Letter from Xinjiang – Reflections on the Xinjiang Problem

Jan 20, 2010

Much has been said about the Han-Uighur conflict in Xinjiang, but here’s a rare commentary from a member of a very small ethnic minority group in the restive province.

What’s more, I would like to talk about Xinjiang’s independence as someone from a very small minority group in Xinjiang. Personally, I don’t support Xinjiang’s independence. The reason being, I think the democratic forces among the Muslims are too weak. As soon as Xinjiang goes independent, it will become a fundamentalist country. I am against joining the religion and the state. Maybe someone will say that it’s their tradition. Those who say so are completely disregarding other ethnic groups who also live in Xinjiang. I think in a fundamentalist society, it is hard to ensure much freedom. Firstly, gay and lesbian rights are oppressed. In some fundamentalist societies, gays and lesbians are executed. Secondly, women will face more restrictions in the society. In today’s Urumqi, many Muslim women put away their traditional robes and wear fashionable clothes. They want the freedom of choice. It will be very difficult for women to enjoy such freedom in a fundamentalist society. Thirdly, the freedom to practice a non-Islamic religion will be threatened. Fourthly, what about other minority groups who do not believe in Islam?

Consequently, from this perspective, I do not support Xinjiang’s independence. It is unrealistic. Xinjiang’s neighboring countries in Central Asia have joined the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation with the Chinese government. Countries in this organization joined forces on the issue of anti-terrorism and they have also begun to cooperate on economic issues (oil pipes run from Kazakhstan to inland China). It seems that Russia wants to join the organisation, too. Moreover, for Central Asian countries, they need a strong neighbour like China to hold off Russia and to ensure that Russia will not interfere too much in their internal affairs. That’s why I don’t think the neighboring countries will support Xinjiang’s independence.

Speaking of Xinjiang itself, it has over 40 (47? I forget) ethnic groups, most of which are not Muslim. What these ethnic groups need is not a Uighur-dominated regime in the place of a Han-dominated regime. It is a democratic system that they need. They have already had enough living under the shadow of the dominant ethnic groups.

The Xinjiang problem is not a problem between ethnic groups. It is a problem of freedom and democracy. The Chinese government will not give freedom and democracy to its people; neither will it give to the Uighurs. That’s why the problem cannot be solved. When the unsolved problem erupts, it erupts as an ethnic conflict.

I am very concerned about the situation in Xinjiang. I hope everyone I know is sound and well. I shall be very happy if you, Mr. Ran, can publish my letter.

The original translation of the letter can be found at: http://blog.foolsmountain.com/2009/07/13/translation-letter-from-xinjiang-reflections-on-the-xinjiang-problem/


Fool's Mountain also blogs at Fool's Mountain: Blogging for China


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