Later hundreds of Han Chinese marched through the streets of Urumqi smashing shops and stalls belonging to Uighurs.
The BBC’s Quentin Sommerville, in Urumqi, says some of the protesters were shouting “down with Uighurs” as they rampaged through the streets armed with homemade weapons.
Police attempted to block access to the bazaar and other Uighur districts of the city and fired tear gas as the Han Chinese confronted groups of Uighurs.
The Han Chinese said they were angry at the failure of security forces to protect their community on Sunday.
One protester, clutching a metal bar, told the AFP news agency: “The Uighurs came to our area to smash things, now we are going to their area to beat them.”
Archive for July, 2009
Scores Killed in China Protests – BBC News
The Urumqi Mass Incident – EastSouthWestNorth Blog
2a. Riots took place between Han and Uighur factory workers – EastSouthWestNorth Blog
3a. Uighurs in Urumqi protest and are violently repressed by the police
1b. Outsiders sneak into China
2b. Outsiders organize and lead the protests
3b. Uighurs in Urumqi violently riot and peace was restored by the police
Whatever the case may be, China needs to realize that dealing with diversity requires more than having those many nationalities show up on TV and do their native dances. The racial tensions in China are rising and they need to be dealt with in an economic, political, as well as culturally transformative manner.
Now I’ll say that most Nationalities in China have been ‘Han-washed’. The Manchu in China are like the Norwegian-Americans in the United States. They’re absorbed into mainstream culture and have intermarried with the dominant cultures of their respective nations. On the other end of the spectrum, there are the Tibetans and Uighurs in China with their African-American counterparts in the US. First of all, these peoples have not assimilated culturally into the mainstream. Uighurs don’t eat pork, they’re Muslim, they look different, and speak a different language. Blacks listen to rap music, speak in a manner different than white America, and make up a good number of prisoners on death row. Of course, there are those who have assimilated. Some Uighurs in China have risen up to become politicians and speak out against rebellious Uighurs as traitors. Obama is black (at least half of him is) and he is the president of the US. But those who have risen to power must assimilate first. 2pac would never have become president, nor would Hasan Mahsum have been able to rise up the ranks of the CCP.
Now let’s talk about Rodney King real quick. Back in 1992, I was in third grade when the riots broke out in LA. We had a talk about this in our class where our teacher told us it was wrong to use violence. One of the black kids in my class disagreed and said that since the white cop beat the black man first, the blacks should be able to fight back. It’s a pretty simple logic that goes back to the Omaha Race Riots, Native American clan warfare, Nordic saga feuds, and Hammurabi’s ‘Eye for an Eye’. But even then, I had this gut feeling that there was something wrong with it. I mean if I got beat up by one of those Mexicans in the ESL class next door and I responded by gathering my kinsmen to go kick some asses, what’s to stop them from getting back at us? And us from responding? And what’s to keep this cycle of violence from continuing forever?
And that’s what’s happening in China. Han Chinese thought some Uighurs raped some Han Chinese so they got mad (since obvious, only Han men can rape Han women), so they struck back by killing a couple Uighurs. Now the Uighurs are rioting and are beating up Han (since obviously, only Uighur men can kill Uighur men for rape). Now, my side comments might seem sarcastic, but it’s a widely accepted truth. When a whole bunch of white people are killed by a whole bunch of other white people, it’s considered a bad thing. When a bunch of Indonesians kill a bunch of Timorese, it’s ethnic cleansing. That’s a whole different level of killing.
There are several solutions to this problem. The Han Chinese can breed out or violently wipe out all dissenting ethnicities. The CCP can grant independence to regions where certain ethnicities demand it. Or, China can move towards developing a political and economic program which would ease ethnic tensions in their country and promote cultural tolerance of different people.
The third proposal is the one that most people would vote for, but it’s also by far the most difficult. I believe people are instinctually racist and that most people prefer their own kind. English majors hang out with English majors, FOBs hang out with other FOBs, and Uighurs hang out with Uighurs. There are exceptions to the rule, but this is usually the case. There can be no ‘harmonious society’ when people refuse to assimilate. The best one can hope for is a ‘tolerable-coexistence with some intermixing society’. But hey, even that is better than ‘suppressed racial tensions and sudden outbursts of ethnic violence society’ that currently exists in China today.