《外交政策》新疆——狂野的西部

【罗昌平】张春贤治下的新疆,正在调动20万名党政干部下到基层,“完全覆盖”边远的村庄,“不留空白”。

对应于此,张还指示,由天山网设立微信公号“最后一公里”(ID:MqMsMx),专为干部下乡打造立体式互联平台,可谓新疆社会管理的一次创新,在全国尚属首次。截至目前,这个微信公号订阅用户超过4.5万人,有兴趣的朋友可以关注。

三年前,我曾专访张春贤书记,在长达两个半小时的交流中,能够感觉到他的开明、睿智、亲民与远虑。那一组文章,回复“新畺”二字即可自动推送。

这些年风波不断,他的压力不少,始终处于风口浪尖。但愿对立与悲剧不再重演。

今天推荐一个组合:视频是我喜欢的疆蒙小曲《两只小山羊》,文章来自美国外交政策杂志的同题评论。

狂野的西部

Bethany Allen |文

新疆,占地面积大约和伊朗一样的中国西部地区,被认为是民族关系紧张、经济欠发达、不透明的边缘地区。但中国的新政策给外界观察家罕见的、也许片面的对于中共在村级政策的一瞥。

二月十五日,政府宣布一项“下基层”活动:在随后的三年里,新疆计划调动20万名党政干部在全疆各地区待为期一年时间,此活动甚至可以“完全覆盖”边远的村庄,“不留空白”。

几十年来,汉族到新疆地区的迁移、民族政策和宗教政策等,引起了维人(约1000万,构成了新疆总人口的40%)与汉人之间的紧张关系,导致周期性的、常被政府定义为恐袭的暴力活动。三月十七日,新疆书记张春贤在对官员的讲话中,称这次运动是“维护稳定和促进宗教与民族和谐新疆”的措施。

这可能标志着政府从纯经济发展到聚焦社会稳定的战略转移。但不可小觑张的话——第一轮活动中,大约七万个名官员在三月五日已经到了目的村,并且在微信的官方账户(一个移动社交网络拥有超过2.71亿活跃用户)提交了在维人乡村工作的故事和照片。

账号每天大约分享五个简短的故事,描绘在此次活动中他们的魅力攻势和乡村调查,官员们(主要是汉族)从人口更稠密的地区调动到偏远的地区,与当地村民同住,和他们沟通日常工作,帮助解决当地的问题,同时,希望“获得人们的支持”。

从新疆周围不同地区传来的信息,描绘了党的官员们学习如何在小型燃煤炉上烹饪。当他们用自己的名字时,当地人表示很难记住这些中文名称。他们与村里的老人聊天,帮助村民开通村微信账号,甚至帮助当地居民戒烟。

虽然党控制了大多数“下到基层”运动的信息,使得这些信息很难评估该运动的实际目标和有效性。但是他们的努力可能确实是一个真正的尝试,以表明党的温和一面。

根据维人Seytoff的说法,中国政府在该地区同时利用“胡萝卜”和“棍棒”手段。针对政府对新疆的暗中加压工作,尤其针对三月一日云南事件,Seytoff 认为,“下到基层”运动是一个胡萝卜的例子。

其中一个胡萝卜政策,可能是把活动的重点放在语言上。在新疆的维人中,一个常见的批评是新疆的高层官员几乎都是汉族人,他们没有试图了解维人,从而导致双方的沟通负担完全压在维人身上,因为他们通常不会说普通话。“下基层”运动似乎是诚心想改变这种现状。

新疆天山网,官办的新闻媒体,三月六日报道:自学维语的图书因此次运动成为乌市书店热卖书籍,微信账号中的照片也显示,党的官员以购买学习中国——维族研究材料为荣。该微信账户也定期提供关键的维语短语列表,尽管严重汉化的发音指导有时会混淆突厥语的发音:例如,短语“你好吗?”——yahshimusiz——被发音为“ya he xi mo”。

尽管试图传达一种和解的态度,政府在新疆的高压政策,依然可能因党的干部到村里的运动而继续。根据三月八日的微信记录,一个由官方为村妇女组织的活动“让美丽的头发自由飞舞;让美丽的面孔露出;促进新鲜价值”,在当地农村举办以庆祝国际妇女节。

这篇报道没有报告村民对这种努力的反应,政府最近在新疆举行的反对带面纱的运动,引发了族人的愤怒,也增加了宗教对立。

尽管官方媒体报道强调,维人及其他少数民族干部下基层对新疆的民族关系是为了促进民族之间“一家人”的关系,这是有点屈尊俯就的宣传。但观察者评价,不管政府官员的付出是多么有意义,或者多么敏锐,他们 “买不到大家的忠诚”,无论派出“20万还是200万名官员”。

“什么都不会改变。”Seytoff说,“直到政府改变其民族政策,并允许真正的自治。”

一个在新疆政府外事办公室的电话员拒绝评论此次活动,只是提供了一些相关材料。

因为事情的发展不会过快,新疆的维人将不得不继续处理好胡萝卜和大棒的关系。同时,外部观察员必须继续通过字里行间阅读了解在中国西部所真正发生的一切。

(翻译多有损耗,阅读原文

Mild, Mild West

Chinese authorities promise to blanket the volatile region of Xinjiang with Communist cadres.

BY Bethany Allen

Bethany Allen is an editorial intern at Foreign Policy.

MARCH 18, 2014

Xinjiang, a vast region in western China covering a surface area roughly as large as that of Iran, is known to be ethnically fraught, economically underdeveloped, and opaque to outsiders. But a new Chinese policy is giving outside observers a rare — albeit entirely one-sided — glimpse into what Chinese Communist Party policy looks like at the village level there.

In what authorities announced on Feb. 15 as a “Down to the Grassroots” campaign, over the next three years the government of the Xinjiang capital of Urumqi plans to rotate a total of 200,000 Xinjiang party officials in year-long stints across the region, so that it may “completely cover” even the remotest villages, “leaving no blank space.” Decades of Han Chinese migration to the region and repressive government ethnic and religious policies have inflamed tensions between the Muslim Uighurs — who number around 10 million, composing a bit over 40 percent of Xinjiang’s total population — and the majority Han, leading to periodic violence that the government often labels as terrorist attacks. In a March 17 address to Xinjiang party officials, Zhang Chunxian, Xinjiang party boss and member of China’s ultra-powerful Politburo whom Foreign Affairs describes as a media-savvy hard-liner with a “reputation for transparency,” called the new campaign a “radical measure” to protect stability and promote religious and ethnic harmony in Xinjiang.

That might mark a strategic shift from pure economic development to a refocus on social stability in the turbulent region. But there’s no need to simply take Zhang’s word for it — members of the first round of the approximately 70,000 party officials who arrived at their village destinations on March 5 have been submitting stories and photos of their work in Uighur villages to the campaign’s own official account on WeChat, a mobile social network with over 271 million active users. The brief stories the account shares, numbering around five per day, portray the campaign as something akin to charm offensive-cum-ethnographic fieldwork, in which (mostly Han) party officials from more populated areas within Xinjiang trek to the furthest reaches of the autonomous region to live amongst villagers, share their daily routines, help solve local problems, and, hopefully, “garner the people’s support.”

Stories from different sites around Xinjiang depict party officials learning how to cook over the small coal-burning stoves common in the region, adopting Uighur names for themselves when locals evince difficulty remembering Chinese names, chatting with village elders, helping villagers open their own village WeChat account, and even rescuing local residents suffering from smoke inhalation.

Though party control over most information relating to the “Down to the Grassroots” campaign makes it hard to assess the actual goals and practices of the campaign, the effort may indeed be a genuine attempt to show the party’s softer, more conciliatory side. According to Alim Seytoff, a spokesman for the World Uighur Congress, a Uighur exile group, the Chinese government utilizes both “carrots” and “sticks” in the region. In the face of a looming government crackdown in Xinjiang, especially after the brutal March 1 knifing attack in Kunming which authorities say were perpetrated by Xinjiang terrorists, the “Down to the Grassroots” campaign is, Seytoff said, an example of a carrot.

One of these carrots may be the campaign’s emphasis on language. A common criticism among Xinjiang’s Uighurs is that top-ranking Chinese officials in Xinjiang are almost always Han Chinese who make no attempt to learn Uighur, thus placing the burden of communication completely upon Uighurs, who often don’t speak Mandarin. The “Down to the Grassroots” campaign seems to be making a good-faith effort to change that. Tianshan Net, a state-controlled Xinjiang news outlet, reported on March 6 that teach-yourself-Uighur books have become hot sellers at bookstores throughout Urumqi as a result of the campaign, and photos from the WeChat account show party officials proudly hoisting bilingual Chinese-Uighur study materials. The WeChat account also regularly provides listsof key Uighur phrases, though the heavily Sinified pronunciation guide sometimes garbles the Turkic language; for example, the phrase “how are you” — yahshimusiz — is rendered “ya he xi mo.”

Despite attempts to convey a conciliatory attitude, the Communist Party’s heavy-handed policies in Xinjiang may have accompanied party officials down to the villages. According to a March 8 post on the campaign’s WeChat account, one official organized an activity for village women called “Let Beautiful Hair Float Freely; Let Beautiful Faces Be Exposed; Promote Fresh Values” to celebrate International Women’s Day in her new village home. While the post did not report the villagers’ reactions to this effort, the government’s recent anti-veiling campaign in Xinjiang has sparked anger among Muslims there and fanned fears of increasing religious repression. Although official media reports emphasize that Uighur and other ethnic minority cadres are among those sent down to the grassroots, its portrayal of ethnic relations in Xinjiang as “all one family” smacks of patronizing propaganda. And according to Seytoff, it doesn’t matter how helpful or sensitive the party officials are — the Chinese government “cannot buy people’s loyalty,” regardless of whether it sends “200,000 or 2 million officials.” Nothing will change, Seytoff said, “until the government changes its ethnic policies, and allows the Uighurs real autonomy.” (A person who answered the phone at the Xinjiang government’s foreign affairs office declined to comment on the campaign, instead referring me to the material available online.)

Since that is unlikely to happen anytime soon, Xinjiang’s Uighurs will have to continue to make due with carrots and sticks. Meanwhile, outside observers must continue to read between the lines to learn what is really happening out in China’s far west.

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