China cracks down on Muslim Uighers

Update a few hours later:  Violence escalates with 156 dead now.

We have our Muslim Somalis demonstrating at meatpacking plants while China has it Uighers rampaging at toy factories—seems no matter where you are it’s hard for such divergent cultures to work side by side especially when one group appears to be taking jobs from the other ethnic group.  Same old story whether its here or in China.  Isn’t diversity so beautiful?

From the Times On Line:

Police fought to restore order last night after thousands of members of China’s Muslim Uighur minority rampaged through city streets, burning vehicles and blocking traffic.

At least three people were killed in a rare outburst of violence in Urumqi, the capital of China’s restive westernmost region of Xinjiang, where many Uighurs chafe at Beijing’s rule and the limits imposed on their religion and cultural traditions.

Witnesses said that up to 3,000 rioters went on the rampage, smashing buses and overturning police barricades during several hours of violence.

Thousands of police and anti-riot troops later swept through the city, using teargas and water hoses to disperse crowds. “Now the whole city is on lockdown,” one witness said. The violence flared days after reports of ethnic clashes between Han Chinese and Uighur workers at a toy factory in the southern Guangdong province in which two Uighurs were killed and 188 wounded.

In the late-night brawl at the Early Light toy factory in Shaoguan city, a group of Han Chinese fought with Uighurs who had been recruited to the factory recently. A rumour that Uighur workers had raped two Han Chinese girls brought swift and violent retaliations from the Chinese workers.

Police have now arrested a Han Chinese for rumour-mongering after he was found to have made up the rape report in a fit of anger after losing his job at the plant.

We have heard much about the Uighers at RRW because 17 of them were scheduled to be released from Guantanamo Bay and resettled in the US.  Obama got the message that this would be a risky political move and has shuttled them off elsewhere defying the Chinese who wanted their terrorists back.  Our Uigher archive is here.

Refugee soccer teams: a good idea?

Here is a story from Baltimore about a group of Iraqi boys forming a soccer team, but with no one to compete against.   The International Rescue Committee (IRC) is going to help start an all-refugee league.   I don’t know if that’s a good idea or not. 

Read the article in the Baltimore Sun.  Note that at least one boy had a tough transition to America when he was beaten up on the way to school, but says he is happy now to be in Baltimore.

Six months later, Mazen was mugged behind Patterson High. He says he was walking to the bus stop with his brother and three friends when five boys, all fellow students, came upon them. Without a word, one punched Mazen in the nose, knocking him to the ground. Then they kicked Mazen in the face. He, his friends and their parents wonder if he was targeted because of his nationality.

School officials were concerned enough to ask the Mayor’s Office of International and Immigrant Affairs for a meeting, said its director, Renee Samuels. Meanwhile, Mazen and Marwan switched to a new school, as did Rawan. Today Mazen says he’s fully recovered and happy to be in Baltimore.

The boys are happy playing soccer and happy that  the IRC is starting a league.

The Tigers would be charter members of an all-refugee league. The plan was to find boys (and girls) to play on teams representing groups with sizable numbers in Baltimore, including Nepali, Burmese and Meskhetian Turks from the former Soviet Union.

Some details would have to be worked out, such as how often the teams would play. And if the IRC couldn’t find $300 per team for uniforms, it agreed to help with fundraisers.

I really don’t know the answer to my question. My first thought is that such an initiative further separates immigrants by nationality and keeps them from being part of their communities, just as those Ethnic Community Based Organizations (ECBOs) do that I have written so critically about, here.   The IRC is a big promoter of ECBO’s.  Note that this group of boys uses Arabic to communicate on their team. 

I have a son who is an immigrant and a good soccer player and he was able to find highly competitive American teams on which to participate, and I think it was good for him and for his teammates.   Also, I don’t know if this is accurate that everyone plays baseball in Baltimore.  Maryland is a big soccer state and although we live in western Maryland we traveled to the Baltimore area to play.

Readers, what do you think?