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2014年5月 3日 (土)

新疆爆発事件 中国の少数民族政策に綻びも

The Yomiuri Shimbun 6:47 pm, May 02, 2014
Chinese president’s policy regarding minority ethnic groups coming apart
新疆爆発事件 中国の少数民族政策に綻びも

A bombing attack occurred recently that seemed to be aimed at President Xi Jinping’s inspection tour in a far western region of China. The incident, it may be said, highlighted the Chinese Communist Party’s difficulty in governing regions dominated by minority ethnic groups.

The incident happened at a railway station in Urumqi in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region on Wednesday afternoon. More than 80 people were killed or wounded. The Chinese authorities immediately deemed the fatal attack to be “an act of terrorism by mobsters.”

Earlier in the day, Xi inspected the Xinjiang region for the first time since becoming general secretary of the Communist Party in November 2012. He visited a mosque near the site of bombing in the morning. The bombing is strongly believed to be a premeditated attack made in tandem with Xi’s inspection schedule.

In the Xinjiang region, where nearly half the population are Uygur—a Muslim minority ethnic group—clashes have occurred between armed groups and police.

Elsewhere in China, a car with Uygur people inside crashed and burst into flames in front of Tiananmen Square in Beijing in October last year, and an incident of indiscriminate killings alleged to have been committed by Uygur people took place in Yunnan Province in March.

The Xi administration has been tightening its control on the Uygur minority group, as it determined the series of attacks to be acts of “separatists.”

Through the inspection tour of the Uygur region, Xi most likely aimed to show his determination to maintain public safety as head of the newly established State Security Committee.

Xi loses face

During his inspection tour, Xi ordered the bolstering of antiterrorism measures, saying, “The stability of Xinjiang is key to ensuring state security and a great resurgence of the Chinese race.” As if to fan anti-Japan sentiment, Xi inspired police by referring to the methods used to repel “Japanese pirates” active in East Asia from the 13th to the 16th centuries.

But Xi completely lost face due to the bombing incident that took place immediately after he wrapped up his inspection tour. His order to crack down thoroughly on “terrorists” as part of the “struggle against separatists” can be interpreted as displaying his sense of frustration.

Simply tightening control cannot be expected to solve the issue.

This is because the incidents stemmed from the strong discontent of the Uygur minority people regarding the rule of the Communist Party and the majority Han Chinese.

Like other Chinese autonomous regions, Islamic and other religious activities in the Xinjiang region are under the strict control of the Communist Party. The Han bureaucrats keep a political grip while national corporations and Han entrepreneurs hold a large portion of the economic interests. Many Uygur people live in poverty.

As long as this structural gap is left unresolved, it will be impossible to halt the series of incidents. It could also evolve into a chain of retaliations between the Chinese government and armed groups.

In the Tibet Autonomous Region, antagonism has been deepening between the Communist Party and Han Chinese on one side and the minority ethnic Tibetan people on the other.

The Xi administration’s strong-arm policy against minority ethnic groups seems to be coming apart.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, May 2, 2014)


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