, writes China and Uighur expert Professor Dru Gladney.

    Foreigners and the Chinese themselves typically picture China's population as a vast homogeneous Han majority with a sprinkling of exotic minorities living along the country's borders.



    Uighur women protest at the arrest of their menfolk ]

    This understates China's tremendous cultural, geographic, and linguistic diversity - in particular the important cultural differences within the Han population. More importantly, recent events suggest that China may well be increasingly insecure regarding not only these nationalities, but also its own national integration.

    The unprecedented early departure of President Hu Jintao from the G8 meetings in Italy to attend to the ethnic problems in Xinjiang is an indication of the seriousness with which China regards this issue.

    Across the country, China is seeing a resurgence of local ethnicity and culture, most notably among southerners such as the Cantonese and Hakka, who are now classified as Han.

    For centuries, China has held together a vast multi-cultural and multi-ethnic nation despite alternating periods of political centralization and fragmentation. But cultural and linguistic cleavages could worsen in a China weakened by internal strife, an economic downturn, uneven growth, or a struggle over future political succession.


    XINJIANG: ETHNIC UNREST

    Main ethnic division: 45% Uighur, 40% Han Chinese
    26 June: Mass factory brawl after dispute between Han Chinese and Uighurs in Guangdong, southern China, leaves two Uighurs dead
    5 July: Uighur protest in Urumqi over the dispute turns violent, leaving 156 dead - most of them thought to be Han - and more than 1,000 hurt
    7 July: Uighur women protest at arrests of menfolk. Han Chinese make armed counter-march
    8 July: President Hu Jintao returns from G8 summit to tackle crisis


    New media openness

    Q&A: China and the Uighurs

    Taboo of ethnic tensions

    The initial brawl between workers in a Guangdong toy factory, that left at least two Uighur dead on 25 June, prompted the mass unrest in Xinjiang on 5 July, that ended with 156 dead, thousands injured, and 1500 arrested, with on-going violence spreading throughout the region.

    The National Day celebrations scheduled for October 2009, seeks to highlight 60 years of the "harmonious" leadership of the Communist Party in China, and like the 2008 Olympics, its enormous success. The rioting threatens to de-rail these celebrations.

    Officially, China is made up of 56 nationalities: one majority nationality, the Han, and 55 minority groups. The 2000 census revealed a total official minority population of nearly 104m, or approximately 9% of the total population.

    The peoples identified as Han comprise 91% of the population from Beijing in the north to Canton in the south, and include the Hakka, Fujianese, Cantonese, and other groups. These Han are thought to be united by a common history, culture, and written language; differences in language, dress, diet, and customs are regarded as minor and superficial. An active state-sponsored programme assists these official minority cultures and promotes their economic development (with mixed results).

    The recognition of minorities, however, also helped the Communists' long-term goal of forging a united Chinese nation by solidifying the recognition of the Han as a unified "majority". Emphasizing the difference between Han and minorities helped to de-emphasize the differences within the Han community.

    The Communists incorporated the idea of Han unity into a Marxist ideology of progress, with the Han in the forefront of development and civilization. The more "backward" or "primitive" the minorities were, the more "advanced" and "civilized" the so-called Han seemed, and the greater the need for a unified national identity.



    Teh Han comprise 91% of the population from Beijing to Canton
    Minorities who do not support development policies are thought to be "backward" and anti-modern, holding themselves and the country back.

    The supposedly homogenous Han speak eight mutually unintelligible languages. Even these sub-groups show marked linguistic and cultural diversity.

    China's policy toward minorities involves official recognition, limited autonomy, and unofficial efforts at control. Although totalling only 9% of the population, they are concentrated in resource-rich areas spanning nearly 60% of the country's landmass and exceed 90% of the population in counties and villages along many border areas of Xinjiang, Tibet, Inner Mongolia, and Yunnan.

    Xinjiang occupies one-sixth of China's landmass, with Tibet the second-largest province.

    Indeed, one might even say it has become popular to be "ethnic" in today's China. Mongolian hot pot, Muslim noodle, and Korean barbecue restaurants proliferate in every city, while minority clothing, artistic motifs, and cultural styles adorn Chinese bodies and private homes.


    China's threats will most likely come from civil unrest, and perhaps internal ethnic unrest from within the so-called Han majority

    This rise of "ethnic chic" is in dramatic contrast to the anti-ethnic homogenizing policies of the late 1950s anti-Rightist period, the Cultural Revolution, the late-1980s "spiritual pollution" campaigns, and now the ethnic riots in the west.

    While ethnic separatism on its own will never be a serious threat to a strong China, a China weakened by internal strife, inflation, uneven economic growth, or the struggle for political succession could become further divided along cultural and linguistic lines.

    China's separatists, such as they are, could never mount such a co-ordinated attack as was seen on 11 September, 2001 in the United States, and China's more closed society lacks the openness that has allowed terrorists to move so freely in the West.

    China's threats will most likely come from civil unrest, and perhaps internal ethnic unrest from within the so-called Han majority. We should recall that it was a southerner, born and educated abroad, who led the revolution that ended China's last dynasty

    BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | China's ethnic tinderbox

    civil unrest seems to be gripping the globe...world economy or just time for a change..will america as a country support revolution or be anti-revolutionary?
     
  2. waltky
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    waltky Wise ol' monkey Supporting Member

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    Chinamens say Uighurs got happy feet...
    :eusa_eh:
    Uighurs too busy dancing to make trouble: China
    Wed, May 29, 2013 - Ethnic minorities in Xinjiang are far more fond of dancing, singing and being good hosts than making trouble, a top official said yesterday, dismissing the idea that the far western region is a hotbed of unrest.
     
  3. MHunterB
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    MHunterB Gold Member

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    After reading the quote at the beginning of that article, one might wonder if the Uighurs are fond of watermelon and 'shortnin' bread'.......
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2013
  4. Katzndogz
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    Katzndogz Diamond Member

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    The Chinese do not value any ethnicity but their own and do not find multiculturalism a virtue.
     
  5. MHunterB
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    MHunterB Gold Member

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    Katz, I see you've mastered the form of understatement : ))
     
  6. waltky
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    waltky Wise ol' monkey Supporting Member

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    Muslim protests put down in China...
    :cool:
    China draws shroud of silence over deadly Xinjiang clashes
    Sun, Sep 01, 2013 - The blood has long since been hosed away, but more than a month after Chinese security forces opened fire on a crowd of Muslim protesters, killing what local residents say were scores of young men, there is a palpable fear on the streets of this dusty farming township in Xinjiang, the restive borderland region in China’s far west.
    See also:

    Mooncakes latest victim of Xi’s fight against corruption
    Thu, Sep 05, 2013 - China is banning officials from using public funds to buy mooncakes, pastries offered as gifts during the Mid-Autumn Festival, as part of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s fight against corruption, the government said on Tuesday.
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2013
  7. waltky
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    waltky Wise ol' monkey Supporting Member

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    Night of the long knives in Xinjiang...

    50 knifed to death in China coal mine, Uighurs suspected
    Oct 2, 2015: At least 50 people were knifed to death last month inside a coal mine in the restive Xinjiang province, reported US-based Radio Free Asia on Thursday - an attack suspected to have been carried out by Uighur separatists who are known to use knife for terror attacks.
    See also:

    Six killed as 15 letter bombs explode at 13 locations in China
    Sep 30, 2015: Six people were killed on Wednesday when 15 suspected letter bombs exploded in southern China, state media said, with blasts reported in more than ten locations including government offices. Dozens more were injured by the explosives apparently placed in express delivery packages, the official Xinhua news agency said of the blasts on the eve of China's national day holiday.
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    Another blast hits Chinese city where explosions killed 7
    Oct 1, 2015: An explosion damaged a six-storey building on Thursday in southern China, less than a day after more than a dozen blasts triggered by explosive devices delivered in mail packages killed at least seven people and injured over 50 in the same county in southern China, officials and state media said.
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2015

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