Tuesday, December 04, 2012

China's Affirmative Action

It may be hard for westerners who had been brainwashed by Washington Post or New York Times to accept the reality that minorities, such as those in Tibet and Urghur Muslims in Xinjiang, in China enjoy more rights and privileges than the majority Han people.

According to the official police report released on Weibo (Chinese knock off of Twitter), a resident Mr. Ling had a dispute with a group of Urghur Muslim from Xinjiang, when he bought fruit cake from them. Tianyue police station (Yuyang, Hunan Province) arrested Ling, and compensated Urghur Muslims for the loss cakes damaged in the dispute. The Urghur Muslim group agreed to go back to Xinjiang.

People were quick to point out the police might have paid too much for the cake. The police gave the Urghur Muslim group RMB 160k ($28,000) for the cake, and RMB 40k ($6,500) for the cart, and iced the deal with a criminal charge against the buyer.

The 'Xinjiang Fruit Cake' sellers have been as famous as Nigeria bankers. Usually, city people know to stay away. But as always, there are a few who haven't heard of it. It is a kind of very sweet cake. The trick is that it is very heavy. It is heavier than, say, gold. Imagine your surprise when you could hardly lift a palm size cake with one hand. Also, food in China is usually sold by 'Jin (500g, about a pound)'. But this kind of cake is sold by 'Liang (50g, 1 and 1/4 oz)'. When you ask for price, you would be simply told a number, say 20, and you would assume that was RMB 20 per lb, and you would assume that piece of pi cost about $1. You can't be more wrong. The piece would easily cost you $100 or more. At this time, you must pay, otherwise, you would find yourself surrounded by a group of Muslims with knives in their hands. Muslims were allowed to carry knives with them by law.

The handling of the dispute by Hunan police is typical, but rarely reported because of sensitivity of the topic. By China's criminal law, Muslim would not be punished even after committing serious crimes. Local police do not have the motivation to intervene any dispute had Muslim involved. If a police were hurt, they probably couldn't even press charge. The optimal solution for local police would be to get them away to somewhere else, anywhere but their own jurisdiction. They must have purchased tickets for the group to go back Xinjiang, but readers should not be surprised to find these Muslims in a neighboring city.

Expectantly, the police report would be taken down from the Internet. It was. It must be a omission of oversight.

The Chinese law regarding ethnic minorities is hated by Han people. However, not even all of the minorities are happy. Some Urghur scholars have been arguing that the policy encouraged Urghur youth to become thieves and robbers, and practically discourage them to become responsible citizens.

And there is the academic policies.

Unlike the affirmative action act in the US, which is hidden by layers of carefully weaved reasons and excuses behind a complicated and never made publish admission process, everything is a clear cut in China. A Urghur Muslim can enter a college with less than half of the exam scores. Although it guaranteed more college graduates as it is designed, consequently, Urghur youth have no incentive to study hard. Further more, they will find themselves unmarketable after graduating from the college because no employer believes in the value of their diploma. They will have to settle on often uninspiring government jobs (although they pay well), thanks to diversity policies in employment.

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