ウイグル族暴動 強圧的な政策では解決しない

The Yomiuri Shimbun(Jul. 9, 2009)
China's ethnic policies root cause of Uygur riots
ウイグル族暴動 強圧的な政策では解決しない(7月9日付・読売社説)

The outbreak of bloody riots in China's northwestern Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region provides a confirmation of how intractable China's ethnic conflicts are.

In the region's capital, Urumqi, the minority Uygurs staged a demonstration against the authorities, clashing with government paramilitary forces, attacking Han Chinese and setting fire to stores and vehicles.

The situation then escalated as Han Chinese took to the streets to protest the riot. The unrest appears to now be spreading to other regions.

Chinese President Hu Jintao on Wednesday rushed back from Italy to China before the opening of the Group of Eight leading industrialized powers' summit meeting. It seems Hu, as the supreme leader of the Chinese Communist Party and the Chinese government, is taking the situation very seriously.

The riots were triggered when Uygur and Han Chinese seasonal workers clashed at a toy factory in southern Guangdong Province at the end of June. Several thousands of Uygurs participated in a demonstration in Urumqi to demand a full account of what had occurred.


Deadlier than the Tibet riots

According to an official announcement, the riots left 156 people dead and more than 1,000 injured, although the ethnicity of the victims was not given.

The death toll was nearly eight times that of the 20 or so who lost their lives in last year's Tibet riots. We wonder whether excessively tight security by the government forces was partly to blame.

In Xinjiang, where many Muslim Uygurs live, separatists and independence movements have started to surface since the downfall of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s.

However, in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States, Washington and the United Nations moved to identify some Muslim extremist groups active within Xinjiang as terrorist groups. The Chinese authorities have since carried out thorough crackdown on those groups on the pretext they are no more than antiterrorist measures.


Govt policy tilted toward Han

China's policy on its ethnic minorities calls for the economic development of remote regions where many non-Han Chinese live, and the subsequent relocation of Han Chinese from the nation's coastal areas to those remote regions.

Under this policy, Uygurs in Xinjiang have complained that Han Chinese are being given preferential treatment when it comes to reaping the economic benefits deriving from the development of abundant natural resources in Uygur areas, such as petroleum and natural gas.

Dissent among the Uygurs also has been building for long time over ethnic discrimination at workplaces and schools, and a lack of respect shown for their independent language, culture and religion. In addition, a more general suppression of Muslims has been noticeable.

The current trouble indicates there are limits to the party leadership's policies, which is based on the belief that improvements in living standards can prevent most ethnic unrest.

Ahead of the 60th anniversary of the country's establishment in this autumn, the leadership headed by Hu was nervous about ensuring domestic stability. The riots in Uygur and Tibet should prompt Beijing to reexamine its overbearing policies on its ethnic minorities.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, July 9, 2009)
(2009年7月9日01時58分 読売新聞)

by kiyoshimat | 2009-07-09 09:00 | 英字新聞

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