Under the Heel of the Dragon: Islam, Racism, Crime, and the Uighur in China (Ohio RIS Global Series)

Under the Heel of the Dragon: Islam, Racism, Crime, and the Uighur in China (Ohio RIS Global Series)

Blaine Kaltman

Language: English

Pages: 152

ISBN: 089680254X

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


The Turkic Muslims from Central Asia known as the Uighur have long faced social and economic disadvantages in China due to their minority status. Under the Heel of the Dragon: Islam, Racism, Crime, and the Uighur in China offers a unique insight into current conflicts resulting from the rise of Islamic fundamentalism and the Chinese government’s oppression of religious minorities that have heightened the degree of polarization between the Uighur and the dominant Chinese ethnic group, the Han.

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.

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leather or gold or jade, but that’s only in Xinjiang. In the rest of China, Uighur sell food.” Most of the Uighur who hold white-collar jobs seem to be teachers. There are also Uighur who, because of their Xinjiang connections and ability to speak Mandarin, work in the import and export of Xinjiang products such as tea, dried fruits and nuts, silk, jade, and gold.  Most Beijing Uighur speak reasonable, if not entirely proper, Mandarin, especially those residing and working outside Uighur

passengers flying the Urumqi-Kashgar route are Uighur. At the Urumqi and Kashgar airports, the security and ticket counter staff as well as the baggage handlers were also Han. In Turpan, a two-hour drive from Urumqi, Uighur make up about  percent of the , residents. However, all the hotel employees I saw and all the ticket sellers at Turpan’s tourist sites, including the famed Grape Valley, were Han. The employees at Urumqi’s finer hotels are almost entirely Han and almost entirely young

even hate society and have tried to break free from it. I think that’s why some Uighur commit crimes. It’s not because they’re poor—there are many poor people. Hui, Han—they all have poor people. But Uighur commit crimes. I think it may be because they’re mad at society.” According to another Han professor, Uighur do not commit crimes because they have no other opportunities: “They could find jobs, but they choose not to. Many other professors at my university think Uighur crime is the result of

unreasonable to suggest that in extreme cases of criminal stigmatization and institutionalized racism, members of minority groups will reject the goals of the dominant society and that some will also turn to criminal activities directed against the members of the dominant society. Steps the Chinese Government Could Take to Improve Uighur-Han Relations Despite the assertion in the Chinese constitution that all ethnic groups are equal, China does not have a policy of multiculturalism (many  |

Uighur’?” “My meaning is Chinese Uighur don’t read Uighur. They might not eat pork, but they don’t know why. They don’t keep Uighur traditions and culture alive. Many of them date Han or Hui girls. Many don’t go to pray.” Cultural Marginalization |  Kaltman.1-134 6/1/07 11:43 AM Page 18 Educational Opportunities Ninety-nine percent of the Han I interviewed believe that Chinese education is improving, if not already good, and that minority peoples have the same educational opportunities

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