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China Letter-News and Human Rights

China human rights news with focus on the Uygur of Xinjiang, Tibetans and Tibet, Chinese mining workers, religion, corruption and censorship.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Uygur Hawking Kebabs Causes Riot

Uygur Kebab hawkerAccording to a report in Chinapost an Uygur hawking mutton (read lamb kebabs) illegally on the streets in Baiyun district of Guangzhou city, Guangdong province, caused a minor riot when asked to move on by local security guards.

The Chinapost reports that the hawker returned with up to 70 other local Uygurs armed with knives and steel pipes who confronted the guards hospitalising two though not with serious injuries.

Steet hawking is a common business practice of the Uygur people and they are regularly harrassed and moved on by police whether they possess permits or not. What is significant in this report, if true, is that such a sizeable number of Uygurs thought it fit to react in the manner reported especially as Uygurs in Guandong would be a very small minority unlike in Xinjiang, the Uygurs homeland.

Perhaps it is indicative of a degree of racial tension in this area exemplified by a police spokesman claiming that

"There are many Uighurs in this area who steal and are engaged in other criminal activities,"

A rather negative statement from an official one would have thought but one based on a belief widely held by Han Chinese concerning the inherint "criminality" of the Uygur people.