“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

The Ugly Xinjiang Riots (tough video)

Sunday's riot in Urumqi has killed 156 people and injured more than 1,000, the largest number of casualties in any single incident of its kind in six decades. "The rioters violated laws and harmed the fundamental interests of all Chinese ethnic groups," said Li Zhi, Communist Party of China (CPC) chief of Urumqi. Police in Xinjiang have arrested 1,434 suspects over Sunday's deadly riot, including 1,379 men and 55 women. They are said to have conducted violent acts of killing, beating, smashing, looting and burning.

ANALYSIS: Beijing afraid fractures in Xinjiang could split China

PARANOIA:: Suppression of Uighur dissent reflects deep fear that separatists could splinter the nation

Wednesday, Jul 08, 2009,

Riots in China’s restless Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region are nothing new.

In 1990, 50 people were killed in the town of Baren when armed police put down a demonstration against Chinese rule by 3,000 disgruntled Muslims.

In 1997, members of the region’s ethnic Uighur population gathered in the city of Gulja to protest against the execution of 30 activists who had been campaigning for an independent East Turkestan. After two days of demonstrations, Chinese riot police moved in. The official death toll was put at nine, but some Western observers say as many as 400 people died.

Early reports following Sunday’s riot in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang, estimated that 140 people were killed and more than 800 injured when police and soldiers broke up a peaceful demonstration by Uighurs, which quickly turned violent. The riot, in which Han civilians were attacked, cars overturned and shops set on fire, has been described as the most bloody since the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989.

More so even than Tibet, Xinjiang is the jewel in the crown of the People’s Republicof China. A strategic buffer between China and the former Soviet republics, it accounts for a sixth of China’s land mass and is rich in oil and gas deposits. The Chinese Communist Party is anxious, to the point of paranoia, that a coherent separatist movement will lead to an independent Xinjiang and thus to the fracturing of the country.

For this reason, it will stop at nothing to suppress Uighur dissent. If history is anything to go by, the next six months will be a desperate period for the Uighurs. In the wake of the Baren incident, every male in the area between the age of 13 and 60 was arrested. After the riots in Gulja, so many Muslim men were taken into custody the authorities were obliged to move them to a sports stadium on the outskirts of the city.

Amnesty International said the prisoners were hosed down with water cannons and had to live without shelter for several days. It was mid-winter. Many lost their hands and fingers to frostbite. The alleged ringleaders of the Gulja uprising were driven through the streets of the city in open trucks en route to a mass sentencing rally. Witnesses reported they appeared drugged and were beaten by their captors in full view of the crowd.

During this period, house-to-house searches became commonplace across Xinjiang. Curfews were imposed and foreign journalists barred from entering the region. A similar picture emerged in Tibet after last year’s riots. Monastery towns were sealed off and mass arrests carried out. About 1,200 Tibetans seized during this period are still unaccounted for by their families. Beijing blamed Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama for instigating the riots. It came as no surprise, therefore, to learn that last Sunday’s events in Urumqi have been blamed on Rebiya Kadeer, the businesswoman who lives in the US and is regarded by the Uighur community as a ruler-in-exile.

The Uighurs and their Han rulers are engaged in a cycle of violence and despair that shows no sign of abating.

In recent weeks, tensions between them were running high because of the seemingly heedless destruction of the old city of Kashgar. Buildings of enormous historical and cultural significance are being torn down to make way for highways and apartment blocks that symbolize the Chinese economic miracle. Uighur families who have lived in Kashgar for decades are being forcibly evicted to new homes on the outskirts of the city.

The frustration and resentment felt by most Uighurs at China’s crass insensitivity boiled over last Sunday. It can only be hoped that the continued suppression of Uighurs does not drive its more radical elements into the hands of ideologues and fanatics.


  1. So, the Charlie Chi-coms are tearing down the old slums to install modern highways and buildings.

    Eminent Domain. The people are evicted, enmass, but that happened at the Three Gorges project, too.

    The central planners know best, in China. No appeal and no delays. They can open a new coal fired electrical generating plant a week.
    Not an EPA agent in sight.

    They are now the engine of progress, industrious, like the boys that built the Empire State Building.

    The Muslims are not being overtly descriminated against, no more than the Han discriminate against eveyone not Han. Which I'm told is a lot, but I've never known many.

    One of the dilemmas of living in a country that does not respect the concept of private property. Socialist societies where the government holds thirty percent of the available land

  2. I heard about this GOP Chairman in Duaval County, Florida. Seems he helped to sponsor and did a radio spot from a Tea Party.
    Anyway, sure reminded me of habu, for just an instant

    The Republican Party of Duval County is backing away from their promotion of an event that featured numerous controversial comparisons of President Barack Obama with German Dictator Adolf Hitler. The event, a Tea Party held at the Jacksonville Landing on July 2, was organized by the First Coast Tea Party. However, the Duval County Republican Party promoted the event with e-mails that stated “Paid by Republican Party of Duval County.” Duval Republican Party Chairman Lenny Curry also broadcasted live from the event on the party’s weekly radio broadcast hosted by AM 1320.

    The event, which was attended by Florida State Representatives Lake Ray, Charles McBurney and Mike Weinstein and Florida State Senator Stephen Wise, drew about 1,000 people to the Jacksonville Landing. Local party officials were on stage, along with numerous members of the Jacksonville business community.

  3. We should sponser the oppressed Uighers with all expenses paid relocation to the Bahamas.

  4. 2164th said...

    The only thing standing between Obama and certain defeat in the next election is the Republican party.


    Too Cruel!

  5. The Daily Mail reports: “A former soldier pulled his own teeth out with a pair of pliers because he could not find a dentist to take on NHS patients. Iraq War veteran Ian Boynton could not afford to go private for treatment so instead took the drastic action to remove 13 of his teeth that were giving him severe pain. The 42-year-old, from Beverley, East Yorkshire, had not had his teeth looked at since seeing the army dentist in 2003.”


  6. 9. Boghie:

    Looks like the Simpsons director could save some money by using actual footage (stock photos) of free British Dental Care!!!

    Me thinks ‘free’ is a reletive word.

    10. Boghie:

    These blokes just redefined ‘free’ and single plier insurance!!!

    As a conservative, I have to respect their initiative.

    11. Doug:

    Steyn’s folks still live there.
    Said his dad regularly brings infections home from the hospital.

    Told the story of a woman miscarrying in the waiting room with a pool of blood on the floor.
    An orderly comes in with a dirty mop, swabs it around and then drags the mop out the door into the hallway!

    Some ungodly number of women got an STD when an unclean speculum was re-used.

    Maybe they should just be given a pain pill and told to stay home.

    Worth a try.

  7. how to destroy an chinese empire?

    can you say internal nationalistic movements?

    china is a false construct...

    tibet, mongolia, canton, hong kong and other areas and groups....

    let them tear each other's throats out...

  8. Can't improve on Wolcott:

    Me Trippin' (Modestly Updated)

    I've never dropped acid before but I could swear there's this endless show on all the channels with beefy-necked guys in sunglasses and sequined gloves hugging each other and little children swaying back and forth and the vision of the ascension of a new Jesus who looks like Michael Jackson being projected on a jumbo screen in front of a flower-laden casket as a new age of miracles is initiated and why does the cat staring at me on my desk have eyes floating outside of its body?

    That is the last time I buy a "tab" from a guy on the street working out of his wheelchair.

    Afterthought: At the climax of the memorial celebration for the Gloved One, I expected a spaceship to descend and carry everyone off.

    That's how I would have done it, had I been producer.

    July 7, 2009, 3:36 PM

  9. I wanted to find something in sports, so I foolishly went to the CNN Homepage.

    I saw very little else except MJ coverage, and promptly fled.

  10. The question I have, is why not?

    That is the question that begs an answer.

    Tue Jul 07, 10:23:00 PM EDT

    I think the answer is best uncovered by changing the question slightly: Why haven't the Israelis done it?

    No other country, after all, has a more compelling interest in weakening and then catalyzing the end of that regime.

    Can't spare the cash for a network of violent subversives with a view to taking down a government that poses a direct existential threat to you? That certainly begs credulity.

    Shortage of arms merchants maybe? The world is positively plagued with them.

    Fear of it going south? One of the chief utilities of covert operations is the ease with which they can be dropped like a sack of dirt and who's the wiser?

    So. Why hasn't Israel moved on that front?

  11. It's not like I don't get the whole Michael Jackson thing. I did own the Thriller and Bad albums, after all. I was a teenager when Jackson hysteria first broke out around the globe.

    But I have no burning interest in celebrity (especially of the progressively degenerative sort) and had my fill about three hours into the postmortem.

  12. And you folks wonder why I don't watch TV.

    I was around for the Golden Age of TV.

    What a letdown.

    All this celebrating a corpse without a brain.

    Surely wherever he's at it couldn't be much worse than where he was, with everybody sucking off him.

    But then, too, it's said there are sucking hungry ghosts in many realms of the afterworld.

    Well, judge not, the judgement you judge with is the judgement you shall be judged with.

    Compassion is all. And is matched only by the divine patience.

  13. Exclusive: Today’s memorial for Michael Jackson won’t be the last. Sources tell me that Jackson insiders are planning a true memorial concert for what would have been the singer’s 51st birthday on Aug. 29. The location would be the O2 Arena in London, where Jackson was set to start his “This Is It” concert tour this coming Monday. Details to follow.

    Looks like this tribute was so successful another is being planned.

  14. I almost forgot: Caroline Glick yesterday said maybe it's time for Israel to remove or at least lessen the drag of the ol' ball and chain by reducing or eliminating military aid from the US.

    When. Hell. Freezes. Over.

    In the event that it does, we get a bonus: Tandem reduction or elimination of Egypt's aid.

    We could plow it all into universal health care...thus ensuring that no man (Or woman. Or child.) ever has to pull more than, say, three of his (Or her.) own teeth.

  15. Why not a fifty city funeral tour?

  16. Looks like this tribute was so successful another is being planned.

    Wed Jul 08, 02:35:00 AM EDT

    Could go on for years, bob.


    Feels like it could, anyway.

  17. Put him in a viewing box in the capital.

    With all those drugs in him, the flesh will never decay.

    No embalming necessary.

    Create a wishing pool where the faithful can throw coins. Work down the national debt.

    The thought has occured to me he was a case of Inedia as some of the old Catholic saints were said to be. Hadn't eaten for months.

    Lived on prana, gave up prawns.

  18. Speaking of comparing people to Nazis, AlGore has indicated most of us here are climate Nazis, a somewhat new category, but nevertheless serious stuff.

  19. The Han chinese are amongst the vilest racists you'll encounter. Only the Japanese might be worse, but they cloak it under the guise of forced courtesy.

    The problem with Xinjiang and Tibet is that they were never officially part of China proper, but vassal states, and so the local perception is that they're independent.

    Not a problem for China tho. If push comes to shove, remember China has a huge male surplus it can utilize to secure control over its border provinces for all time. Economy will suffer somewhat, but I'm guessing it doesn't take much to put down the natives, especially the males.

    Reminds me of Hitler's Lebensraum, 'living space', except one that was forced by circumstances?

    Stay tuned.