One of those unsettling (and the word is deliberate) ironies of the occupation of (or perhaps an ongoing preoccupation with?) Xinjiang has been the Han appropriation of Uyghur music and dance in public spaces. In Lianhuashan Park behind the Citizen’s Center, for example, people often gather for ethnicized plaza dancing. Sometimes, Indian a la Bollywood and sometimes Central Asian a la Xinjiang. The irony, of course, is if they were actually Uyghurs and not cosplay Uyghurs, there would be no public dancing, except in designated spaces. Indeed, I’m still working through how plaza dancing gets around the current policy that limits public gatherings to under 30 people. It’s as if public dancing is so much part of the public scene that even when it breaches norms and policy, the dance and the dancers remain non-threatening to the security guards and urban management types who sit nearby scrolling through their WeChat messages or drive past in golf carts.
Tag Archives: xinjiang
hallucinating in shanghai
The stories coming out of Shanghai are increasingly distressing. Thousands of people are being rounded up and forcibly moved to quarantine centers, which are still under construction. Once inside the centers, detainees are told that they are on their own until testing can be arranged because it takes two consecutive negatives to get out. Indeed, the situation is so fraught that it has brought the specters of Xinjiang and the Cultural Revolution into the conversation. Some have started commenting under pictures of the Big Whites (大白 nickname for those in hazmat suits), “the red guards have arrived!” Offline, the outraged assumption that Shanghai (SHANGHAI!) could be treated like Xinjiang is more vocal, and occasionally mentioned online. But I’ll get to that, below. There’s much to unpack in all of this, especially Xi Jinping’s fraught relationship with the CR, Xinjiang and, of course, Covid. After all, the 20th Party Congress will be held (presumably) some time in October, and Xi has hitched his
coronation third term to zero-Covid. Today, however, I’m translating and commenting on a copy of a chat record that’s low key circulating on WeChat. I’ll be responding in the next post.