As the protests in Hong Kong finally begin to wind down, they should thank their lucky stars that the regime didn’t quash their demonstration with soldiers and tanks. It’s no secret that China’s Communist Party is prone to violence. While many might assume that the purges and mass democide are a thing of the past for China, recent reports suggest that the elites in Beijing will not hesitate to execute peaceful protesters in the 21st century.
This speculation, and the global attention to Hong Kong, ignores a crucial piece of context: The Chinese government already killed scores of demonstrators in a single incident earlier this year. And it did so under circumstances that are the exact opposite of the situation in Hong Kong — far from the prying eyes of the international media, in a distant and peripheral part of the country that’s home to a restive minority group with a whole different set of grievances against Beijing.
In early August, the president of the Germany-based World Uyghur Congress claimed that at least 2,000 members of China’s Uyghur minority had been killed the previous month in and around Elishku, a town in China’s far west. China’s 12 million Uyghurs are Muslims who speak a language related to Turkish and who enjoy few civil, national, political, or religious rights under China’s nationalistic and authoritarian system.
Beijing eventually admitted to killing 96 people in the incident, but did not allow any international or independent media or human rights monitors into the area. The incident took place in a very remote area; the violence likely involved police opening fire on demonstrators, rather than tanks or heavy vehicles.
So why hasn’t the Chinese government crushed the protesters in Hong Kong? Well for one, the city is a highly profitable financial hub. If the protests turned violent, then it could seriously hurt their economy and reputation. But more importantly, it would also be impossible to cover up. In such a highly populated international city, there’s no way they could send the military to suppress them without the whole world seeing it.
The Uyghurs of Western China are so isolated, that the government can do whatever they want. Without the prying eyes of the international media, they’re completely comfortable with shooting protesters. After nearly 70 years of undisputed rule over mainland China, the Communist Party hasn’t changed their brutal contempt for all forms of dissent.
What has changed is technology, and the ability of ordinary people to document the oppressive nature of their government. The only thing keeping the Hong Kong protesters alive, is their exposure. Despite the tragedy that the Uyghurs are facing, this should be quite encouraging to dissidents and freedom fighters across the world.
We’re talking about a regime that has likely killed over 40 million people throughout its history (and that may be conservative). If they’re going to back down from killing people just because the cameras are rolling, then the 21st century stands a good chance of being the most liberated time in human history. The Umbrella Revolution in Hong Kong has revealed what many of us have suspected from the start.
Tyrants are cowards.
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Contributed by Joshua Krause of The Daily Sheeple.
Joshua Krause is a reporter, writer and researcher at The Daily Sheeple. He was born and raised in the Bay Area and is a freelance writer and author. You can follow Joshua’s reports at Facebook or on his personal Twitter. Joshua’s website is Strange Danger .