Underreported: China’s Uighurs

Thursday, August 09, 2007

China's Uighur people are Turkic Muslims from Central Asia, and the Chinese government has a long history of discriminating against them. Uighur separatists have been calling for an independent state since the 1940s. Since 9/11, a rise of Islamic fundamentalism among China's Uighurs has resulted in further religious repression. On today's Underreported, Blaine Kaltman, a sociologist and author of Under the Heel of the Dragon: Islam, Racism, Crime, and the Uighur in China; and Sharon Hom, Executive Director of Human Rights in China, join us to talk about the conflicts and mutual suspicion between the Uighurs and China's government.

Under the Heel of the Dragon is available for purchase at


Sharon Hom and Blaine Kaltman

Comments [7]

Jack Foreigner from


I'd forgot to mention that Rudelson's earlier work also contains the shocker that the Uighur ethnicity as understood today actually goes back to Chinese government planners -- gasp -- of the 1930s!! Go read that book in addition to Mr. Kaltman's own excellent and interesting work and get the proper context, which the Western media always leaves out.

This isn't to say that there's no legitimate grievances to be concerned about, but it does put to lie the, well, lie that Uighur nationalists like to bandy about, about their 6,000 years of history when in fact the historical Uighurs were Buddhist and came from points east, like Mongolia, and once they became Muslim they had stopped using the term for themselves until only relatively recently.

Mar. 06 2014 01:09 PM
Jack Foreigner from At the Keyboard

Kaltman has written a very informative book, though I'm not so sure that I buy the charge about Chinese government discrimination. Indeed, his own work quotes Uighurs who feel that the Chinese government's efforts at educating minorities in their mother tongues actually prevents them from succeeding like they should in mainstream society -- basically the bilingual education debate we've had in this city!

For another good book on the Uighurs in China, check out Justin Ron Rudelson's much earlier (and much more shocking -- viz., Uighur nationalist intellectuals' admiration of Hitler, for one thing, to the point of claiming Aryan blood ties with the Nazis [Urumqi mummies non-troversy, anyone?]) though still relevant "Oasis Identities: Uyghur Nationalism Along China's Silk Road."

Mar. 06 2014 01:00 PM

It is good. we need more people to go there and learn more.
Only third party can tell us more correct information than the any other of them who has Chinese inclination or Uyghur inclination .
Again and Again, don't learn the Uyghurs from Chinese or Chinese governmental textbooks! You should learn it on your own or live there for 5-6 years or immerse in that situation , you will get more correct information as Dr.Kaltman did.

Feb. 11 2008 10:14 AM
Toqmaq from Toronto

I am your royal listener too and I am very grateful that you had this show today. Please continue this kind of show as it is very objective and unbiased.

By expressing my appreciation to you, I also would like to comment on the previous comment by Norris Wang, or may be he is Chon Chon Tang, who knows? whoever he is, I don't care.

Norris might have eaten tainted food yesterday as it was cheap, he even could not get facts right.

Uighur is the name of a people who resided in Eastern Turkistan or in today's so-called Xinjiang several millenium ago. It is not a territory.

Out of nowhere he likes to come to a conclusion favorable to him based on false assumption.

Norris, how do you know that Uighurs are happy people under Han dominance? You must have seen
assimilated "Kelimu"'s dance and the famous thief Wang luo bin's songs.

Why would Uighur have to have one child only? How do you feel if Japanese tell all Chinese that "You can't have children at all because you are too many"?

Mentioning your human rights issue seem ridiculous to you. I am NOT surprised by that, because Law and Justice are seem ridiculous to the Robber and Murderers.

Before complain about other's justified criticism, tell your comrades behave well and respect Uighur people's rights!

At last, your story-other side story is as fake as Made in China toys, and as poisonous as your foods.

Sayonara Amigo, live a life!

Aug. 09 2007 02:27 PM
Norris from Where is other side story

I am your royal listener, however, I am very disappointed for today's show. Uighurs is Chinese territory for about two thousand years. Mr. Blaine Kaltman intense to skip history. If you travel around China, you will find many Uighurs happily live all major cities. If the Musmile culture is the problem, then how to explain why Chinese is number 2 Musmiles country in the world. And most of them are not Uighurs. Be honest, the environment of Musmiles in China are far better than in USA after 911. The human right issue is more ridiculers. Why Uighurs do not limit by one child policy, which apply to regular Chinese. I hear many Chinese complain about this policy. If you discuss human right issue, you must view from the whole China, not part of China, and compare it with other part of China, not the USA or Europe. Can he point out any special right, which regular Chinese have, but they do not? I believe the coalmine worker or AIDS patient should get more attention from Government. Mr. Blaine Kaltman should emphasis, some Uighurs just want to independent from China, disregard how nice Chinese government treat them, but not the same way to regular Chinese. I wish you could hear other side voice, when you do the next show.

Aug. 09 2007 01:34 PM
chestine from NY

we owe China a trillion dollars, right? ...

Eleanor Roosevelt went to look at human rights in S Africa but reported that we couldn't say anything because of what we did with African Americans here - it was around the time of the Berlin Olympics when we were acting superior on that score with such hypocrisy

Aug. 09 2007 01:01 PM
SamM from NYC

I suppose one of the conditions for China being awarded the Olympics is that China at least improves on the human rights issue (hope I'm correct) so China would come in line with the spirits of the Olympics at least. Anyhow, we haven't heard of the U.S. speaking out against China's policies. Why? The U.S. is a fair weather country also. We want to appease China, now that China is a major player on the world stage. While we're appeasing China, covering our eyes to abuses, we are still stiffing Cuba and Castro. Both are communist coutries. Yet, Cuba offers much less economic benefits to us, so...... We keep the embargo on.

Aug. 09 2007 12:34 PM

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