Lying and Uprising, 2013: Whether dead or alive, in Pretoria, South Africa, Nelson Mandela is already lying in state. Meanwhile in Xingjiang province, indigenous Uighurs are rising up against state repression and the state-sponsored influx of incomers from metropolitan China – or that’s how it looks to the Uighur boys on motorbikes besieging the police station in Hotan; or was it that the police besieged their mosque and beat the biker boys as they tried to get away? In their ears, the name for China’s majority population – Han – rhymes readily with Afrikaan.
In Xingjiang, the two populations are so far apartheid they cannot agree what time it is: Han immigrants bring Beijing time with them; Uighurs maintain it’s two hours earlier than that.
‘One World One Dream’, 2008: The ‘official website of the 2008 Olympic Games’ explains that Beijing’s slogan ‘fully reflects the essence and the universal values of the Olympic spirit: Unity, Friendship, Progress, Harmony, Participation and Dream. It expresses the common wishes of people all over the world, inspired by the Olympic ideals, to strive for a bright future of Mankind, in spite of the differences in colours, languages and races.’
Officialese and florid philosophical formulations twirled and curled into sickly calligraphy; during Games Time, Beijing itself baked into eye candy. A whole army for keeping the city sweet, including platoons of imported labour, marched in to sugar it up when the streets have all but emptied out. The majority population defaults to man-attired-for-business-in-a-warm-humid-climate. But this is a different uniform; these are different faces; another ‘race’.
Games Over and it’s back to the Xingjiang Bantustan for you, bwoy.