Friday, July 10, 2009

Uncle Zhou in Uighurstan

Uh oh.  It looks like the regime is getting serious, now that Hu Jintao has apparently sent the thuggish Zhou Yongkang to Urumqi to "direct safety work" in the restive region.  (Original article in Chinese here.)  So what is Zhou up to?  Let's take a gander at a completely spontaneous moment, as dutifully chronicled those crack journalists over at Xinhua:
“Hai-er-ni-sha-han, a 66 year-old Uighur woman who had been struck in the head with a brick while riding on a public bus, is currently receiving medical treatment. Zhou Yong-kang visited her bedside, and leant over to carefully examine her wounds. He expressed his personal sympathies to her. Hai-er-ni-sha-han said that she has confident in the party and the government, believes that the malevolent goals of villains will not succeed, and that ‘our lives will be sure to improve.’ Zhou Yong-kang said to her: ‘You have indeed spoken well. What you said represents the common aspirations of the people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang.’”
Awwwww.  How sweet.  And who exactly is Uncle Zhou and why has he been thrust into this role of healing the ethnic divide?  Well - he just happens to have recently been promoted after serving a five year term as minister of "public security."  Before that, he was the party secretary in Sichuan province, where he launched a major crackdown on Tibetan "splittists" that was marked by the first execution of a Tibetan for a political crime in recent memory.  That crackdown apparently was key to his promotion to the national stage, since beating up on troublesome ethnics has long been a proven path to the top echelons of the Peoples Republic (see e.g. Hu Jintao).  

And who is China's propaganda machine trying to fool with this outpouring of concern from on high?  The domestic audience, of course.  Much as I love the early socialist prose style of this article, it is interesting how the Chinese people can readily believe this garbage when they generally take for granted that Xinhua is only giving them half the truth.  I blame a combination of latent Han chauvinism and, perversely (or not, since I am generally a conservative who opposes such things), the government's showy affirmative action program for minorities, which provides them a number of "advantages" (as long as they are willing to subsume themselves into the Chinese system).  This affirmative action program has convinced many Han that most minorities are either idiots who can't get by without a boost from the state, degenerates who get away with murder because of an official policy of leniency in criminal matters (although this official lenience certainly doesn't carry over to "political" matters), or lazy ingrates who should be thankful for the beneficence of the Chinese (read: Han) state.  

So much for harmonious society...
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