Move Along. Nothing to See Here

For your outrage of the day, you might want to turn to this piece at The Guardian on the situation faced by Uighur people in China:

As would soon become clear, however, such “mild” discrimination was to be the least of the Uighurs’ problems. While the regulars at Karim’s were having this discussion in the spring of 2017, their home region of Xinjiang – home to more than 10 million ethnic Uighurs – was already being subjected to what the Chinese state described as an “all-out offensive” against religious extremism and terrorism. The hard-line policies started shortly after the appointment of Chen Quanguo as Xinjiang’s party secretary, a strongman who had previously pursued similar policies in Tibet. While the government has justified its use of force as a response to a number of violent incidents, critics have claimed the measures are aimed at destroying Uighur identity.

Things would worsen considerably over the coming year, as Xinjiang was turned into an Orwellian police state and hundreds of thousands of Uighurs were gradually locked away in concentration camps for what the state calls “transformation through education”. Others have been thrown in prison or “disappeared”. Witness reports of life inside the camps and detention centres have told not only of unhealthy living conditions, but also of regular violence, torture and brainwashing. Writing in the New York Times in February, James A Millward, a scholar who has researched Xinjiang for three decades, argued that the “state repression in Xinjiang has never been as severe as it has become since early 2017”.

If even a tenth of what they report in this story is true, it makes a fine illustration of a point I have made here before. The Chinese authorities are not nice people. Their vision of China is a vision for the Han Chinese and it has no room for anyone else.

China’s population is about 1.2 billion people and more than 90% of them are Han Chinese. That means that more than 100 million people, a population greater than the population of the United Kingdom or France or Germany, aren’t.

5 comments… add one
  • Gray Shambler Link

    I only want to say, as a way of establishing a moral baseline, that the “Chinese State” is in charge and is doing what they believe is correct.
    It conflicts with western ideals of diversity and equality, so, more tariffs?
    We have no leverage, and, frankly, they think our political system is ridiculous and doomed to fail.

  • the “Chinese State” is in charge and is doing what they believe is correct

    I think you’re giving the Chinese authorities too much credit. They’re doing what benefits themselves and their families. Correctness has little to do with it.

  • CuriousOnlooker Link

    This is not to lessen or distract from the plight of the Uighyur people.

    But the CCP’s vision for Han Chinese is not embraced by all Han people. The people on Taiwan want no part of it; it is disagreeable to many on the mainland as well.

  • I sometimes wonder what the attitude of mainland Chinese to the Taiwanese is. I know that it at least used to be true that Japanese viewed people of Japanese ancestry who didn’t live in Japan with suspicion and I wonder if the mainland Han Chinese haven’t adopted that view, too, i.e. that Taiwanese of Han Chinese descent aren’t really Chinese.

  • CuriousOnlooker Link

    It’s unknowable since the CCP has strict controls on opinion about Taiwan.

    What is true is the CCP in the last 10 years or so has been more and more conflating the People’s Republic with the concept of Chinese civilization and ethnicity. I.E that people of Chinese ethnicity but who were born overseas, emigrated or native to Taiwan should have a special loyalty to the PRC government. Or to be proud of being Chinese and it’s culture requires approving the CCP.

    That is partly why people of Taiwan have identified less as Chinese. And caused increasing tensions among overseas Chinese; like the Chinese influence controversy going through Australia right now.

Leave a Comment