Present-Day Ethnic Problems in Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region: Overview and Recommendations (3) – Religion

The Chinese are continuing to speak out of both sides of their mouth. While stating they will “tolerate” quiet religious practice and expression, in reality they still see small religious expression, such as wearing headscarves, as “extremist” and use that toward total suppression of any religion.

China Change

By Ilham Tohti, translated by Cindy Carter, published: April 26, 2015

 

Continued from I. Unemployment and II. Bilingual Education

III. Religion

Overview                                                       

Since the July 2009 ethnic unrest in Xinjiang, religious fervor within China’s Uighur community has been rising steadily. Whether in traditional villages in southern Xinjiang, among urban officials and intellectuals, or even on college campuses in Beijing, there has been a quiet upsurge in religious conservatism—and the percentage of youthful conservative adherents is at an all-time high. Some observers have noted that, during religious services at mosques, it is not uncommon to see young people praying silently, with tears streaming down their faces. This is a social signal worthy of our close attention.

As an overt symbol of a people’s cultural and ethnic identity, religion comes second only to language; in the most extreme circumstances, religion can become the final spiritual refuge for a people.

The two…

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US Army Chaplain, 1989 Student Leader, Refused Entry into China to Visit Dying Mother (with a Poem)

China Change

By China Change, published: April 24, 2015

 

Major Xiong Yan (熊焱). Photo credit: RFA. Major Xiong Yan (熊焱). Photo credit: RFA.

Xiong Yan (熊焱) was a law student in 1989 and a leader in the student democracy movement that ended tragically when the Chinese government cracked it down with machine guns and tanks. Xiong Yan left China in 1992 and is now a U. S. Army chaplain stationed in Texas. His applications for Chinese visa have been turned down repeatedly over the years, and he has not been able to visit his loved ones in China, and, this time, his dying mother.

According the New York Times:

Now an American citizen and a United States Army chaplain, Major Xiong said in a telephone interview on Friday that he had asked to return to his homeland. His mother, who is in her 70s, is dying, he said, and he has asked the Chinese authorities to…

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Present-Day Ethnic Problems in Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region: Overview and Recommendations (5) – Distrust of Ethnic Minority Officials and Intellectuals

China Change

By Ilham Tohti, translated by Cindy Carter, published: May 6, 2015

Continued from I. Unemployment, II. Bilingual Education, III. Religion, and IV. Ethnic Alienation and Segregation

V.  Distrust of Ethnic Minority Officials and Intellectuals

Overview

Widespread official distrust of ethnic minority cadres and intellectuals is one blatantly obvious and tremendously important facet of Xinjiang’s ethnic problem. In 1997, the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee’s “Document No. 7” marked a watershed moment in Xinjiang’s ethnic conflict: in it, the Party Central Committee expressed its belief that the biggest problem facing Xinjiang was the threat of the “three forces” [of terrorism, religious extremism and separatism.] In Xinjiang, this new policy thrust resulted in a series of policies that soon transformed the entire Uighur population into suspected separatists, and precipitated a rapid decline in the responsibilities and status given to Uighur cadres. This marginalization of Uighur cadres, in turn, bred a…

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Feminist Five Thank Domestic and International Support That Secured Their Release

China Change

Published: May 6, 2015

Below are excerpts of the letters they posted following their release on April 13, 2015.

 

Wei Tingting (韦婷婷), April 17, 2015  

Wei Tingting. Photo: http://bigeese.com/archives/26569 Wei Tingting. Photo: http://bigeese.com/archives/26569

Since the first day home, I have been constantly trying to make up for what I missed during the detention, reading your articles, tracking your chats, browsing through various reports from various venues, and then allowing tears to flow. I am moved and excited each day by your spirit, bravery and love, so much so that I can hardly sleep at the night.  Having too much to say and too much to write about, I do not know how to start, overwhelmed by waves of feelings.

On the way back, I got to know the various voices of support from all over the world. I shed tears when I read how Po Po cried when she took…

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Present-Day Ethnic Problems in Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region: Overview and Recommendations (4) – Ethnic Alienation and Segregation

China Change

By Ilham Tohti, translated by Cindy Carter, published: May 4, 2015

Continued from I. Unemployment, II. Bilingual Education and III. Religion

IV. Ethnic Alienation and Segregation

Overview

Among the openly talked-about problems affecting ethnic relations in Xinjiang, perhaps the most important is the increasing sense of alienation among ethnic minorities. But beyond this psychological sense of alienation, there is another, even more severe problem that few people (Uighurs in particular) are willing to discuss openly: the problem of physical ethnic segregation.

By physical or macro-level segregation, I mean that Xinjiang’s Han Chinese population tends to be clustered in areas of relatively high population density. In fact, the vast majority of Xinjiang’s Han Chinese population is concentrated in three areas, all of which are effectively off-limits to Uighurs: Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC) areas; Xinjiang’s capital city of Urumqi; and cities, such as Shihezi and Kuitun, located in the…

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Wu Rongrong: How I Became a Women’s Rights Advocate

China Change

By Wu Rongrong, published: April 27, 2015

Wu Rongrong (武嵘嵘), though released along with the four other feminist activists on April 13, was subjected to grueling, humiliating interrogations on April 23rd and 24th. Don’t let the CCP machine destroy the very best of China. – The Editor

武嵘嵘

Fate and chance made me a social worker and a feminist: gentle and timid in appearance, but a staunch defender of women’s rights.

After four years of college social work studies and volunteer experience, I set off on a path of social advocacy

At college, I majored in social work. I fell in love with the ideas, values and curriculum of that major, its concern for society’s most vulnerable groups and its quest for fairness and justice. My Alma mater, China Women’s University (中华女子学院), was papered with images of heroic women who had been tireless campaigners for women’s rights. During my college…

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Present-Day Ethnic Problems in Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region: Overview and Recommendations (2)

China Change

By Ilham Tohti, translated by Cindy Carter, published: April 23, 2015

Continued from I. Unemployment

II. Bilingual Education

Overview

Besides unemployment, the issue that provokes the most intense reaction within Xinjiang’s Uighur community is the issue of bilingual education. In practice, “bilingual education” in Xinjiang has essentially become “monolingual education” (i.e. Mandarin-only education.) Within the Uighur community, there is a widespread belief that the government intends to establish an educational system based on written Chinese and rooted in the idea of “one language, one origin.” Suspicions abound that the government is using administrative means to exterminate Uighur culture and accelerate ethnic and cultural assimilation. With the mandatory implementation of so-called “bilingual education,” the Uighur language has become steadily marginalized, not only in the field of education but also in government administration, the judiciary, and other areas. Despite being one of the official languages of the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, the Uighur…

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Response to China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Accusation against Yirenping

China Change

By Beijing Yirenping Center, April 14, 2015

On April 14, Hong Lei, the Spokesman for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), stated publicly that our organization, Beijing Yirenping Center (BYC), “has allegedly violated the law, and will be punished.” Our organization’s response is as follows:

1.  We welcome MOFA in its open discussion on BYC, as this is an improvement upon the break-in raid into our office, in the early hours of March 24.

2.  BYC will take the accusation from MOFA seriously. We will hire legal counsel to respond in accordance with China’s laws, as well as pursue the March 24 office raid.

3.  Since BYC’s founding in 2006, we have been the target of rigorous “solicitude” from various departments and levels of the police force. We have reason to believe that, should BYC have broken the law in any way, the police would have raised the issue…

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On the Release of Five Feminist Activists in China – Statement by Gender Scholar Wang Zheng

China Change

By Wang Zheng, published: April 13, 2015

Professor Wang Zheng, of University of Michigan. Professor Wang Zheng, of University of Michigan. Online phot. 

It is to my great relief that the authorities have decided to release the five feminists on bail. However, we insist that the police drop all charges against the five rather than treating them as “suspects”, restricting their physical mobility and job opportunity, and deprive them of their freedom and rights as citizens. Our fight for their total freedom continues.

In the Chinese context, this is the first time that a group of detained social activists are released all at once. This decision suggests: one, the unprecedented huge mobilization of global feminist and other non-governmental organizations’ support is effective. The massive grassroots based petitions not only pushed their own respective state politicians to respond, it also demonstrated clearly to the Chinese government that this petition is not instigated by a nation- based political…

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Detention of Five Chinese Feminist Activists at the Juncture of Beijing+20 – An Interview with Gender Scholar Wang Zheng

China Change

Published: April 11, 2015

“You must know the global picture of women to understand the international response to the detention of the five feminists in China.”

Professor Wang Zheng spoke at the Brookings Institute in Washington, DC, on April 3, 2015. Professor Wang Zheng spoke at the Brookings Institute in Washington, DC, on April 3, 2015. Photo credit: @LetaHong

Professor Wang Zheng (王政), of the University of Michigan, is a scholar whose research focuses on the modern and contemporary history of Chinese women and gender, and Chinese feminism in the era of globalization. Since 1993, Professor Wang has been working with Chinese domestic feminist scholars to promote feminist scholarship and establish courses in women studies and gender studies. She has also participated in the feminist movement itself in China over the years. On April 3rd, Professor Wang gave a speech at Brookings Institute in Washington, DC, about the recent arrest of the five Chinese feminists (starts around 48:00). On April 7th

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