Adonis Diaries

Archive for August 4th, 2009

The Urumqi debacle: China old and new challenges; (August 3, 2009)

 

            In the most western frontiers of China you got the province of Xingjian bordering Russia, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Kirghistan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, and Tibet.  The Capital of this province is Urumqi where the Han Chinese ethnic group has become slightly majority while the rural province is of ethnic Ouigour Moslems in majority (45.5%).  This supposedly autonomous province since 1864 is as large as Spain, France, Germany, and Italy combined with just 21 millions of over eight kinds of minorities.

 

            The Ouigour written language is fast disappearing because learning Mandarin as first language for civilian administrative and employment reasons has been supplanted in schools in the major cities.  The Xingjian province has been experiencing fast development compared to its neighboring provinces because of its rich mineral and power resources and mainly because it is the Carrefour of States constituting over two billion people transacting through it.  Consequently, the poorer ethnic Han flocked to Xingjian in the last two decades along with the more educated and speaking the official Mandarin language.  The Hans have thus snatched the most key positions in companies dealing with the central authority.  There is a quota system for minorities in the administrations but the Hans captured the key and main power positions.

            The ancient “Silk Road” crosses Xingjian from Turfan, Urumqi, Korla, Aksu to Kashgar (Kashi), at the end of the second largest desert in the world Taklamakan.  During the Chinese counter-revolution in the sixties almost all the mosques were destroyed.  In the last decade Xingjian is enjoying over 4,000 mosques.  In Urumqi the Han eats pork and rice; the Ouigour does not eat pork or rice.  The Han prefers to learn English as a second language and is not interested in the Ouigour language.

            The central authority in Peking would love to tame the Ouigour as it successfully did with the 10 millions Moslem Huis.  This is not going to be an easy program: the Ouigour are bordering Moslem Republics that freshly separated from Russia.  They speak the same language and share the same customs and traditions as the Moslems in Kazakhstan, Kirghistan, and Tajikistan.  Worst, the Ouigour want to emulate those bordering States in independence.  Actually, Xingjian enjoyed a short lived independence in 1933 to 1934 under the name of Western Turkistan. The Soviet Union extended its territory in this province from 1944 to 1949 before withdrawing. The Ouigour in Xingjian have the feeling that they are descendents of powerful Nations that were rivals to China.

            The Hans receive much higher wages than the Ouigour; the higher the concentration of Hans in districts the higher the internal GDP that can span from 15,000 yuans to 2,500 in Hotan (at the southern border of the big desert). The group of Shanghai was created in 1996 comprising Russia, Kazakhstan, Kirghistan, and Tajikistan. The main purpose of this group is targeting security along the borders: no extremist, separatist, or terrorist elements are to transfer and cross the borders.  The captured elements are returned to their homeland to be imprisoned and executed.  The Shanghai group is mainly interested in the transaction of mineral, gas, and oil resources and expanding their market.

            What is particular to Xingjian are the “bingtuan” military brigades that were created in 1954 of the demilitarized civil war soldiers.  These brigades were to safeguard the long frontiers and to clear wild lands for agriculture. All the brigades have been demobilized except the one in Xingjian.  The bingtuan brigade is part of the Chinese military and more powerful than the governor or state administration; it is a state within a state. The bingtuan (CPCX) has  about 2 millions members, raises taxes in the districts that it directs, owns 1,500 industrial groups, controls two third of the cultivated lands in Xingjian, produces one forth of the industrial products, and export two third of all the productions.

 

            In July 5, 2009 the Ouigour in Urumqi took to the streets; the next day the Hans counter-attacked. By July 8, China declared that 200 died and over 1,700 were injured in the mayhems.  China statistics are biased; the same for almost all governments and multinationals.  The Ouigour created an international organization located in Munich; its present leader is the lady leader Rebiya Kadeer living in Washington, DC.  China is on the offensive and putting diplomatic pressures on any government permitting Kadeer to speak to the international community.

            As long as the group of Shanghai is intent on closing the borders to the dissidents then China is free to use force without impunity. China has prosperous and active commerce and trade with mostly all States and is about to finish installing the longest pipeline to Russia.

 

            Apparatchik of Big States are vying to unseat traditional colonial powers in production, standard of living, industrialization, and modernity; people weary of the man-made anti-environmental future; people unprepared and unfamiliar with newer fast pace challenges.

 

            Tiny and gigantic States are same different: the challenges are innumerable and the resolutions unsatisfactory band-aid remedies.  There are no “final solutions” for the febrile human kind with dizzying capacity for hallucinations. Any trend must be globally tried and emulated; otherwise, globalization has no meaning.

Trekking about Sadd Shabrouh; (Written Sunday, July 22, 2007)

Note: The description of the trip is extracted from my diary

I woke up at 7:30 a.m. and the weather was sunny and hot. I read the daily “Al Balad” that we received for free for an entire year as a promotion campaign. I performed my exercises and fed the chicken.  Joanna was busy calling: she was programming a walking trip to “Sadd Shabrou7” around Faraya.  Joanna was also planning to end the day at Cherries’ for karaoke night in honor of her sister Ashley’s birthday.  She asked me to join the trekking expedition and I agreed.

I packed a spare of undershirt and socks and a light rain jacket and some biscuit and peanuts and I waited for everybody to be ready.  We waited for Ashley to come back from mass because she was not aware of this “surprise” excursion.  Cedric could not go because he hurt his fingers and the skin of his feet while playing wild basketball yesterday.

We drove off in two cars. Joanna took Ashley and retrieved Tony at St. Elie Movie Theater in Antelias. William took Adrea, Chelsea, David and I.

We met at Aoun supermarket in Zouk and they purchase a few items to eat; Adrea waited in the car in the under ground parking lot because she is pretty lazy.  We resumed our travel around 2 p.m. and William picked up Hanane at her home and we met at Yuhanna’s house in Ajaltoun.  From there, Yuhanna drove his car and carried Joanna, Ashley, Tony and Chelsea.

We arrived and parked our cars in the monastery parking lot and started our walk after getting some information and references from a passerby.  I wore a small towel under my cap and took the lead, hunched in a comfortable stature, and distanced the straggling group for 5 minutes and stopped and took off my top clothes and dried in the sun until they joined me.  I again advanced the group because I felt that keeping a fast and steady pace is relaxing for me, otherwise I will slacken off and my back might ache from slow walking.

I tried to investigate a promising path off the beaten road which was starting to bore me; Ashley asked me to backtrack.  It was a good path that ultimately would merge with the beaten road.  We waited for the rest to join us and it seems that Adrea had trouble with her shoes that she didn’t wear for quite a time.  I took the lead again and decided for another off path and William came after me, looking very frustrated and said that we should stick together as a group and keep to the road. 

William and I took short cuts to rejoin the group and then Joanna asked a driver for the best place to sit down near fresh running water and he gave her the direction of the path I had already climbed before William came after me.  Thus, we retraced our walk; I suggested a path among the apple groves but they decided to take short cuts and climb a hill which took my breath out and had to sit down for a couple of minutes to recover.

We reached an area with a small waterfall “shalal” and a flat rock with no trees around; Yuhanna and Joanna decided to go down among the apple trees to investigate the area.  It was the same apple grove that I intended to cross before I was desisted from in order “to stick to plan”.

Meanwhile, William climbed the rock opposite the road to check if there is a nice area and I removed my tops and my shoes and washed my face and dipped my feet in the icy trickle of water running across the flat rock.  David stored in the icy stream the amassed small apples and pears that he gathered from the trees and we also let our water bottles cool in the water.

I had a pear and enjoyed it. While the remaining group was anxious to go down to the apple grove where Yuhanna located a “nice place” to have lunch I felt as happy as a clam tanning in the sun, walking bare feet and cooling my feet and rubbing lavender flowers on my hands and having a smoke.

William was pounding on a stone and it turned out to be of silex and he wanted to transform it into a stone knife; he had seen a big silex stone, but when he climbed to retrieve it he could not find it again to bring it back.

Within 15 minutes Yuhanna asked us to join and we went down to another stream of running water among the apple grove and Yuhanna was frustrated with Chelsea because she was venturing far off the group.  We had lunch; the chips were first to go and Joanna prepared us cheese sandwiches and then we ended up with the Oriole biscuits and other kinds of chocolate covered biscuits; I had also raw peanuts and kept belching for the rest of the trip.

Joanna tried her hands with the kite that she had sent to Yuhanna from London; she failed to make it fly; David and William drenched Hanane with icy water. I had a comfortable nap while people were chatting away. Chelsea was a pain for the group in her wandering off, climbing and jumping off walls and rocks and being “har2a”; obviously a close second to my pain in the ass behavior for discovering new paths. We stayed and rested until 6:30 p.m.

The return path among the apple groves coincided with the path that I had suggested before we climbed the hill.  I took the lead again with Tony who was anxious to terminate the trip and I never stopped for an hour and a half.  William joined Yuhanna and Joanna to check on a camping area and Chelsea joined them.  After a while we saw Chelsea coming alone grim faced and clutching her right hand and not stopping to talk to us; she had hurt her hand and was furious with Yuhanna.

Ashley decided to walk with Chelsea for the remaining walking trip; Ashley was even jogging in order to advance me. I kept my fast steady pace and even jogged for a short distance but could not catch up with Chelsea and Ashley; thus, I arrived third to the parked cars.

William gave us a summary of the statistics of this trip, collected on his cellular; he walked 17,000 steps and the round trip was 11 kilometers and it took us 5 hours and a half, including the resting period, and the average speed was 5 kilometers per hour as a group.

At the suggestion of Yuhanna we had dinner at “Istira7at Al 3erzal” in downtown Farayat; I refilled many cups of hot tea. We had labheh, baked potatoes, homus and cucumbers.  I lent Hanane my light jacket to warm up; Chelsea would not relent and never gave the gang peace and quietude.  Tony brought up his dish to where we were sitting William and me, at the other end of the table.

Tony said that he usually sit in front of a wall at home to enjoy what he is eating; that when in groups people eat a lot without noticing; William agreed with Tony and I sat next to Tony and we had a cigarette (the only two smokers).

By the time we paid the bill of 40,000 LL ($25) around 10 p.m. (I didn’t pay a dime: I had none) most of the gang members were exhausted and sleepy. They decided to drop the karaoke part and go home.  I sat in the back seat: David needs to feel entirely comfortable; William was driving.

Chelsea made herself comfortable and slept on my lap while Adrea was sleeping in the other corner, all crumpled up; David was sleeping in the front.  I was feeling good and full of energy. We arrived at 11:30 and the public electricity was still out since noon.

Mother was awake because she watched the interview with General and Deputy Michel Aoun along with Raymonde and Victor till 11:30.  I watched TV till 12:30 a.m. David slept at Ashley’s. Ashley and Joanna gave Tony ride home.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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