these are the posts tagged ‘riots’:

the price of ignoring the elephant in the room

“But the missing from this official story, as it was missing from official reports on the Tibetan riots, is any acknowledgment that Uighurs in general might have legitimate grievances. Grievances about the influx of ethnic Han, the relative lack of economic opportunity, demolition of their traditional cities, limitations on their right to freely practice their religion, or whatever.

That’s a serious omission because, while it is made with an eye on propagating an official story of the spread of development and prosperity, it comes with a long-term price: it inflames the very tensions it attempts to paper over. And it, with marvelous efficiency, it inflames them on both sides. Uighurs are given the impression that their concerns are considered unworthy of acknowledgment by the State, a situation that is a classic recipe for convincing people to take extreme measures. Other Chinese, meanwhile, are deprived of any context for the riots, which feeds into a colonial attitude toward Uighurs that I have experienced firsthand. If you believe that you have given a people nothing but development and progress and economic opportunity, and they rise up against you, then you will come to see them as at best treacherous and untrustworthy and at worst as less than human, with predictable consequences. Legitimate grievances or not, the riots are almost certainly doing terrible damage to the Uighur cause in China.”

“Collective violence is a funny thing. Grievances, hatreds, jealousies, and resentment can linger in the collective consciousness for a long time without being expressed through bloodshed, but the longer it simmers the more extreme the reaction when the barrier is breached and violence enters the repertoire of resistance.

I personally found the wanton violence on the part of the rioters in Urumqi to be abhorrent. But it’s also important to remember, as too many people in the United States failed to do in the aftermath to 9-11, that seeking to understand WHY somebody would commit acts of violence is NOT the same thing as condoning those acts.”

quotes from 2 sensible pieces on the most recent urumqi riots, by Imagethief and Jottings from the Granite Studio, very much worth reading for some context on the situation.
for twitter updates, follow @malcolmmoore and @melissakchan.

your daughter’s (olympic) graduation

“…those concerns about China’s human rights are legitimate and justified, but this is not the right time to over blow it into serious confrontation. …… to highlight these problems in the run up to the Olympics is inappropriate. It’s like on your daughter’s graduation ceremony, one of your friends tries to point out the fact that she is actually three months pregnant and doesn’t know who is the baby’s father.”

Great analogy! Unfortunately though, there are a whole bunch of people who are absolutely determined to use this moment to bring their concerns about Tibet, Darfur, human rights etc etc to the attention of the world. They see this as their only opportunity to exert pressure on Beijing and not only will laugh and point and catcall at your daughter, they’ll claim to have impregnated her themselves if it gets people to take notice.

again, from the time: blog.

dear friends,

we’re fine, i’m calmer, so don’t worry. after some reasoning, i believe people in shanghai are more well informed than in other more rural places, not to mention simply too busy to be making any riots. and my window view of the beach themed carrefour assures me it is still in the same place.
i’ve read that the government has finally taken some action by enforcing restrictions to stop the access to sites that instigate riots and boycotts, as well as blocking sms that have sensible content.

how naive of them to let this anti-western sentiment spread this far on the eve of the olympic games (when thousands of foreigners are expected in china) and especially knowing that they went through a very similar situation with anti-japanese protests not so long ago.

few things are more stupid than a mob

shanghaiist published today the story of an american volunteer teacher that was attacked last sunday, when exiting carrefour on zhuzhou (hunan). below is the letter sent by one of his colleagues to the media:

Last night [Editor’s note: Sunday, Apr 20] around 7pm my friend was attacked by a mob of about 150 people outside the Carrefour in Zhuzhou, Hunan (near his placement site). When leaving Carrefour some of the crowd started shouting at him and he tried to say he didn’t have anything to do with the Olympics, but 3 men started to push him and then he was hit in the back of the head at least 3 times.
He started to run, and the mob chased him. He jumped into a cab, but the mob surrounded the car and started shaking and rocking it. The cab driver was shouting at him to get out. Then they started hitting the car. The crowd was shouting “kill him! kill the Frenchman.” He called the Field Director while in the back of the car. The cab driver abandon the car when he saw police coming.
Two police made there way though the mob and managed to drive the cab away. The Field Director alerted the Director Shu of the Hunan Department of Education. The police got him another cab and he took it from Zhuzhou to the field director’s home in Changsha. He spending the night here in Changsha and is likely leaving China as soon as possible.

[My colleague] is only 22, an American (not French), and a volunteer teacher. He graduated from Boston Collage less than 10 months ago. If he can be attacked anyone can be. The situation in central china is becoming much worse very quickly. James has been cut up pretty badly by the glass and the people trying to grab him.

I didn’t think the situation and protests were anything to worry about before now, but if the mob had gotten him outside of the cab he could have easily been killed.

Foreigners need to be more aware that this is a real danger and MUCH more careful around the protests here in central china.

Im also sending this letter to the embassy.
People need to be more much careful.

me too, i also hadn’t given these boycotts and protests much thought. now? honestly, as a caucasian-big-eyed-easy-to-spot foreigner, i feel threatened.

i find myself mentally rewinding stupid sentences in mandarin, such as “i’m not french, i’m portuguese, portugal gave macau to china, so we’re friends!”. as if i could tame the stupidity of a mob with my impressive mandarin skills. both sad and pathetic. *sigh*

here’s hoping the olympics come and go quickly. 125 days left.