For those who aren’t already aware, the unrest in Xinjiang continues as Han mobs have been reported attempting to reach Uighur enclaves in Urumqi and elsewhere. Lifted straight from the New York Times:
Paramilitary forces fired tear gas Tuesday at Han Chinese protesters armed with clubs, lead pipes, shovels and meat cleavers. The mob was trying to reach this city’s Uighur enclave in the afternoon to exact revenge for Han civilians killed in the rioting on Sunday, when the Uighurs had rampaged through parts of the city.
In an attempt to contain China’s worst ethnic violence in decades, the authorities had imposed curfews, cut off cellphone and Internet services and sent armed police officers into neighborhoods after the first riot, but protesters massed across the city as rumors spread of fresh violence being committed by both sides.
In the morning, hundreds of Uighur protesters crashed a state-run tour of the riot scene that had been arranged by the authorities for foreign and Chinese journalists.
A wailing crowd of women, joined later by scores of Uighur men, marched down a wide avenue Tuesday with raised fists, tearfully demanding the release of Uighur men who they said had been seized from their homes after the violence Sunday. Some women waved the identification cards of men who had been detained.
As journalists watched, the demonstrators smashed the windshield of a police car, and several police officers drew their pistols before the entire crowd was encircled by officers and paramilitary troops in riot gear.
Here’s hoping that this situation is resolved soon and everyone in the region is safe.
Just imagine if the Uighurs were a Christian — rather than Muslim — minority, battling against the tyrannical Communist regime in Beijing, resisting various types of persecution, and demanding religious freedom.
But the Uighurs are Muslim, not Christian, and hostility towards them thus easily outweighs the opportunity they present to undermine the Chinese Government.
Yes, truly these riots are a tragedy because they have failed to provide the US with an effective method of undermining the Chinese government. What, what?
Greenwald actually has a fairly solid premise — Islam is the new Communism, as far as American perceptions are concerned — but the rest of the article is pretty baffling. For one, it’s unclear exactly what “hostility towards [Uighurs]” exists in the US. We certainly haven’t seen much in the wake of this incident, especially not those of us who are watching CNN. Still, his assumption that everyone (or at least Americans) should be interested in undermining the Chinese government through these sorts of means is a little horrifying. It would probably help undermine the government if there were to be more riots and more innocent deaths, but is that really something a conscionable human being can support?
I think the heart of Greenwald’s point is the message that America should stop hating Muslims on principle, and that’s an admirable message. However, he’s pretty much advocating hating China on principle in the process, and his apparent comfort with the mass loss of innocent life in the pursuit of anti-China goals is somewhat disturbing.
Greenwald has committed what i consider the most common and most dastardly sin in discussing China: forgetting all about the actual people who live there. Yes, we shouldn’t assume bad things about Uighurs because they’re Muslim. Yes, the Chinese government has oppressed them and they have some legitimate grievances. Does that excuse violent rioting and the murder of innocents?
Regardless of one’s political stance, the only moral answer to that question is no.
[Ed note: Please forgive whatever holes there might be in this piece as I’ve had only 15 minutes to pull the whole thing together in the middle of yet another 15 hour workday. Woohoo!]