BEIJING, July 14 -- Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan would be
well advised to take back his remarks on what has happened in China's Xinjiang
Uygur autonomous region.
Mr Erdogan's description of the riots in Xinjiang as "a kind of genocide"
is an irresponsible and groundless accusation. The fact that 137 of the 184
persons killed in the riots are Han Chinese speaks volumes for the nature of the
There is no doubt that the riots were plotted by Uygur separatists outside
the country to split the unity of different ethnic groups in the region. The
rioters just attempted to sow seeds of animosity between the Uygur and the Han
Chinese, which they expected would carry forward their conspiracy of separating
Xinjiang from China.
Turning a blind eye to what the Chinese government has done to restore
order in Urumqi, Mr Erdogan said "we have difficulty understanding how China's
leadership can remain a spectator in the face of these events."
Chinese leaders are the last people who want to see happenings like these
in the largest ethnic autonomous region. The harmony of different ethnic groups
has been the top priority of what both the central and local governments have
been making unremitting efforts to consolidate for many years. And, so has been
the steady improvement of living standards of ethnic minority groups all over
These are evidenced by the preferential policies of the central government
for ethnic minority groups. For example, the family planning policy applies only
to the Han Chinese and never to ethnic minority groups. Candidates for national
college entrance examinations from ethnic minority groups get an extra 20 points
for their enrollment.
It is quite common in the increasingly globalized world for people from
different ethnic groups to live together in the same land. So it is insensitive
and ridiculous to interpret the co-inhabitance of the Uygur and Han Chinese in
Xinjiang as the Han people's assimilation of the Uygur ethnic group.
Actually, the Uygur people have also spread across the country during the
past three decades, in pursuit of their fortune. It is the economic reform that
has made such migration possible. So how can Mr Erdogan accuse the Chinese
government of assimilating the Uygur ethnic group?
It is the rioters' venting of racial hatred, the atrocities committed by
them and the rumors spread by separatists that have created misunderstanding
between the Uygur and Han communities. As a result, people from both communities
suffered great loss of lives and property. Obviously, such turmoil is in the
interest of neither community. Nor is it in the interest of the region's
economy. More than 80,000 tourists cancelled or delayed their trips to the
region last week.
The efforts the central and local governments have been making to restore
order and clear the misunderstanding between the Uygur and Han communities are
what local residents of different ethnic groups really want and need for leading
a peaceful and happy life.
Mr Erdogan's remarks, which constitute interference in China's internal
affairs, are the last thing the Uygur and Han Chinese would find helpful when
they are looking forward to lasting peace.
(Source: China Daily)
Special Report: Urumqi Riot