We were sitting around on Saturday looking at a friend's photographs of Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang, which--in case you haven't learned in the last few days--is the center of the torments between the Muslim Uighurs (pronounced "weegers") and the Han Chinese who have over the decades overwhelmed the local population in numbers and in power.

This is not a new strategy for the racialist Chinese communists (whatever communism means any longer in China). They have done it in Tibet and elsewhere in the country that is domicile to many sects and ethnic groups that fall outside the limited blend of "true" Chinese.

The distribution of population groups in tyrannical societies is something the elites take to easily. It happened under Stalin and Hitler with a ferocity that still did not shock the outside world. Move a million people here and another million there. It is as easy as playing Chinese checkers or, better yet, chess since the pawns can simply be taken off the board.

My friend's pictures were colorful in the way that images of poverty are often colorful. But there was also an odd feature to the facial likenesses. This was not one people.

Han Chinese had been moved in and Muslim Uighurs had been moved out. Beijing is in the middle of shifting a half million Uighur women to a remote and distant locale. Is this also a form of population control?

Beijing has credited the riots to a Uighur billionairess living in Washington. But her influence in D.C. seems to be paltry. It is odd for me to be cheering on people shouting "God is great" in the streets.


But Tiananmen Square is still in my mind.