Ethnic unity, Language and Discos.

November 9, 2010 § Leave a comment

A few good recent Xinjiang pieces, the first from Kashgar about the different responses to the massive social and cultural changes in the city caused by the destruction of the old town. The video is well-worth watching, and gives a sense of the scale of the demolition.

Students at Tongxin Middle School

In the wake of the Tibetan language protests in Qinghai and elsewhere, minority education as a whole is getting more attention. The Uighur Human Rights Project has a very good piece on the issues of so-called ‘bilingual education’, and the obvious political dimensions. The article focuses on a report that appeared in the Chinese press about a visit to a school in Tongxin, in the Kizilsu Kirghiz autonomous area of Xinjiang. The article notes that Tongxin Middle School’s facilities are almost the same as those of schools in eastern China, except for that

“in every classroom, next to the teacher’s podium there is a poster proclaiming an “ethnic unity” pledge, with the second line stating that “every teacher and student should, in thinking and behavior, be fully conscious that the biggest danger to Xinjiang derives from “ethnic splittism” and “illegal religious activities”.

Finally, there’s a review of an interesting new book on the region by Gardner Bovingdon. My grasp of Uighur was, at best, pretty tenuous, so I always had to rely on what people could tell me in English. As a result, I’m particularly interested in the part of the book that deals with

the number of daily public and private ways the Uyghur people defy the Chinese regime. From jokes to songs to stories, Uyghurs invoke the symbols of opposition to Chinese authorities. These varieties of resistance either circulate in trusted private conversations or in allegorical form at public performances.

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