By John Pomfret
WASHINGTON Most Americans have never heard of Gen. Zuo Zongtang, but when they hit the local Chinese takeout and order a greasy carton of General Tso's chicken, they're invoking his name. By 1878, Zuo, or Tso, marching west from his base in
Chinese like to point out that Zuo's victories in Xinjiang occurred just two years after Gen. George Armstrong Custer died at the Battle of Little Bighorn trying to corral members of the Lakota and
The violence last week in Xinjiang between Uighurs and Han Chinese underscores two nettlesome issues for
Continuing the policies of the Qing Dynasty,
A program to develop China's west launched in the early years of this century has had the air of an imperial edict to settle savage lands and extract all the available oil, gas and minerals while you're at it. Chinese scholars invoked
Xinjiang isn't the only place where, for better or worse,
As for Manifest Destiny, the Han commonly view Uighurs in stereotypical terms. Landing at Kashgar's airport once, I asked a Han cabbie whether his wife was Uighur, knowing full well that mixed marriages are as common there as they were in the segregated American South. The guy practically veered into an oncoming truck and then proceeded to regale me with anecdotes about the wanton sexuality of Uighur girls. "But we're civilizing them!" he assured me.
Earlier this year, an American chief executive mused that he'd rather be
John Pomfret is the editor of The Washington Post's Outlook section and the author of "Chinese Lessons: Five Classmates and the Story of the New China."