In a show of force after unrest last week that left 35 people dead, Chinese authorities have ramped up security in the far-western region of Xinjiang.
Armed police held rallies in several cities in Xinjiang over the weekend, the local government news website Tianshannet reported. The site carried images showing convoys of armored vehicles and trucks full of police officers in riot gear.
China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs defended the action Monday, saying the government will “make every effort to ensure the long-term stability and development in Xinjiang.”
The measures follow an outbreak of violence Wednesday in which a group attacked police stations and other government buildings in a remote Xinjiang township, Chinese state-run media said. Authorities have described it as a “terrorist attack,” but overseas Uyghur groups have questioned the official version of events.
In the violence, 24 people, including two police officers, were killed, state media say, and police shot and killed 11 of the attackers and captured four others who were wounded.
Xinjiang saw some of its worst inter-ethnic violence in years on July 5, 2009, when around 200 people were killed in clashes between Uighurs and China’s Han majority. The fourth anniversary of the incident comes on Friday, in the run-up to the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
Some form of Chinese rule in Xinjiang, where the culture has religious and linguistic similarities to the Turkic-speaking countries of Central Asia, dates back centuries.
Relations between the central government and peripheral regions were once more fluid, but since the Communist Party gained power in 1949 rigidity has become the rule, and all Chinese must carry identity cards that prominently state their ethnicity.
Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2013/07/03/identity-crisis-behind-china-xinjiang-unrest-experts/#ixzz2YB7Zx7fR
Does carrying identity cards stating your ethnicity lead to racial tensions? These American “experts” should look at Southern Thai terrorists whose identity cards do not mention their ethnicity.
No, the issues at hand are far more complex than just having your identity card state that you’re Uyghur, Hui, Tajik, Kazak. It has to do with Xinjiang slowly losing its character as more and more new immigrants who are culturally insensitive colonise the region.
Remember just a couple of months ago, a Chinese teenager from Nanjing scratched the words “Ding Jinhao visited here” in Chinese on a temple wall in the ancient city Luxor, Egypt. Ignorance is really the true culprit in all these disputes, both violent and non-violent. Of course, many Chinese people are noted for their intelligence, but there are many dim-witted folks in this population of 1.4 billion.
Let me relate a conversation I had with a Han Chinese restaurant owner in Xinjiang. Much will be lost in translation, so I shall write in Chinese.
Restaurant owner: 澳洲是什么地方?
Me: ??? 不是那个州。非洲，北美洲，亚洲都不小呀.
Yes, our newsreaders on Channel 8 all refer to Australia as 澳大利亚 now. It just goes to show that some of us are willing even to go to the extent of changing our family names to accommodate those who can’t distinguish between 洲 (continent) and 州 (prefecture).