The Other I

July 7, 2009

Familiar unrest

Filed under: Political thoughts,The Economy: a Neophyte's View — theotheri @ 8:40 pm

Uighur protests in a remote Chinese province were in the news again tonight.  The Uighurs are worth a Google search.  They are Turkic Muslims rather than ethnic Chinese, and have had a distinct identity since 300 BC.

Tension between the Uighurs and Han Chinese has been evident for years.  But as in so many other places, the world’s economic downturn has probably made it worse.  When people have jobs and security, domestic violence, burglaries, ethnic strife, and demagoguery all drop.  When jobs, enough food and water, or ones community are threatened, they rise.

Since the financial crisis began, twenty million migrant workers have lost their jobs in China, and over 60,000 factories have closed.  The current strife probably began in China’s manufacturing area among the unemployed.  A Uighur was accused of rape – apparently without justification according to the BBC report.  But several Uighurs were lynched.

That’s when the Uighurs began to protest against the Han in the north.

I participated in peace marches against the Vietnam war, and then read news reports about what was supposed to have happened.  Since then I have been sceptical about the accuracy, if not the downright truth, of about 90% of what is reported.

I don’t know whether it was the Uighurs who first attacked the Han or the security forces who first attacked the Uighurs.  The Chinese media say it was the Uighurs who started it.

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