China's Wild West
August 27, 2008 1:30 PM   Subscribe

Documentary about China's Wild West: an area on the west frontier of China's Gobi Desert named Xinjiang (New Land) by the Chinese, but populated by a Muslim minority known as Uighurs who believe they should be an independent Uighur nation.
posted by Surfin' Bird (7 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Seems like a repetition of formally similar problems throughout the world... like the kurds in turkey as an example. The minorities who have money and are integrated into the economy are relatively happy and speak the dominant language. The agrarian poor are increasingly alienated. Not a big fan of the breezy narration, though. The girl is like so just out of college.
posted by mert at 2:51 PM on August 27, 2008

Also see On A Tightrope, which looks at the daily lives of Uyghur children learning one of their people's ancient traditions. I managed to catch it on CBC around Olympic season
posted by shoebox at 3:55 PM on August 27, 2008 [2 favorites]

That is an excellent one, shoebox. I'm not too familiar with Turk/Kurd relations, but I do know that China has been shipping Han Chinese into Xinjiang for decades now, in the hopes that Han will eventually outnumber them. They're actually pretty close, too, as Uighurs and Han are in almost even proportions in the province today. Just China's typical MO of ethnocide by majority.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:58 PM on August 27, 2008

China's Wild West ..

.. China's typical MO of ethnocide by majority.

The comparisons with America are apparently more than skin deep.
posted by stbalbach at 7:36 PM on August 27, 2008


I hate it when these types of things get boiled down to "Fuck Tibet, Xinjiang is even more oppressed," but it sure is depressing watching them destroy two nations simultaneously.

The comparisons to America's past are, indeed, more than skin deep. The Chinese have their own Manifest Destiny, and just like the US c. 1800, are willing to kill as many natives as it takes to get the rest to fall in line. Just like the US of that time period, they are forcibly removing local language, and battling local religion.

The only difference is that instead of trying to Anglicize the native population into European-acting-but-obviously-not-European, they are trying to Sinocize them into Not-Han-but-still-Chinese; in both cases very much opposed to allowing them to be a part of the culture into which they were born.
posted by paisley henosis at 12:15 AM on August 28, 2008

I liked the reporter's goofy, Mary Tyler Moore vibe. Kinda like if Mare had handed in her resignation to Lou and took on work as a foreign news correspondent.

"Whoa, he tapped my butt. Flirtatious Uighur guy!"

She wore an atrocious floral-print bathing suit for the obligatory beach shoot, too.

Mary Tyler Moore all the way.
posted by Gordion Knott at 11:02 AM on August 28, 2008

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