Thursday, 9 July 2009

Ethnic murder is ethnic murder despite the context

Rubiya Kadeer is the US based Uighur separatist campaigner whom China has accused of fomenting disturbances in the province. On Sunday ethnic tension spilled over as members of the Turkic speaking minority went on a murderous rampage, with the bulk of 156 victims comprised of Han Chinese. Kadeer describes the violence as ‘a call for freedom and justice’. China has since imposed martial law on Urumqi, where the deadly riots took place.

No doubt the Uighurs of Xinjiang have legitimate grievances against the Chinese government, but a bloody ethnic attack on neighbours should not be allowed to take on the complexion of a second Tiananmen Square. Whether China has an enlightened approach to its minorities or not, it is not helpful to contextualise ethnic mob murder as an outcome of government policy.

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