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Urumqi Frustrations

May 8, 2010

For those familiar with Oracle Bones, regional politics, or a brief history of modern China, the unrest in Urumqi is hardly uncalled for, unprecedented, or unpredictable. Such violent behavior by Uyghur or Han can never be condoned; simply understood.

Calls of “We want Justice,” and “We want freedom,” echoed across Lafayette park on Thursday as Uighur nationalists took to Pennsylvania Avenue, lobbying an empty White House for social justice. That is the second time that genocide, protests, and inaction have come together this summer. The parallels to the Tamil protests in May are clear and painful. We can expect little difference here.

The People’s Republic of China never claims to be a moral authority. Politicos, historians, and Chinese alike understand the regime to be practical, pragmatic, far-sighted, and centered around self-preservation. Therefore, it comes as little surprise that the “East Turkestan terrorists” have been violently suppressed once again.

Why are the Uighurs constituent to Beijing? Historical accident, military campaigns, and imperial mandate. Show me one instance of ethical politics, legitimacy, or even decency. All I see is frustration.

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