By Beth Main.
A fight that occured in Hunan Province between Uyghur cake sellers and local villagers has sparked a furore of anti-minority prejudice from Chinese netizens. The fight over the apparently absurdly high price of the nut cake, and the reaction to the police’s perceived pro-Uyghur [Ed: Ha! That’ll be the day] handling of the situation has angered many netizens.
The police reported that, ‘Xinjiang nut cakes of a total worth of about RMB 160,000 were destroyed. Total damage was about RMB 200,000, including fees for broken motorcycle and injured people’ [Translation by OffBeatChina]. After which a Weibo celebrity 北京厨子 did a calculation: ‘A piece of Xinjiang nut cake about 1.6 square meters in size cost RMB 160,000, which means about RMB 100,000 per square meter. Every 1 square meter of Xinjiang nut cake can buy about 3 square meters of apartment in Beijing.’
There is the general feeling in China that the government’s pro-minority policies actually lead to anti-minority sentiment amongst the Han majority*. Uyghurs are the largest minority group in the Northwestern province of Xinjiang, distinct ethnically, culturally and religiously from Han Chinese. Though they lack a dynamic, jet-setting champion like the Dalai Lama, or the hordes of pro-Tibetan Western celebrities, the Uyghurs have many of the same complaints about Chinese rule as their Tibetan fellow minorities.
The quasi-racist stereotype that Uyghurs are knife toteing swindlers is heavily linked to the nut cake. Xinjiang nut cakes (切糕, qie gao), typically made of a mixture of nuts, sweets and glutinous rice, is a street snack usually sold by Uyghurs riding a tricycle. It’s not the cheapest, nor the most popular street food in China, but is filling and prevalent in Uyghur areas.
The Weibo post which kicked off the controversy, a report from the Yueyan police, has now disappeared.
[*Editors note: Idiots who think assisting minorities is the same as attacking the majority are to be found in every culture, just Google “reverse racism” or “misandry”.]