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2014年5月 6日 (火)

(社説)中国新疆テロ 民族政策の失敗だろう

May 05, 2014
EDITORIAL: Xinjiang bombing reflects China’s flawed policy toward minorities
(社説)中国新疆テロ 民族政策の失敗だろう

China has been hit by a string of violent incidents linked to problems concerning ethnic minorities in the country.

Last week, a bombing incident in Urumqi, the capital of the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, caused many casualties. The two suspects, who both died, were reportedly Uighur men.

The attack came at the conclusion of a four-day visit to Xinjiang by President Xi Jinping. During his inspection tour in the region, Xi urged local officials to make every possible effort to ensure public safety.

The timing and location of the attack appear to signal a bold challenge to the Xi administration.

It is infuriating that the attack, carried out in front of a train station, a public place, caused casualties among innocent citizens who happened to be there at the time. Such indiscriminate terrorism, whatever the purpose may be, is absolutely unpardonable.

Having said that, we want to pose a question to the Chinese government. Why do incidents of violence related to Uighurs keep occurring so frequently even though successive governments in Beijing have pledged to respect the rights of ethnic minorities as their policy?

In another incident last autumn that is still fresh in our memories, a car with three members of a Uighur family inside plowed into Tiananmen Square in Beijing.

Since then, reported incidents related to Uighurs have taken place at a rate of about one a month.

These gloomy episodes indicate a failure of the policy toward ethnic minorities adopted by the Communist Party administration, which is composed mainly of Han Chinese, who constitute 90 percent of the country’s population.

Every time such an incident happens, the Chinese government describes the culprits as “violent elements seeking to break up China while acting in concert with an organization based overseas.”

By issuing such statements, Chinese leaders are effectively claiming that the government is making ardent efforts to promote economic development of Xinjiang, and that its policy toward Uighurs is working. Beijing is trying to characterize the perpetrators of these incidents as heretics isolated in society.

Indeed, there has been a movement for political independence among Uighurs. There is also an organization to promote the movement outside China.

But these facts do not necessarily support the argument that all these incidents were politically motivated.

Many of the reported incidents were apparently triggered by troubles concerning the daily lives of Uighur people.

Last summer, for example, a standoff between locals and police turned violent in Hotan, a city in Xinjiang. The Chinese government described that incident as rioting by an armed group. But it was actually a disturbance triggered by the move of local authorities to shut down a mosque used by Uighurs.

The family that carried out the Tiananmen Square attack last autumn is said to have repeatedly filed complaints with the local authorities over a certain problem.

It seems there is deep distrust between authorities and Uighurs stemming from administrative problems.

The distrust will only grow if, under these circumstances, the Chinese government tramples on the social and religious customs of Uighurs under the pretext of anti-terrorist measures.

The situation cannot improve as long as this cycle of terrorism and suppression continues.

What China, as a multiracial nation, needs now to ensure social stability is not the use of force but a wise and effective policy to bring about reconciliation.

--The Asahi Shimbun, May 4


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