News / Asia

    China Pushes Assimilation to Calm Xinjiang Unrest

    FILE - Two ethnic Uighur men walk in a clothing market in downtown Urumqi, Xinjiang province.
    FILE - Two ethnic Uighur men walk in a clothing market in downtown Urumqi, Xinjiang province.
    China's remote Xinjiang region is facing growing ethnic unrest, becoming one of Chinese President Xi Jinping's biggest challenges. At a recently concluded top-level meeting on the resource-rich region, Xi outlined policies aimed a promoting more assimilation of Xinjiang's Uighur minorities.
     
    Since Xi took office 14 months ago, a series of violent attacks have claimed the lives of more than 200 people in China. Most of the attacks have occurred in Xinjiang, but the violence also has reached north to Beijing's Tiananmen Square and south to Yunnan province.

    Last month, days after attackers tossed explosives into a crowd at a market in Xinjiang's capital, Urumqi, China held its second top-level meeting about the remote region. Xi called for a strong crackdown on terrorism and the promotion of long-term stability. He also said controls would be tightened on religion.

    Xi also talked about promoting assimilation, though, between China's Han majority and Uighur minorities.

     
    Attacks in ChinaAttacks in China
    x
    Attacks in China
    Attacks in China
    Migrating Xinjiang's Uighurs

    Asian studies senior lecturer James Leibold, of La Trobe University in Melbourne Australia, said an explicit call to shift more Uighurs from Xinjiang's south is significant.

    "I think that what is new here is the recognition that money alone is not going to solve the problem, and what is needed is to actually free up these people to seek opportunities, whether they be in Urumqi or Shanghai or in Beijing. That is bold and risky," said Leibold.

    He said moving Uighurs to other parts of the country could lead to more ethnic conflict.  

    "If on the one hand, the state wants to solve this problem of violence and terrorism, but on the other hand their policy [assimilation], at least in my opinion, is going to make that challenge more difficult in the short term," said Leibold.

    According to state media reports, Xi told the group that assimilation is crucial to helping forge understanding, safeguarding national unity and solving the problem. He also stressed the need to build a common sense of Chinese destiny among the country's ethnic groups.

    There already have been reports of Uighurs living in different parts of the country being forced to return to Xinjiang.

    Assimilation issues

    The president of the Uyghur American Association, Alim Seytoff, said the effort to promote assimilation will increase ethnic tensions, just as it has done in the past.

    "This is not some promotion of inter-ethnic understanding or reconciliation. This is the acceleration of cultural genocide and the forceful assimilation of the Uighur people," said Seytoff. "The problems we are witnessing today are really a result of this kind of forceful assimilation policies."

    Seytoff said the only good thing that came out of the meeting was a pledge from the Chinese government to wave high school fees for Uighur children and to help provide each Uighur family with one job.
     
    Seytoff said that although China has poured billions of dollars into developing Xinjiang, that has not always helped Uighurs.  

    "The Chinese government is not creating jobs for the Uighur people. The Chinese government is creating jobs for the Han settlers," said Seytoff.

    During the meeting late last month, Xi said the government's policies were already on the right course. He mentioned measures to help with the development of southern Xinjiang, home to many Uighur minorities.  

    Recently, state media reported the government plans to boost textile jobs in the region to 1 million by 2020.

    Officials also have talked about the need to develop jobs more tailored to the needs of the local population in Xinjiang, and to encourage companies to do more to absorb local labor.

    You May Like

    Video Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: YinHong from: China
    June 15, 2014 11:00 PM
    That's only a part of China, it's not at all. We love peace. We only kill people who break our peace.
    In Response

    by: anonymous from: canada
    June 22, 2014 5:42 PM
    "we only kill people who break our peace". Killing people for peace? are you kidding me? the language of aggressive Chinese.

    by: Nigeshabi from: Canada
    June 14, 2014 8:44 PM
    @ little resident from: HK
    "American should put the nuke bomb on Beijing to destroy china"

    The US put the nuke bomb on Japan in WWII since Japan were Fascists/Nazi killing lot of civilian people in WWII.

    China have ~5000 years history, are you even scared when you talked about destroying China and all its civilian people with such a long history and culture?

    VOA is a place to talk about something peacefully, you are insane full of hatred and hostility like an extremist, you are not welcomed here. Go away!

    by: NG from: Canada
    June 14, 2014 3:39 PM
    China is NOT facing growing ethnic unrest, specifically it is unrest problems caused by small amount of terrorists and extremists in China. Most Uyghur are peacefully living in China, studying and working hard to make their life better. Actually minority in China has advantages over majority (Han) in education, work and promotions.

    Separatists can seek independence by peaceful means and protesting like Quebec has done in Canada,but these separatists/terrorists/extremists in Xinjiang killed civilian people brutally all the times, and all civilized people should condemn these brutal means of killing civilian people, so the western media is better use terrorism/extremism term for these kinds of killing instead of ethnic unrest, like 911 and Boston Marathon Explosions in US are NOT only ethnic unrest, it is terrorists who killed civilians.
    In Response

    by: you are terrorists from: canada
    June 22, 2014 5:51 PM
    really, stop lying, the whole world knows how your Han majority treated those minorities. You people are nothing but land hunger. You people took their land and treated them like animals. How could you dare to compare your country with Canada ? lol

    by: little resident from: HK
    June 14, 2014 2:51 PM
    American should put the nuke bomb on Beijing to destroy china

    by: Wangchuk from: NY
    June 13, 2014 11:22 AM
    The assimilation the CCP preaches is one of forced or coerced assimilation, not a peaceful one. The CCP isn't interested in protecting the rights of Uighurs or preserving their culture & religion. The CCP is only interested in preserving its colonial rule over the Uighur homeland and maintaining is monopoly of power. The CCP came to power in China through violence and it will use violence to subdue the Uighurs & any dissidents.

    by: lukebc from: There
    June 11, 2014 7:03 PM
    URUMQI IS NOT EVEN THE HOME OF THE UIGHURS. Urumqi is in northern Xinjiang which is the home of Mongols and Kazakhs. Chinese and Chinese Hui Muslims (for all intents Chinese but they are muslim) have been settling into NORTHERN Xinjiang for nearly 300 years. The Han Chinese/Hui have existed alongside the Mongols and Kazakhs for those hundreds of years with absolutely NO problems. The Han Chinese NOW make up over 80% of the population of northern Xinjiang. The uighurs first started migrating into NORTHERN Xinjiang from THEIR HOME in SOUTHERN Xinjiang in the early 1800s, but their numbers remained small in NORTHERN Xinjiang up until after 1949 when they started to migrate to NORTHERN Xinjiang FOR ECONOMIC REASONS as the Chinese Communist government made the development of Xinjiang a priority, OF WHICH MOST OF THAT DEVELOPMENT OCCURRED IN NORTHERN XINJIANG WHERE THE CHINESE/HAN/HUI MIGRATED TO. But today the numbers of uighurs in NORTHERN Xinjiang is still small and they are only about 10-15% of the population of NORTHERN Xinjiang. This OBVIOUSLY means that the overwhelming majority of uighurs are in SOUTHERN Xinjiang. So IF there was ever to be a "turkestan" IT WOULD NOT BE ALL OF XINJIANG BUT JUST THE SOUTHERN 60%. NORTHERN Xinjiang is for all intents CHINESE/HAN so the uighurs are NOT being repressed in NORTHERN Xinjiang. If anyone is being "repressed" in NORTHERN Xinjiang it would be the native Mongol and Kazakh peoples and the Mongols and the Kazakhs get along fine with the Chinese/Han/Hui WHO HAVE BEEN THERE FOR GENERATIONS.


    by: Jonathan huang from: Canada
    June 11, 2014 1:16 AM
    The only way to deal with aboriginals is to learn from America, the beacon of freedom, to send them to conservations.
    In Response

    by: Nigeshabi from: Canada
    June 14, 2014 8:33 PM
    @Suchoi-35 Flanker-E : Your question "Why to force them (China) to learn from America?"

    You should ask America for this question, not jonathan huang.

    Plus, you should learn and talk about American aboriginals first because you forced yourself to learn English, and you also know nothing about Chinese language and China/Xinjiang history.
    In Response

    by: jonathan huang from: canada
    June 13, 2014 12:16 PM
    @wangcuk, did america allow aboriginals to build their own autonomous states in this 21st century? did america give up those conservations in this 21st century?
    since america is always correct and is the beacon of freedom, I strongly suggest CCP copy everything from america including this conservation system!
    In Response

    by: Wangchuk from: NYC
    June 13, 2014 11:20 AM
    This confirms that the CCP's view of ethnic minorities like Uighurs & Tibetans is to commit the kind of genocide that the USA did the American Indians. It seems the CCPs' view of ethnic minorities is firmly entrenched in the 19th century.
    In Response

    by: Suchoi-35 Flanker-E from: Внутренняя Монголия
    June 13, 2014 7:42 AM
    Why to force them to learn from America?

    by: Tim from: Houston, TX
    June 10, 2014 12:49 PM
    China: These little guys from Xinjiang and Tibet have no humour, troublemakes. Can they see that we are so busy bullying and stealing lands from other small countries, and they wouldn't us alone? Let's call them terrorists first and get rid of them.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.