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July 7, 2009
Tune in: Online radio show on Uighur unrest in China

As ethnic clashes between the Muslim Uighurs and Han Chinese turn deadly,’s weekly radio show explores the recent riots involving China’s Uighur minority. The show also looks at Uighur aspirations of secession, Han Chinese immigration and Chinese nationalism.

The Muslim Uighurs live in the oil-rich Xinjiang region, north of Tibet. The Chinese government has imposed restrictions on the Uighurs’ religious practice in this autonomous region and many Uighurs resent Chinese rule and complain of discrimination.

Worldfocus anchor Martin Savidge hosts the following panel of guests:

Many Uighurs complain of discrimination and higher rates of unemployment.

Enze Han is a PhD candidate in political science at George Washington University. He grew up in Hangzhou, China, and came to the U.S. in 2004. His research focuses on ethnic minorities in China, and he received a fellowship to study the politics of separatism.

Andrew James Nathan is a political science professor at Columbia University. His teaching and research interests include Chinese politics, foreign policy, and human rights. His books include Constructing Human Rights in the Age of Globalization and How East Asians View Democracy. Watch the Worldfocus’ television interview with Prof. Nathan: Scores killed in China in violent ethnic clashes.

Alim Seytoff is spokesperson for the World Uyghur Congress, Vice-President of Uyghur-American Association, and director of the Uyghur Human Rights Project. He came to the U.S. from China in 1996.

The show also includes a statement from Wenqi Gao, the spokesperson for the Consulate General of China in New York, and, as always, questions from our listeners.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Kaj17 under a Creative Commons license.

Host: Martin Savidge
Producers: Lisa Biagiotti, Katie Combs and Ben Piven




Muslim is a virus which will never live in peace with others. This virus lives on blood and killings of innocent people ! AMEN


[…] Tune in: Online radio show on Uighur unrest in China […]


There was once a thriving Uyghur empire at the Altal Mountains where is now Russia . The empire demise at around 840 AD. The Uyghurs spread throughout central asia and Mongolia. Some settled in the Xinjiang with other nomadic tribes and were ruled ever since by china but for 2 breaks. The first was during the fall of the Mings and were ruled by the Manchus and the 2nd was during the fall of the Manchu and the subsequent civil war. In 1949 PR reassert its sovereignty over Xinjiang after a rebellion by Uygh.


Whats wrong with the rest of the non-muslim world?. I question this in jest. Why is it that where muslims are a minority, they are always problems with the majority. Be it in Xinjiang, Jolo in Philippines, South Thailand, Chechnia, India, Britian, Holland or any country with a muslim minority. The demand is always autonomy OR the host country should adapt and adopt Islamic laws so as not to offend. As always its the usual economic deprivation and discrimination. Not withstanding the fact that if its women population is engaged in the economy, or that there is over emphasis in theology to the neglect of other human advancement then obviously you will always be second in an economic race. Compare the rage from the Islamic world, and I say understandably so; to the brutal stabbing of an Egyptian women in Dresden to the near silence of the beheading of innocent victims, which is no less disgusting. There is just something morally wrong here.


Yeap dave. Darn it . Those slant eyes yellow sh*t are getting better in doing PRopaganda than us. We
Use to be dam good at it. Before we can flame them and they don’t know what hit them. Ought to shoot the American PR co working for them. Treason I say. Don’t worry dave when it comes to a showdown , we will kick their asses.


Every empire/ superpower throughout history unfortunately has colonized less developed states/ cultures. Like Rome’s colonization of Europe, Spain of South America and Britain of North America, China has proven itself no exception to that trend. Rome thought it was spreading a better way of life to others with latin, roman laws and paved roads. Britain and Spain thought they could “civilize the savages” of America with Christianity and economic trade with Europe (any many other examples since that time). And now it seems China similarly is under the delusion that it is bettering the lives of Tibetans and Uighurs with highways, railways, Han language and replacement of traditional religion and culture with “economic progress.” Sounds very familiar.


So many anti-uyghur comments. Looks like pro-communist china propaganda wins by population ratio of more than 100:1 Congratulations! You are so brave! Beijing rules by corruption, not by any moral standard, either Marxist or religious. Please check definition of “autonomous”
When will Tibetans and Uyghurs get autonomy?
Taiwan should reject any proposal for autonomy. It is an empty promise.


When Uighurs have self determination they will be another Iran without the software. This guys are allied and trained by the Taliban. Remember the love affair between the prostitute Osama Bin Laden and the USA . Uighurs seems very attractive too . Invite her in. Cloth and feed her and she will turn into a beast.
[Rev. 17]


British started colonising in 18th century. They were not communist . Worse then that they were imperialist and still are. Only at the end of the 20th century after British settle in did they hold election. The atrocities they commit is more shocking during their rule. Yes I agree with you. China will hold election in the 23rd century.


how uyghurs will attain high paying jobs?
when uyghurs attain self determination uyghurs can do as well as any other nation!


The Times of London reports today: of the 156 deaths in the Xinjiang riot,

only 33 were Uighurs,
the remaining 123, all Hans.

So are the Hans (“=Chinese” in most western media) killing Uighurs, or the other way around???


To think that China follows British footstep on Canada and Australia is a 23rd century dream. Chinese are no British. And first of all, Chinese are still communists, is Li SC trying to insult the British?


My wife grew up in Xinjiang (19 yrs). The way we see it: The Chinese Gvt is guilty of 2 things:
1) Misguided “affirmative action” for Uighurs on one hand: Uighurs students can get into top universities with test scores some 50% lower than local Han Chinese; Uighur pick-pockets in- and outside Xinjiang hardly get arrested and Uighur criminals get ridiculously lenient sentences because cops and the court don’t want to “breach the party’s minorities’ policy!” Sounds ridiculous? Simple facts in China.

2)The government / Communist party’s addiction to total control and power – disregard of Uighur’s history & heritage, etc. in things like city planning (destroy historic buildings, communities to make room for new modern buildings).
Too many Uighurs refuse to learn Chinese (spoken by 95% of Chinese), don’t want to hit the books to learn new skills & trades, but they want better, higher-paying jobs. Can somebody figure out a way to achieve that for them?


to prevent secession entails demographic manipulation. So different ethnic groups have to squeeze together . Some are more tolerant , some are xenophobic but all have a limit. British solved their problems in Australia and Canada by the migration of britishers to populate these area marginalising the natives. Till today Falklands and Girbralter still cannot seceed by popular votes because of a large British origin constituents. Clearly China is following British example. China has historical claim.


In pointing out the failure of Chinese in harmonising its Uighurs minority has better look into their own backyard to see how difficult it is to achieve peaceful co- existence between races. Just a day after the anniversary of the 7/7 of the bombing by UK borned and bred minority militants and the attack on Romas in Belfast , brits should know better.

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