When I was growing up in Shanghai in 1950s, I like most young Chinese, have a somewhat romantic view of Uighurs. They dance and sing during holiday celebrations. The girls and women are beautiful, wearing colorful costumes and seem exotic and unapproachable. The limited exchanges with wandering Uighur merchants selling candies and warnings that any disputes with them will be ruled in their favor by authorities as they want to avoid any friction with national minorities. There was an unofficial policy to discourage any interaction or intermarriage with Uighurs. Unlike in Southern U.S. which consider intermarriage with blacks as miscegenation but more as to avoid friction with Uighur community. Today Western press seem obsessed with Uighur on whether China is on a path of genocide or concentration camp in Xinjiang. For someone like me in U.S. the question is laughable given the history of U.S. on extermination of Native Americans and slavery, not to mention Muslim ban of Trump’s policy on immigrants. For most Han Chinese, the change of policy from indulgence to more strict enforcement is way overdue. Due to sensitivity of Russia border area, Uighurs were left alone which turn out to be to their detriment as China has grown tremendously in economic, educational, and global commerce. It damages Uighur children for failure to learn Mandarin as much as fail to teach English language to immigrant children in U.S.. Due to the growth of internet it was inevitable extremist Islamic theology spread to Uighurs given the lack of economic development and corrective actions need to be taken. Economic forces with education and migration will eventually resolve it. I suggest the liberals would to better to expire their guilt by working in native American communities or soup kitchens.
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