Meanwhile, in Xinjiang…
For a few days now I have been thinking of writing a follow-up piece to my recent comments regarding Tibet, mostly as a reply to people in the Savage Minds blog who seemed either curious or displeased that I did not make my own insights into the Tibetan issue a bit more clear.
At this point, I may or may not do so. This blog, after all, is intended to be of an anthropological bent, in the main, and I feel that banging on about Tibet will simply make the overall content of my infrequent posts more political than anthro in nature.
However, I recently ran into this uplifting reminder of the situation in East Turkestan, otherwise known as Xinjiang, and this related essay, and realised that I really should try to put in at least a brief post regarding Xinjiang. Once again, as with Tibet, I feel that I have little to add in terms of specifics. The situation in Xinjiang is, to my mind, clearly far worse than it is in Tibet. Has been for a long, long time, and the amnesia that has been habitually practised in respect of Xinjiang in Western circles is truly astonishing, and is begging for greater engagement, both scholarly and humanitarian/activist.
I intend to visit Xinjiang in the not too distant future. For the time being, and in relation to the strange ways in which politics and repression are often related across the broader regions of Western China I found this comment – by a reader with the alias of monotony who responded to Cumming’s essay – to be quite telling of the turn for the worst that politics has been taking in Tibet for the past two or three years:
“I agree that Zhang Qingli was the worst thing that could have happened to Xinjiang, and now he’s in charge of Tibet and look what’s happening there. His repressive policies just serve to radicalise the minorities. His “wolf in monk’s habit” comment to describe the Dalai Lama is just embarrassing. I can’t believe they gave him the Tibet job. Where he goes next will tell us which way the party authorities are really leaning.”