[Marxism] Chinese bribery designed to eliminate the "Uighur problem"

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Sep 3 08:41:03 MDT 2014


NY Times, September 3 2014
To Temper Unrest in Western China, Officials Offer Money for Intermarriage
By EDWARD WONG

BEIJING — Officials in the Xinjiang region of western China are offering 
cash and other incentives to encourage marriages between minorities and 
Han, the country’s dominant ethnic group, in an effort to soothe growing 
ethnic violence in the region.

The incentives are part of a new policy in Cherchen County in southern 
Xinjiang, where violence between ethnic Uighurs — a Turkic-speaking, 
mostly Muslim people — and Han has flared in recent years.

Last week, officials in Cherchen County, known as Qiemo in Mandarin, 
began offering payments of 10,000 renminbi a year, or $1,600, for five 
years to newly married couples in which one member is Han and the other 
is from one of China’s 55 ethnic minorities. Official Chinese news 
reports this week said the payments were intended to help the couples 
invest in small businesses and start families.

The couples will also get priority consideration for housing or 
government jobs, as well as other benefits. Their households will 
receive as much as $3,200 a year in health care benefits. The children 
of these mixed marriages will have free education from kindergarten 
through high school. Children attending vocational schools will receive 
almost $500 a year in tuition subsidies, and those attending university 
will get an annual tuition subsidy of $800.

The policy, which was announced on the county’s official website, is 
similar to initiatives in Tibet. In the announcement, the county 
director, Yasen Nasi’er, said that interethnic marriages were “an 
important step in the harmonious integration and development of all 
ethnicities.”

He called such marriages “positive energy” and a means by which Xinjiang 
could realize the “Chinese Dream,” an amorphous term popularized by 
President Xi Jinping.

James A. Millward, a scholar of Xinjiang at Georgetown University, said 
Uighurs might perceive the policy differently. “There is a danger,” he 
said, “that state-sponsored efforts at ‘blending’ and ‘fusion’ will be 
seen by Uighurs in China or by China’s critics anywhere as really aimed 
at assimilating Uighurs into Han culture — in other words, as an attempt 
to Sinify the Uighurs.”

“This comes at a time when many Uighurs see such recent policies as the 
destruction of old Kashgar in the name of development, the elimination 
of Uighur-language education, and continuing Han migration into the 
Uighur traditional homelands in Xinjiang as all threatening the 
preservation of a distinctive Uighur culture,” he added.

Cherchen County has a population of 10,000, of whom 73 percent are 
Uighur and 27 percent are Han, according to statistics from a government 
website.

In Xinjiang, a region of deserts and mountains that makes up one-sixth 
of China’s landmass, more than 43 percent of the population is Uighur 
and more than 40 percent is Han, according to a 2000 census, the most 
recent data available. The Han population in the region has surged since 
the Communist takeover of China in 1949, fueling anxiety among Uighurs. 
Kazakhs make up 8 percent of the population, and the rest are Hui, 
Kirghiz and Mongols, among others.

At a high-level policy meeting in Beijing in May, Communist Party 
leaders discussed how to better assimilate Uighurs into Chinese society 
and tamp down violence in Xinjiang.

Mr. Xi, the Chinese president and party leader, said at the meeting that 
more Uighurs should be moved to Han-dominated parts of China for 
education and employment. He said the party and the state should 
establish “correct views about the motherland and the nation” among all 
of China’s ethnic groups, so that people of every background will 
recognize the “great motherland” and “the socialist path with Chinese 
characteristics.”

The promotion of Han-Uighur marriages is one of the policies to emerge 
from that meeting, said James Leibold, a scholar of China’s ethnic 
policies at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia. He noted that 
the most recent data available showed that only 1 percent of Uighurs 
were in an interethnic family, compared with nearly 8 percent of 
Tibetans. The average among all ethnicities was more than 3 percent, but 
the Han also had a low rate, 1.5 percent.

Communist officials have long promoted popular tales of mixed marriages 
to paper over ethnic conflicts, including the story of the Fragrant 
Concubine, a Uighur woman who was brought in the 18th century to the 
imperial court in Beijing to be the consort of the Qianlong Emperor, an 
ethnic Manchu.

Many Han talk of how the Manchus from the northeastern forests, who 
conquered China to establish the Qing dynasty, eventually adopted Han 
customs and intermarried, citing this as an example of how Han Chinese 
civilization inevitably absorbs and assimilates other ethnicities.

In June, Tibet Daily published a report saying that Chen Qianguo, the 
party chief of the Tibet Autonomous Region, had met with 19 interethnic 
couples and heard stories of happy marriages. Mr. Chen said “favorable 
policies” for interethnic couples had resulted in an increase to 4,795 
interethnic marriages in 2013 from 666 in 2008.

Promoting Han-Uighur unions is one of several new policies being pursued 
by local governments in Xinjiang. Last month, Karamay City temporarily 
banned people with long beards and Muslim dress from boarding buses. In 
April, Shayar County began offering rewards to anyone who reported on 
people believed to be growing long beards or visiting a mosque while 
under age 18, among other things.



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