Some of you may be following what’s going on in Urumqi and the Uighur riots in China. Few people know that I actually spent a year after college living and teaching in Wuhan, China. It was…character-building, to say the least. While there, I got some firsthand accounts of what’s up with China and Xinjiang Province. Basically, here’s the skinny. Xinjiang is kind of like Tibet — annexed by force by the Han Chinese-majority empire to the east. Except that in Xinjiang they are not Buddhist but mostly Muslim. Technically it’s an “Autonomous Region” with some ability to self-govern. It’s said to be like the Wild West out there and the Xinjiang-ren (people) are some tough MoFos. And the Han Chinese are really afraid of the Uighurs which are a minority people in the region. It’s an uneasy peace at best that is fragile, susceptible to outbursts and serious violence on both sides with China usually taking a heavy hand when other forms of “pacification” don’t work.

Xinjiang, like Tibet, wants its sovereignty and cultural freedoms. Unfortunately for them, they happen to live in a place with abundant natural resources that China wants. And what China wants these days, it tends to get and keep. Like lots of American dollars for instance. The video above is a news clip from late last year which talks about how the Chinese were placing severe restrictions on fasting and celebrating the Muslim holiday of Ramadan in Xinjiang. I expect it’s this kind of pressure to conform that’s got people up in arms.

Anyway, that’s wassup. I’m no expert on the sitch. Just giving you my perspective.

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