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Military Trends, Technology, and International Developments => China => Dissent & Breakaway Regions => Topic started by: adroth on September 26, 2016, 10:08:14 AM

Title: China's Uighur problem
Post by: adroth on September 26, 2016, 10:08:14 AM
Administrator's note: See also:

New evidence emerges of China forcing Muslims into ‘reeducation’ camps (

China Expels Nine Uyghur Children From Soccer Talent Program (


The thorn in China's side



Why is there tension between China and the Uighurs?
26 September 2014

The Xinjiang autonomous region in China's far west has had a long history of discord between the authorities and the indigenous ethnic Uighur population. The BBC sets out why.

Who lives in Xinjiang?

The ethnic Uighur population used to be the majority in China's Xinjiang region

The largest of China's administrative regions, Xinjiang borders eight countries - Mongolia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India - and until recently its population was mostly Uighur.

Most Uighurs are Muslim and Islam is an important part of their life and identity. Their language is related to Turkish, and they regard themselves as culturally and ethnically close to Central Asian nations.

The region's economy has largely revolved around agriculture and trade, with towns such as Kashgar thriving as hubs along the famous Silk Road.

But development has brought new residents. In the 2000 census, Han Chinese made up 40% of the population, as well as large numbers of troops stationed in the region and unknown numbers of unregistered migrants.

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An East Turkestan state was briefly declared in 1949, but independence was short-lived - later that year Xinjiang officially became part of Communist China.

In the 1990s, open support for separatist groups increased after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the emergence of independent Muslim states in Central Asia.

However, Beijing suppressed demonstrations and activists went underground.
Title: Re: China's Uighur problem
Post by: adroth on October 15, 2016, 05:07:08 AM
China’s Xinjiang Troubles: Authoritative Suppression May Face Uyghur Backlash – Analysis
By Anurag Tripathi and Nilanjana Ghosh*

Ethnic tension in the Xinjiang (also East Turkestan) autonomous region of China is increasing. On the basis of situations traced in 2016, the tension is no longer limited to Xinjiang but is spreading across the border to the other Central Asian states as well. The East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), comprising mainly of the Uyghur Muslim community, is apparently instigating havoc in the region and also in the neighbouring countries recently. On August 30 there was a suicide car bomb attack in the Chinese embassy at Kyrgystan. Though there has not yet been any evidence of any radical organisation behind it but due to the conflict and protests going on in Xinjiang between Uyghur Muslims and Han Chinese the suspicion goes to the ETIM.

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Given the economic and geographic importance of Xinjiang, the Chinese government has encouraged internal migration of the Han Chinese into this region since 1949. As per the 1953 census, Uyghurs comprised of 75% of the entire population and Hans comprised of only 6%. This has changed significantly in the 2000 census which reported 45.21% Uyghurs and 40.57% Hans. Since the 1990s, accusations of marginalisation and discrimination against the Uyghur community by the government started fuelling ethnic clashes between them and the Hans. Various Uyghur groups have also been formed abroad by the exiled members of the community. It is believed that the Uyghur groups inside Xinjiang are not only supported by these groups but also by many Islamic countries, especially Turkey. The government has blamed the separatists for many terrorist activities inside the country.

Importantly, in several riots, the Chinese officials have burned down several mosques and refrained women from wearing burqas and imposed strict control over the functioning of Islamic religious schools. All this led to upheaval among the Muslim community and their determination for a separate state became stronger. But China neither in the past nor in the present wants to lose its control over the Xinjiang region and the secessionist tendencies have been curbed violently and rapidly whenever required.

Local authorities in China’s Xinjiang region have forced Muslim Uyghur farmers, government workers, teachers and the unemployed to partake in a mass event where they had to dress in traditional Chinese garb and perform tai chi, a very old form of Chinese martial arts. According to the Shule County government website, in April 2015 Chinese authorities forced Uyghur imams in Kashgar to do a dance performance in the town’s main square and female teachers had to assure not to teach Islam to children. The imams were also forced to tell children that prayer was harmful for the soul and to chant slogans in support of the state over religion and declare that “our income comes from the Chinese Communist Party, not from Allah.” On the response of this event, Ilshat Hasan, president of the Washington-based Uyghur American Association on August 25, 2016 criticized the event as another attempt by China to weaken Uyghur ethnic and cultural identity and force Han Chinese identity on the Muslim ethnic minority. There has been continuous crackdown on Uyghur inhabitants to prevent the “three evils” of terrorism, separatism, and religious extremism there, according to Radio Free Asia.

The future stability in the region still remains a matter of question. Domestic policies are partly responsible for the increasing violence. Also, the extreme and forceful measures taken by the Chinese government to wipe out Islamic ideology is leading to expanded restlessness among people and is proving to be dangerous for both China as well as the neighbouring regions. An exile Uyghur leader Rebiya Kadeer, who spoke during a press conference in Tokyo on June 20, 2013, claimed that at least 2,000 ethnic minority Uyghurs may have been killed by Chinese security forces following riots in June 2013 Xinjiang region alone, far more than reported by the state media.

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Title: Re: China's Uighur problem
Post by: adroth on March 19, 2018, 05:19:04 PM
China 'holding at least 120,000 Uighurs in re-education camps'
US-backed news group claims Mao-style camps are springing up on China’s western border

Tom Phillips in Beijing

Thu 25 Jan 2018 03.03 EST Last modified on Thu 25 Jan 2018 03.40 EST

At least 120,000 members of China’s Muslim Uighur minority have been confined to political “re-education camps” redolent of the Mao era that are springing up across the country’s western borderlands, a report has claimed.

Radio Free Asia (RFA), a US-backed news group whose journalists have produced some of the most detailed reporting on the heavily securitised region of Xinjiang, said it obtained the figure from a security official in Kashgar, a city in China’s far west that has been the focus of a major crackdown.

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Title: Re: China's Uighur problem
Post by: adroth on March 31, 2018, 03:35:51 PM
The Human Costs of Controlling Xinjiang
Beijing has strong incentives to exert control in Xinjiang. The Uyghurs pay the price.

By Zachary Torrey
October 10, 2017
The Uyghurs, one of the largest ethnic minority groups in China, have an unfortunate lot. As a group, they possess two key factors which encourage the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to repress them. First, they have a strong ethnic identity which is separate from the principal Han ethnic group which dominates the CCP. Indeed, many Uyghurs are beginning to view a major component of their identity as “being non-Han.” Second, the land they inhabit, Xinjiang Province, is rich in resources and economic importance. It holds one-third of the country’s natural gas and oil reserves in addition to large deposits of gold, uranium, and other minerals. Renewable energy also factors in: Xinjiang is a prime location to harvest solar, wind, and nuclear energy. Moreover, Xinjiang sits along the historic Silk Road, which the CCP is intent on rebuilding via its Belt and Road Initiative.

These factors combine to ensure that the Chinese Communist Party has large incentives to suppress the Uyghur ethnic group. Specifically, each factor threatens two pillars of the CCP’s governing philosophy: preserving territorial integrity and continuing industrialization. Preserving territorial integrity is one of China’s “core interests,” meaning that the CCP considers it essential to understanding Chinese foreign and security policies. China’s history of foreign imperial domination and machinations during the “Century of Humiliation” from 1839-1949 informs the CCP’s obsession with territorial integrity. The Chinese Communist Party views Xinjiang Province and its Uyghur population as a potential hotbed for separatism, what the party terms “splittism.” This stems from the Uyghur’s strong and non-Han ethnic identity. Further, the Uyghurs are concentrated in Xinjiang; 49 percent of Xinjiang’s 20 million people are Uyghurs, and few Uyghurs live in China’s other provinces. This density, the CCP believes, adds fuel to secessionist fires. A major component of the perceived difference is religion: the vast majority of Uyghurs are Muslim and consider Islam a defining part of their ethnic identity. In addition, Uyghur literary and cultural traditions differ greatly from the Han Chinese, often seeing the Han as foreign imperialists while Uyghur historical heroes are those who fought against the Chinese empires. The Uyghurs do not even speak a Chinese language; their language, simply called Uyghur, is a Turkic tongue using Arabic script.

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Title: Re: China's Uighur problem
Post by: adroth on March 31, 2018, 05:10:20 PM

Title: Re: China's Uighur problem
Post by: adroth on July 15, 2018, 01:03:49 PM

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The Belt and Road Initiative: The idea and the implementation

China’s current fundamental challenge is to preserve the existing form of government under the Chinese Communist Party by maintaining political and social stability. The latter in turn depends on managing economic expectations and growth, which has slowed down to single-digit rates since the 2007-2008 subprime mortgage crisis. With BRI, the means to maintaining and rejuvenating economic output lies in exporting excess manufacturing and industrial capacities, especially those linked to China’s many State-Owned Companies (SOEs). 2 By transiting Xinjiang province, home to China’s 10 million Uyghur Muslims into Central Asia and farther westward, these infrastructural projects could also theoretically diminish the developmental gaps between the affluent coastal economic regions and China’s backward and restive western regions, improving domestic and border stability.

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China-Pakistan Economic Corridor . . . . . . ends in the province of the Uyghur
Title: Re: China's Uighur problem
Post by: adroth on July 14, 2019, 02:05:10 AM
China Rebuked by 22 Nations Over Xinjiang Repression
The gate of what is officially known as a vocational skills education center in Xinjiang, in western China.
By Nick Cumming-Bruce
July 10, 2019

GENEVA — A group of 22 countries has issued a statement urging China to stop the mass detention of ethnic Uighurs and other Muslims in its western Xinjiang region, the first concerted international challenge to a policy China has vigorously defended at the United Nations.

In a letter to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, the states told China to uphold its own laws and international obligations, and stop arbitrary incarceration of Uighurs and other Muslim and minority communities, and permit freedom of religion. The letter was delivered Monday and publicly seen on Wednesday.

Britain, France and Germany were among 18 European countries that, joined by Japan, Australia, Canada and New Zealand, drew attention to reports of large-scale arbitrary detentions and asked Ms. Bachelet to keep the Human Rights Council regularly updated on developments.

China experts, drawing on official Chinese documents, satellite imagery and the testimony of families whose relatives have been detained, estimate that China has detained a million or more people in re-education centers and has imposed intrusive surveillance.

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Title: Re: China's Uighur problem
Post by: adroth on July 14, 2019, 02:17:36 AM
Saudi Arabia and Russia among 37 states backing China's Xinjiang policy
Tom Miles

GENEVA (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia, Russia and 35 other states have written to the United Nations supporting China’s policies in its western region of Xinjiang, according to a copy of the letter seen by Reuters on Friday, in contrast to strong Western criticism.

China has been accused of detaining a million Muslims and persecuting ethnic Uighurs in Xinjiang, and 22 ambassadors signed a letter to the U.N. Human Rights Council this week criticizing its policies.

But the letter supporting China commended what it called China’s remarkable achievements in the field of human rights.

“Faced with the grave challenge of terrorism and extremism, China has undertaken a series of counter-terrorism and deradicalization measures in Xinjiang, including setting up vocational education and training centers,” the letter said.

The letter said security had returned to Xinjiang and the fundamental human rights of people of all ethnic groups there had been safeguarded. It added there had been no terrorist attack there for three years and people enjoyed a stronger sense of happiness, fulfillment and security.

As well as Saudi Arabia and Russia, the letter was signed by ambassadors from many African countries, North Korea, Venezuela, Cuba, Belarus, Myanmar, the Philippines, Syria, Pakistan, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.

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Title: Re: China's Uighur problem
Post by: adroth on January 05, 2020, 04:53:08 AM
China’s Repression of Uighurs in Xinjiang
More than a million Muslims have been arbitrarily detained in China’s Xinjiang Province. The reeducation camps are just one part of the government’s crackdown on Uighurs. 

Last updated November 25, 2019

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When did mass detentions of Muslims start?
More on:


Human Rights


Some eight hundred thousand to two million Uighurs and other Muslims, including ethnic Kazakhs and Uzbeks, have been detained since April 2017, according to experts and government officials [PDF]. Outside of the camps, the eleven million Uighurs living in Xinjiang have continued to suffer from a decades-long crackdown by Chinese authorities.

Most people in the camps have never been charged with crimes and have no legal avenues to challenge their detentions. The detainees seem to have been targeted for a variety of reasons, according to media reports, including traveling to or contacting people from any of the twenty-six countries China considers sensitive, such as Turkey and Afghanistan; attending services at mosques; and sending texts containing Quranic verses. Often, their only crime is being Muslim, human rights groups say, adding that many Uighurs have been labeled as extremists simply for practicing their religion.

Hundreds of camps are located in Xinjiang. Officially known as the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, the northwestern province has been claimed by China since the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) took power in 1949. Some Uighurs living there refer to the region as East Turkestan and argue that it ought to be independent from China. Xinjiang takes up one-sixth of China’s landmass and borders eight countries, including Pakistan, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan.

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