- Vijay Kranti-
Following forced occupation of East Turkistan (Chinese name 'Xinjiang'), Tibet and Inner Mongolia six decades ago, China is now using its Han population as a new tool to perpetuate its colonial grip over these countries. The ongoing demographic invasion of these three regions account for more than one third of PRC's land mass and over 80 percent of its mineral wealth. With new settlers overwhelming the social, cultural and economic personality of these regions a sense of frustration and strained helpless and restless prevails in the air. This situation has lead to varying types of reactions from local populations, ranging from self immolations (151 in past 5 years) in Tibet and violent attacks on Chinese security forces and settlers in Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia.
On 27th June 2009 a spine-chilling video clip on YouTube, depicting anti-Uyghur violence that had taken place on the previous night in Guangdong, a major industrial city of China, was a precursor to the horrible riots which broke out 3000 km away in China’s Xinjiang region 10 days later. This clip gave frame-by-frame graphic account of how a mob of youthful Han Chinese industrial workers chased and mercilessly clubbed to death three young Uyghur (Turk Muslims) co-workers from Xinjiang over a span of less than three minutes.
This week when I tried to revisit the same website (http://www.youtube.com/
watch?v=6_PJTO2k0PM ), it had been already taken off. But, interestingly I could find the same footage along with many other footages of the same event on some other sites. (New website as available on 21 Apr 2016 : https://www.
The victims belonged to a group of over 800 young Uyghurs who were sent a month ago (in May 2009) by a Chinese government agency from Xinjiang to be employed on cheaper wages in a local toy factory. All three killings were recorded from the balcony of a workers’ dormitory complex in a street that later looked like washed with blood. As the Han arson and killings spread all over the industrial town, the Chinese government insisted that only two persons had died in the disturbances. However, the international media, quoting non-government sources, reported that 18 Uyghurs, including two women, were killed and over 300 were injured.
HAN JUSTICE FOR THE ‘BARBARIANS’
A young Han blogger who posted this video clip identified himself as a ‘Proud Chinese’. Though the blog was flooded with condemnation from all over the world, yet gleeful endorsements of these killings by most Chinese reflected the deep Han-non-Han divide that pervades today’s China. One of the Chinese reactions exclaims,” Teach Turks a lesson!”. Yet another abusive blogger proudly announced that,”… Chinese dislike …….. and treat them as animal and slave. …”. Yet another Han youth expressed his contentment over lynching of the Uygher youths and announced, “ …. I’ m happy to hear that Chinese are doing their duty….”. One typical Han reaction was, “…These barbarians deserved this…” But the one who takes away the real cake was a young Han who announced, “……We can all enjoy this video and laugh ……… I enjoy this with popcorn and coca-cola. What about you guys?”
One only hopes that these Han Chinese youths don’t represent the general Han contempt against China’s national minorities who are all bracketed in a common category of ‘Barbarians’.
Since 1949 when Chairman Mao sent his People’s Libeation Army (PLA) to ‘liberate’ their country, known as ‘East Turkistan’ until then, the indigenous Uyghurs have been always on a short fuse. Known for their self respecting and aggressive temper, the Islamic Uyghurs took to the streets in capital Urumqi (pron: ‘oo-room-chee’) on July 5 and killed over a hundred Han settlers within first few hours. The violence spread to another prominent city Kashghar too where Islamic freedom fighters had killed 16 Chinese soldiers previous year on the eve of Beijing Olympics. (Now I find that video images of 5th July, 2009 Uyghur demonstrations on following site: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u7fAyRnmcLk too have been removed.
But the tide turned against the Uyghurs by next day when all the four types of Chinese Police and crowds of young Han migrants descended on the local population. In separate photos published in newspapers across the world, uniformed Chinese police personnel and rioting Han youths were seen holding identical wooden clubs. (Pl see photos).
As the police handled demonstrating Uyghurs, the Han youths pulled out the locals from their homes and lynched them unhindered in broad day light. Chinese government agencies have put total death toll at 184 as government controlled media released selected photos and videos to present Hans as the victims of ‘Muslim Terrorist’ Uyghur violence. Uyghur leaders alleged that more than 800 of their people were killed and over 1400 were taken away by police.
In these violent demonstrations the public slogans from both sides were also noteworthy. Angry Uyghurs were seen shouting slogans like ‘Go back to China!’ at the Han migrants and police. In contrast, migrant Han youths chanted typical patriotic slogans like “Unite!” and “Modern Society”, to underline that their presence in this remote region was a mark of ‘national unity’ and a contribution towards establishing ‘harmony’ — two elements which were being stressed by the communist government under Hu Jin Tao in the light of popular ‘splittist’ tendencies.
Unfortunately for the Chinese government, a team of foreign journalists was present on the same day in Urumqui who were brought in on a conducted tour by the government to showcase Xinjiang’s ‘economic progress’ under Chinese rule. That prevented the Chinese government from putting a lid on the events to hide the real situation from world community.
This violent Uyghur reaction was unlike their non-violent Buddhist counterparts in Tibet who too had risen the previous year (2008) against the Chinese occupation. Though their uprising was much peaceful and mostly non-violent after the first day, yet the spread and spontaneity of their two month long demonstrations across a wide zone of 2500 km diameter had left Beijing rulers shaken to their bones. n