KTBS meteorologist Rhonda Lee was fired last month from her job at ABC’s Shreveport, Louisiana affiliate–a position she had held for almost a year. It was not for anything she said on-air, or in the newsroom. It was for responding to viewer comments online regarding her hair.

(Photo credit: CNN)

The day after the Tiananmen incident, one Uyghur student on twitter asked “why is everything we do terrorism?”. He reminded his Han nationalist debating partners that a Han Chinese man set off a bomb in Beijing Capital International Airport with no calls of “terrorism”. Discontent among Han is framed as a less severe threat and is rightly seen within its social and individual context. However, Uyghur discontent can be de-legitimised and presented as a national security threat by activating the discourse of “the Three Evils”. The authors of China’s ethnic minority policies in the inter-generational debate frame a common Chinese national identity as a prerequisite to China’s international strength. Ethnic minority identities are frequently framed by the CCP and Chinese intellectuals as a source of backwardness and insecurity for the Chinese nation. This is the “patriotic worrying” Gloria Davies referred to in Worrying About China: the critical reflexivity of intellectuals is constrained by the need to contextualise academic discussion of the subject not in terms of how to deconstruct and understand a problem but how authors can help to construct China as a perfect civilisation.

Xinjiang Dreams: Worrying about ethnicity 

Written by David Tobin.