Sun, Jul 12, 2009 - Page 8 News List

Chinese oppression of minorities

By Paul Lin 林保華

The unrest in Urumqi and the massacre of Muslim Uighurs once again highlighted the instability of Chinese society and the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) cruel, merciless nature.

At 11pm on June 25 in Shaoguan City in Guangdong Province, a fight broke out between Han Chinese workers and Uighur workers over rumors that a Uighur had raped a Han Chinese girl at a factory. The result was that two Uighur workers were killed and 118 people injured, 79 of them Uighurs. Armed police did not intervene until after 4am. With the CCP’s ability to stop protests even before they get started, this was a very slow response, which in effect meant the party approved the beating of Uighurs. The Chinese government’s long-term nationalistic propaganda aimed at giving the Uighurs a bad name has resulted in most Han Chinese viewing Uighurs as suicide bombers, splittists and terrorists.

After the incident, Chinese authorities did not release any news on how they intended to stop the ethnic conflict. When a group of Uighurs protested in Xinjiang’s capital Urumqi last Sunday, it turned into a bloodbath. How this peaceful protest turned into conflict remains a mystery because the CCP had blocked all information in and out of the area, including telephones and the Internet. News reports at around midnight on July 5 said only two people died, but the morning after, officials announced that the death toll had jumped to 140 with 828 injured. Not long after the second set of figures were released, Beijing announced that the death toll had increased to 156 and yesterday raised it to 186 — with many believing that the real figure is much higher.

Thanks to the authorities rapidly “calming the unrest,” many people were killed that night and their corpses quickly disposed of, with thousands more arrested. Reporters from outside of Xinjiang were then allowed into designated areas for interviews, while the government laid all the blame on the president of the World Uighur Congress Rebiya Kadeer, a 62-year-old Uighur businesswoman who lives in exile in the US. The surprising effectiveness of the Chinese government’s actions imply that the incident was carefully planned in advance to draw the Uighurs out and give them a beating without leaving any traces behind.

The Uighurs have been wrongly accused and even with reporters from other areas and abroad arriving on pre-arranged tours, there were brave people who — like the monks last year in Tibet — directly exposed the CCP’s tricks and violent acts, saying troops drove directly at protesters in armored cars and raided the houses of innocent Uighur civilians taking away all able-bodied men.

This is the second mass slaughter conducted by the CCP after the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989. Is this how Beijing has “improved its human rights” record as President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has claimed? Because China is a powerful country, the international community has been relatively silent in its response. The UN should step forward and investigate these racially motivated killings. While an investigation team may be deceived by the CCP, at least it would force the CCP to restrain itself somewhat.

If the CCP really views Uighurs as Chinese, blood should prove to be thicker than water and the CCP should stop the killings. If however, the CCP views the Uighurs as some foreign tribe, they should be given the right to self-determination.

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