I was in Xinjiang as a solo traveller in 1990. I dislike the Islamic world intensely, but by and large found the Uighurs to be a very decent set of people.
The Chinese settlers in Xinjiang, OTOH, treated the Uighurs horribly. The Chinese don't belong out there, any more than they belong in Tibet, and if they would leave the Uighurs alone, the Muslim extremists would have very little to recruit.
posted on 09/30/2005 7:48:47 AM PDT
Looks like they enjoy hot peppers.
posted on 09/30/2005 7:55:26 AM PDT
by Eric in the Ozarks
(Troubled by NOLA looting ? You ain't seen nothing yet.)
Wow. Do you have any other stories? That sounds really interesting.
posted on 09/30/2005 8:20:09 AM PDT
Agreed. In the mid-1990's my father in law's employer was hired by the Chinese govt to write up the project costs and requirements to connect parts of western China to Beijing via fiber. Politics eventually killed the project, but not before my FIL, a half dozen engineers, and I (I worked with him at the time), got to spend a couple of weeks in China.
For the most part, the Uighurs seemed to be a kind people, and visiting towns with an Uighur majority seemed like stepping back in time. They weren't fundamentalist by any means, and were genuinely friendly. They do NOT like the Hans, on the other hand, and we had more than one set of doors slammed in our faces when people learned that we were there on the Han's business.
The problem is the Chinese opinions of the Uighurs. Xinjiang translates literally to "New Frontier", and the Chinese government treats the entire area as empty land waiting to be settled. If they decide to build a city in some location and sent in a million Han, they don't even bother to check and see if there are already Uighur towns or farms there. The Chinese treat the Uighurs much the same way American's treated the Indians back in the 1800's...if they're in the way, they simply get driven off at gunpoint.
It's no surprise that some Uighurs are becoming militant towards the Chinese. These people have lived there for thousands of years and have a long history in the area. They have been intermittently been subject to Chinese rule for more than 1400 years, but have mostly accepted it since the Chinese left them alone (as long as they paid their taxes and didn't rebel, the Chinese emperors mostly left them alone). The policy since 1950, however, has been simple. Drive out the Uighur. Ban their culture, destroy their farms, and replace them demographically with Han Chinese. The Han have gone from only a few thousand people 50 years ago, to nearly half the population today...and ever one of them live on Uighur land that was taken without compensation.
I don't like the Chinese, and I don't like Muslims, but in this particular case I'm rooting for the Muslims. Nobody deserves to have their homes and culture destroyed on a political whim.
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