Under the Heel of the Dragon: Islam, Racism, Crime, and the Uighur in China (Ohio RIS Global Series)
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Author Blaine Kaltman’s study is based on in-depth interviews that he conducted in Chinese without either the aid of an interpreter or the knowledge of the Chinese government. These riveting conversations expose the thoughts of a wide socioeconomic spectrum of Han and Uighur, revealing their mutual prejudices. The Uighurs believe that the Han discriminate against them in almost every aspect of their lives, and this perception of racism motivates the Uighurs’ own prejudice against the Han.
Kaltman reports that Uighur criminal activity (unlike that of other minorities, which predominantly occurs within their own communities) is directed against their perceived oppressors, the Han Chinese. Under the Heel of the Dragon offers a unique insight into a misunderstood world and a detailed explanation of the cultural perceptions that drive these misconceptions.
Xinjiang. “My children are with their grandparents in Kashgar,” explained one thirty-five-year-old Uighur shop owner. “Someday I’d like for them to come here, so they’ll have more opportunities in life. The schools are better here. In Xinjiang, even in Urumqi, the schools are bad. If you are Uighur, it’s very difficult to get a good education.” “You seem to have a good education,” I said. “No,” replied the man, “I graduated from high school but I don’t have a very good education. I can speak
Uighur pickpockets on the street. One Han, a fifty-oneyear-old mobile phone salesman, had a different explanation for the early Uighur exodus from Guandong Lu. He suggested that it had been brought about not by the police, but rather by real estate developers assisted by the Shanghai government. While he was the only Han or Uighur to offer such an explanation, it did seem to explain why Uighur shops and restaurants on Guandong Lu had been replaced by Han businesses. It reminded me of what
confection each day, he probably was doing better than many of the locally employed unskilled residents of Beijing. Food products are not the only things sold by Uighur in Beijing. On two occasions, I saw Uighur roaming Tiananmen Square selling cow skulls and jewelry fashioned from cow bones. Tiananmen Square, being an important tourist destination, is heavily patrolled by the police; yet the Uighur selling there seemed unintimidated, making me think they had paid the necessary tax and were legal
those Han in Beijing who maintain that Uighur crime is a problem in their city. Despite the widely held view that Shanghai, being a developed city, offers more opportunities, most Uighur in Shanghai are unemployed. Some find work in a friend’s or a relative’s restaurant, but many never obtain any legitimate employment. Even knowing that they have no prospects for work in Shanghai, many young Uighur men, often accompanied by their families, still move to the city. As one unemployed
Urumqi’s south side, is Er Dao Qiao Market, Urumqi’s most famous Uighur market area. There the Uighur sell whatever they can—mostly Uighur specialty foods, tobacco, cheap clothing, and electronics. Even here, Han have established their presence, selling Uighur souvenirs like Muslim head scarves, Uighur musical instruments, and handwoven carpets that they claim are imported from Turkey. Most of their customers are tourists, since Uighur and Hui tend not to purchase such souvenir items. |