Posts tagged ‘Uighur’

01/08/2014

BBC News – ‘Suspects shot’ in Xinjiang imam killing

Police have shot dead two suspects in the killing of the imam of China’s largest mosque and captured another, state media say.

Jume Tahir speaks during an interview at Id Kah Mosque in Kashgar in this still image taken from video dated 3 August 2011

Jume Tahir was the imam in Kashgar, in China’s restive Xinjiang region.

He was found dead after morning prayers at the Id Kah mosque on Wednesday.

Police said the suspects, located shortly afterwards, “resisted arrest with knives and axes”. They were “influenced by religious extremism“, Xinhua news agency said.

Xinjiang, in China’s far west, is home to the Muslim Uighur minority.

Tensions have rumbled for years between Uighurs and Beijing over large-scale Han Chinese migration and tight Chinese control.

In recent months, however, there has been a marked increase in Xinjiang-linked violence, including a market attack in the regional capital Urumqi that left more than 30 people dead.

Beijing blames these attacks on extremists inspired by overseas terror groups. Uighur activists say heavy-handed restrictions on religious and cultural freedoms are fuelling local resentment.

via BBC News – ‘Suspects shot’ in Xinjiang imam killing.

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07/05/2014

In China’s Xinjiang, economic divide seen fuelling ethnic unrest | Reuters

Hundreds of migrant workers from distant corners of China pour daily into the Urumqi South railway station, their first waypoint on a journey carrying them to lucrative work in other parts of the far western Xinjiang region.

Uighur women stand next to a street to wait for a bus in downtown Urumqi, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region May 1, 2014. REUTERS-Petar Kujundzic

Like the columns of police toting rifles and metal riot spears that weave between migrants resting on their luggage, the workers are a fixture at the station, which last week was targeted by a bomb and knife attack the government has blamed on religious extremists.

“We come this far because the wages are good,” Shi Hongjiang, 26, from the southwestern metropolis of Chongqing, told Reuters outside the station. “Also, the Uighur population is small. There aren’t enough of them to do the work.”

Shi’s is a common refrain from migrant workers, whose experience finding low-skilled work is very different to that of the Muslim Uighur minority.

Employment discrimination, experts say, along with a demographic shift that many Uighurs feel is diluting their culture, is fuelling resentment that spills over into violent attacks directed at Han Chinese, China’s majority ethnic group.

The apparent suicide attack on the station, which killed one bystander, was the latest violence to hit Xinjiang, despite a pledge from China’s President Xi Jinping to rain “crushing blows against violent terrorist forces”.

via In China’s Xinjiang, economic divide seen fuelling ethnic unrest | Reuters.

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07/03/2014

China’s restless West: The burden of empire | The Economist

After a brutal attack in China, the Communist Party needs to change its policies towards minorities

A GROUP of knife-wielding assailants, apparently Muslims from western China, caused mayhem and murder on March 1st in the south-western Chinese city of Kunming, stabbing 29 people to death at the railway station and injuring 140 others. The attack has shocked China. The crime against innocents is monstrous and unjustifiable, and has been rightly condemned by the Chinese government and by America. But as well as rounding up the culprits, the Communist Party must face up to an uncomfortable truth. Its policy for integrating the country’s restless western regions—a policy that mixes repression, development and Han-Chinese migration—is failing to persuade non-Han groups of the merits of Chinese rule.

The party says the attackers were “Xinjiang extremists”, by implication ethnic Uighurs, a Turkic people with ties to Central Asia who once formed the majority in the region of Xinjiang. The killers may have been radicalised abroad with notions of global jihad. Whatever the truth, there is no doubt that Uighurs are committing ever more desperate acts. Scarcely a week passes in Xinjiang without anti-government violence.

The party claims that Xinjiang has been part of China for 2,000 years. Yet for most of that time, the region has been on the fringe of China’s empire, or outside it altogether. An attempt to incorporate these lands began only with the Qing dynasty’s conquests in the mid-18th century. (The name Xinjiang, “new frontier”, was bestowed only in the 1880s.) During the chaos of the 1940s, Uighurs declared a short-lived independent state of East Turkestan. But from 1949 the Communists began integrating Xinjiang into China by force. Demobbed Chinese soldiers were sent to colonise arid lands, the state repression of Uighurs drawing heavily on the Soviet tactics for handling “nationalities”. Uighur resentment of the Han runs deep. The feeling is mutual. Many Chinese are openly racist towards Uighurs, and the government thinks them ungrateful. In 2009 hundreds of people were killed during street fighting between Uighurs and Han, who now make up two-fifths of Xinjiang’s population and control a disproportionate share of its wealth.

Identity crisis

The Kunming killers’ motives may never be known. But fears of militant Islamism arriving at the heart of China must not obscure the broader problem of Chinese oppression in Xinjiang. Recent crackdowns hit at the heart of Uighur identity: students are banned from fasting during Ramadan, religious teaching for children is restricted, and Uighur-language education is limited. Many Uighurs, like their neighbours in Tibet, fear that their culture will be extinguished. Xinjiang and Tibet (and Inner Mongolia) are still China’s colonies, their pacification under the Communist Party a continued imperial project. Were it not for the Dalai Lama’s restraining influence, violence in Tibet might be as bad as it is in Xinjiang. As it is, over 100 Tibetans have burned themselves to death in protest at Chinese rule.

There is a large military presence in China’s west. The government seems to believe that unless Uighurs and Tibetans are held in check by force, the western regions could break away. That is always a danger. But suppression, which leads to explosions of anger, may increase the risk, not mitigate it.

The only way forward is to show Uighurs (and Tibetans) how they can live peacefully and prosperously together within China. The first step is for the party to lift the bans on religious and cultural practices, give Uighurs and Tibetans more space to be themselves, and strive against prejudice in Chinese society. Economic development needs to be aimed at Uighur and Tibetan communities. Otherwise, there will be more violence and instability.

via China’s restless West: The burden of empire | The Economist.

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01/12/2013

China claims territories of 23 countries, but only has borders with 14

This article does not give a source ref. However, if it is correct, then together with the new “air defence zone” (https://chindia-alert.org/2013/12/01/china-japan-and-america-face-off-the-economist/), the requirement for Uighur students to demonstrate “approved political views” (https://chindia-alert.org/2013/12/01/xinjiang-college-says-approved-political-views-needed-to-graduate-reuters/) and recent spar with India (https://chindia-alert.org/2013/12/01/china-india-spar-over-disputed-border-reuters/) all point to a new belligerent China. Not good news at all for the world community.

See also: https://chindia-alert.org/political-factors/chinese-tensions/

China Daily Mail

The total area of China’s claims on other countries exceeds the size of modern China itself, but Beijing refuses to budge on its claims.

Many are based on unsubstantiated (outside China) and unprecedented “historical precedents” dating back centuries.

And while China only has land borders with 14 countries, it is claiming territory from at least 23 individual nations.

These include Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei, maritime territory which is 1000 kilometres from the closest Chinese soil (well outside the internationally recognised 200 kilometre EEZ).

The following is a list of China’s current claims against other countries, all of which it has made painfully clear it is willing to go to war over:

Afghanistan

Afghan province of Bahdashan (despite treaty of 1963, China still encroaches on Afghan territory).

Bhutan

Bhutanese enclaves in Tibet, namely Cherkip Gompa, Dho, Dungmar, Gesur, Gezon, Itse Gompa, Khochar, Nyanri

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04/11/2013

In China’s Xinjiang, poverty, exclusion are greater threat than Islam | Reuters

If the analysis in this report is correct, then it is good news for China and Xinjiang. Alleviating poverty is difficult, but far easier than eliminating religious extremism.

“In the dirty backstreets of the Uighur old quarter of Xinjiang\’s capital Urumqi in China\’s far west, Abuduwahapu frowns when asked what he thinks is the root cause of the region\’s festering problem with violence and unrest.

A police officer stops a car to check for identifications at a checkpoint near Lukqun town, in Xinjiang province in this October 30, 2013 file photo. REUTERS/Carlos Barria/Files

\”The Han Chinese don\’t have faith, and the Uighurs do. So they don\’t really understand each other,\” he said, referring to the Muslim religion the Turkic-speaking Uighur people follow, in contrast to the official atheism of the ruling Communist Party.

But for the teenage bread delivery boy, it\’s not Islam that\’s driving people to commit acts of violence, such as last week\’s deadly car crash in Beijing\’s Tiananmen Square – blamed by the government on Uighur Islamist extremists who want independence.

\”Some people there support independence and some do not. Mostly, those who support it are unsatisfied because they are poor,\” said Abuduwahapu, who came to Urumqi two years ago from the heavily Uighur old Silk Road city of Kashgar in Xinjiang\’s southwest, near the Pakistani and Afghan border.

\”The Han are afraid of Uighers. They are afraid if we had guns, we would kill them,\” he said, standing next to piles of smoldering garbage on plots of land where buildings have been demolished.

China\’s claims that it is fighting an Islamist insurgency in energy-rich Xinjiang – a vast area of deserts, mountains and forests geographically located in central Asia – are not new.”

via In China’s Xinjiang, poverty, exclusion are greater threat than Islam | Reuters.

26/06/2013

Violence in China’s Xinjiang ‘kills 27’

BBC: “Riots have killed 27 people in China’s restive far western region of Xinjiang, Chinese state media report.

Map

The violence broke out in Turpan prefecture early on Wednesday.

Police opened fire after a mob armed with knives attacked police stations and a local government building, Xinhua news agency quoted officials as saying.

There are sporadic outbreaks of violence in Xinjiang, where there are ethnic tensions between Muslim Uighur and Han Chinese communities.

Confirming reports from the region is difficult because information is tightly controlled.

China’s state media have been quick to issue an official version of events regarding the latest round of violence in Xinjiang, but it will be tough to verify those reports.

Xinjiang lies on China’s remote north-west border and it is difficult for foreign media to travel there. Many people on both sides of the conflict are reluctant to speak to visiting journalists for fear of reprisals if they dispute the government’s stance.

Unfortunately Xinjiang usually hits international headlines when violence flares between the region’s minority ethnic Uighur Muslims and the majority Han Chinese. Many Uighurs contend that their language and religion are being smothered by an influx of Han Chinese migrants.

Xinjiang is a large geographic area rich in oil and gas deposits. Soon it will also become a major supplier of coal to China’s energy-hungry cities. The region’s fertile land also grows produce that is shipped to the rest of the country. The Han Chinese who move to Xinjiang hope to benefit from the region’s untapped resources.

The violence occurred in Turpan‘s remote township of Lukqun, about 200km (120 miles) south-east of the region’s capital, Urumqi.

The Xinhua news agency report, citing local officials, said rioters stabbed people and set police cars alight.

Seventeen people, including nine security personnel and eight civilians, were killed before police shot dead 10 of the rioters, it said.

At least three others were injured and were being treated in hospital, it added.

The Xinhua report did not provide any information on the ethnicity of those involved in the riot or on what sparked it.

But Dilxat Raxit, a spokesperson for the World Uighur Congress, an umbrella organisation of Uighur groups, told the Associated Press news agency the violence had been caused by the Chinese government’s “sustained repression and provocation” of the Uighur community.

In 2009 almost 200 people – mostly Han Chinese – were killed after deadly rioting erupted in Urumqi between the Han Chinese and Uighur communities.

In April an incident in the city of Kashgar left 21 people dead.

Uighurs and Xinjiang

Uighurs are ethnically Turkic Muslims. They make up about 45% of the region’s population; 40% are Han Chinese

China re-established control in 1949 after crushing short-lived state of East Turkestan. Since then, large-scale immigration of Han Chinese. Uighurs fear erosion of traditional culture.

The government said the violence began when “terrorists” were discovered in a building by officials searching for weapons.

But local people told the BBC that the violence involved a local family who had a longstanding dispute with officials who had been pressurising the men to shave off their beards and the women to take off their veils.

Uighurs make up about 45% of Xinjiang’s population, but say an influx of Han Chinese residents has marginalised their traditional culture.”

via BBC News – Violence in China’s Xinjiang ‘kills 27’.

See also: https://chindia-alert.org/political-factors/chinese-tensions/

29/05/2013

Settlers in Xinjiang: Circling the wagons

The Economist: “In a region plagued by ethnic strife, the growth of immigrant-dominated settlements is adding to the tension

MANY hours’ drive along what was once the southern Silk Road, through a featureless desert landscape punctuated by swirling dust-devils and occasional gnarled trees, a curious sight eventually confronts the traveller: row upon row of apartment blocks with vivid red roofs, as if a piece of Shanghai suburbia has been planted in the wilderness (see picture). Following the military-style nomenclature of immigrant settlements in China’s far west, it calls itself 38th Regiment. It is home to thousands of people, in a spot where just a few years ago there was nothing but sand.

The town is the latest addition to a vast network of such communities in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, China’s biggest province by land area and also its most ethnically troubled. Neighbouring Tibet has long been roiled by ethnic tension, too, but rarely has it witnessed the kind of violence that has troubled Xinjiang: a low-level insurgency involving ethnic Uighurs whose Muslim faith and Central Asian culture and language set them apart from the Han Chinese who dominate places like 38th Regiment. On April 23rd, 21 people were killed near Kashgar during an encounter between police and alleged separatists. An explosion of inter-ethnic violence in 2009 in the regional capital, Urumqi, that left nearly 200 dead, by official reckoning, exacerbated the divide. The expansion of the settlement network is deepening it further.

To use its full name, the 38th Regiment of the 2nd Agricultural Division is part of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps. This state-run organisation, usually referred to as the bingtuan (Chinese for a military corps) controls an area twice the size of Taiwan, broken into numerous parts scattered around the province (see map). A few bits are city-sized. Most are more like towns or villages. Of their total population of more than 2.6m people, 86% are ethnically Han Chinese. In Xinjiang as a whole, in contrast, Han officially make up just over 40% of the 22m inhabitants. The rest are Uighurs and a few other ethnic groups.”

via Settlers in Xinjiang: Circling the wagons | The Economist.

04/08/2012

* China – Muslim Fasting Discouraged

NY Times: “Several local governments in the western region of Xinjiang have ordered Muslim restaurants to stay open during the holy month of Ramadan and are telling civil servants and students to continue to eat and drink during daylight hours, when Muslims generally fast. Ramadan began on July 20.

A notice on the Web site of the health bureau of Urumqi, the regional capital, said local officials had discussed “increasing eating and drinking during Ramadan” and were urged “to increase the monitoring of collective eating with supplied food at work units.” The goal was to “guarantee the health of the masses,” the posting said. Local governments have been putting in place such policies for several years.

Southern Xinjiang and Urumqi have a large number of Uighurs, Muslims who often express discontent with ethnic Han, who dominate China.”

via China – Muslim Fasting Discouraged – NYTimes.com.

So while national government tries to be sympathetic with Muslims, local officials do the opposite.

See also:

03/08/2012

* 20 Sentenced in Terrorism Case

NY Times: “China has sentenced 20 people to up to 15 years in prison for advocating violence and separatism in the western region of Xinjiang, where the central government has clamped down on dissent and restricted religious practices. The state-run newspaper Xinjiang Daily said Thursday that courts in the region had found that the 20 had organized and participated in terrorist groups. The courts said four of them made illegal explosives, the newspaper reported.

The report did not cite any violence linked to the defendants. It named only five people, all with Uighur names. Xinjiang is home to a large population of minority Uighurs but is ruled by members of China’s Han ethnic majority. Violence between the groups in recent years has left nearly 200 people dead. Dilxat Raxit, a spokesman for the exiled World Uyghur Congress, said that the accused used the Internet to obtain government-controlled information and to express political views. He said the terrorist charges and verdicts were politically motivated.”

via China – 20 Sentenced in Terrorism Case – NYTimes.com.

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