Under the Heel of the Dragon: Islam, Racism, Crime, and the Uighur in China (Ohio RIS Global Series)
Author Blaine Kaltman’s study is based on in-depth interviews that he conducted in Chinese without either the aid of an interpreter or the knowledge of the Chinese government. These riveting conversations expose the thoughts of a wide socioeconomic spectrum of Han and Uighur, revealing their mutual prejudices. The Uighurs believe that the Han discriminate against them in almost every aspect of their lives, and this perception of racism motivates the Uighurs’ own prejudice against the Han.
Kaltman reports that Uighur criminal activity (unlike that of other minorities, which predominantly occurs within their own communities) is directed against their perceived oppressors, the Han Chinese. Under the Heel of the Dragon offers a unique insight into a misunderstood world and a detailed explanation of the cultural perceptions that drive these misconceptions.
shops for Han to buy their clothing in, but Urumqi hasn’t developed. It’s still as it was in .” He tapped the same VCD again and said, “Japanese. Very good.” “I don’t have any money on me,” I said. “Cheap!” barked the Uighur. “Are you here every day?” I asked. “Yes, every day,” replied the Uighur. The truth is, I had never seen him or his table of VCDs before, but I usually crossed the intersection at other points. I asked, “Do you have another job?” The Uighur smiled. “This is my work.” “No,
“Uighur men date and marry Uighur women. But we’re in Shanghai, not Xinjiang. Shanghai isn’t a Uighur place, so things must change some. But most Uighur who come to Shanghai stay Uighur.” The younger man said,“The Uighur who change in Shanghai would have changed in Xinjiang, as well. China is a developing nation, and they [Uighur] want to benefit from that development. So some Uighur become like the Han. They speak Mandarin, and they don’t mind if their children don’t speak Uighur. They don’t
crimes.” He snickered and added, “Maybe they’re right.” When discussing Uighur crime, one married thirty-six-year-old Uighur woman selling noodles at her husband’s stall believed Uighur police would treat Uighur suspects as unfairly as Han police would. “There are Uighur thieves,” she said, “and I think since Uighur are sometimes poorer than Han, maybe they tend to steal from them. Also, most Han look down on us Uighur. So maybe Han who have been robbed but aren’t sure who robbed them blame
local government; usually that’s the case. Most shops here were being rented, so most of the poorer shop owners couldn’t afford to stay here. The property value here is now very high. When the real estate companies or government—I’m not exactly sure which—sold the property back to local businesses, the Uighur couldn’t afford to buy anything. So they moved to Yunnan Lu to open shops, because there they can still rent.” Perhaps Uighur were still unable to afford rent, as there were no new Uighur
encourages businesses to hire Uighur in Xinjiang, no one will hire a Uighur who can’t speak good Mandarin. But now, as Xinjiang becomes more developed, it is getting easier. Uighur children learn Mandarin at such a young age that it’s not so hard for them.” He laughed and said, “You know, now there are many Uighur in Urumqi whose Mandarin is better than their Uighur because they go to Han schools, where all their classes and interactions are in Mandarin. Especially those rich Uighur children who