Nick Kristof continues his quest in search of topics that should be “sensitive” to Chinese by heading to Xinjiang where he found little to write about. This follows earlier editorials on Tibet that we discussed here and here.
On his blog, he tries to incite commentary with these questions:
Especially for those of you in China, do you expect the Olympics to go smoothly? Do you worry about the terror threat from Xinjiang?
My response (submitted as a comment on his blog) is here:
I can only assume Mr. Kristof was working a deadline, or perhaps just needed to prove to the Times that he actually spent his time in Xinjiang working rather than vacationing. It’s hard to find anything of substance in this most recent column.
After struggling to find anyone in Xinjiang willing to refute his or her Chinese identity, or criticize the Chinese government of anything beyond being “wasteful”, Mr. Kristof ultimately ties it back to the US war on terror and Uygur militants held in Guantanamo Bay. Frankly, I hope Mr. Kristof isn’t suggesting the Uygurs automatically sympathize with Islamic militants who fought on behalf of the Taliban on the basis of race alone. After all, few average Americans sympathized with the “American Taliban”. But I guess any NY Times columnist can always fill in a few paragraphs by emphasizing that they were followed by the men in black.
As far as whether I’m worried about the Olympics and the terror threat from Xinjiang, of course I am concerned about the possibility. While the United States has the luxury of being separated from Islamic fundamentalists by an ocean (and a billion dollar wall on the border), China shares a substantial land border with Afghanistan and tribal areas of Pakistan.
The multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, multi-religious nature of our country is threatened by racial and religious purists who have a hard time with the idea of living next to people from other races. (And I’m not speaking of just Xinjiang.) But I also have great faith in the ability of the Chinese people, united in our diversity, to overcome this type of hateful and divisive rhetoric.
Oh, and can someone talk to the NY Times editorial staff about increasing professional standards just a tad? The caption on the image that sits on the top of this article reads: “One of China’s few remaining major statues of Chairman Mao is in Kashgar, where he presides over a people who don’t feel very Chinese.” Could you guys clarify that statement a little for us? Is it the people who themselves don’t feel very Chinese, and if so… where are the quotes to confirm this sentiment?
Or is it that the people don’t “feel very Chinese” to the NY Times staff? If this is the case, can you guys let us know what it means to “feel Chinese”? I’d love to hear the official NY Times metrics on this.
So, what are your responses? Post them here, and make sure you head over to Nick Kristof’s blog and paste it there too. (And why not link back to this blog while you’re at it!)