Video and Excerpts from Sina July 8
Autnomous Uyghur Region, Turkestan
“Surveillance video showing rioters with machetes attacking a local police station on June 26 in Shanshan county of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region was released Saturday.
Reports stated that 24 people, of which 16 were ethnic Uyghurs and eight were Han, were killed. The attacks also left 21 others injured.”
[BAI Note] The clashes in “Turkestan” have been going on for decades as the Muslim Uyghur population has been in a decolonial struggle against the Chinese state and the Han Chinese. The Hans have been flooding and settling the region which is often called “Xinjiang,” which means “New Frontier” or “New Colony,” by the Chinese state and global mainstream media. The security forces in the region are Han Chinese as well and any act against the settlers is considered an act against the state. Since 9/11, the Chinese government has taken to calling the Uyghur rebels “insurgents” and the uprisings acts of “terror.” The Muslim Uyghur community, now an ethnic minority group in the region, has also been banned by the Chinese state from observing Ramadan. Other Muslim activities such as visits to the masjid (mosques) have also been curbed.
Four years ago–nearly to the day– there were very similar clashes in the Autonomous region. In July of 2009, Uyghurs took to the streets attacking police, police cars, buses and state infrastructure, after security forces attacked a peaceful sit-in.
Videos from 2009 – Revenge Not Reconciliation vowed in Xinjiang
Video of pro state Han looking for Uyghurs
In 2008, similar clashes took place in Tibet. Over 100 were killed as Tibetans rioted and challenged Chinese authority and Han settlers.
Video from Sky News on Tibetan Riots
[BAI Note] In Turkestan, we see the intersection of both traditional and new forms of colonialism as luxury hotels pop up in the region and Han Chinese flock to the area to tour scenic deserts and romanticize about the “Silk Road’s” history, all with the complete support and protection of Han security forces. This pattern has been repeated the world over and can be seen everywhere from the colonization of Palestine and South Africa to the hyper-gentrification process taking place in Oakland, California. The State, Security Forces and Capital collude in similar order to attract a more desirable demographic while either brutally repressing or criminalizing the indigenous peoples of the area.
In the past weeks, months and years, it has become more than apparent that the similarities extend beyond the forms of oppression that indigenous communities live under. The colonizers use rhetorical similarities – Anyone in struggle is deemed a “terrorist.” The US has made this clear by putting Assata Shakur, a Black Liberation Army member, on the FBI #1 most wanted list– surrounded by Muslims who are also deemed “terrorists.” (Which is standard procedure to Amerikkka’s Muslim community). In doing so, the US is officially associating anyone engaged in or sympathizing with radical politics as a “terrorist.” To be blunt, if you’re an effective radical, you have been deemed a “terrorist.” Just as the US murders people globally under the guise of combating “terrorism,” they can assassinate you, as well.
The most important similarity to note is one that has been taking place for many years (centuries even), but only now has it been seen in real time: the responses to oppression and colonialism in the form of revolts. Just as soon as we see an injustice, we see an uprising. While the radical scenes in the West romanticize Turkey, Egypt & Brazil and debate “Coup Vs Revolution” , “Islamist Vs Secular,” or the relevance of Marx, the bigger connection slips through the cracks: Bosnia, Bahrain, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bolivia, Bulgaria, Palestine, Syria, Tunisia, Chile, Mexico and so on.
The revolt is global and everything is connected. The decisions we make where we stand impact the what happens elsewhere. Either the reverberation of international struggle or the deafening silence of inaction. These decisions will never be forgotten.