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Ethnic Conflict in Xinjiang

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Michael Potters

on 5 April 2011

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Transcript of Ethnic Conflict in Xinjiang

Uyghers of Xinjiang, China Purpose: Apply Brown's theory of 'Underlying and Proximate Causes' of ethnic conflict to explain the escalation of violence in Xinjiang since the early 1990's. Outline: II. Underlying Causes of Conflict
• Ethnic Geography
• Economic Deprivation
• Political Deprivation III. Proximate Causes of Conflict
• Collapse of Soviet Union
• "Go West" Economic Plan
• Global War on Terror IV. Questions 1. Who are the Uyghers of Xinjiang? Assigned Readings:

Taming China's "Wild West": Ethnic Conflict in Xinjiang

-Matthew Moneyhon

The Problematic Progress of 'Integration' in the Chinese State's Approach to Xinjiang, 1759-2005

-Michael Clarke • Xinjiang Uygher Autonomous Region (XUAR)

• Contains some of the world's largest oil reserves. Nuclear test site.
Gateway to trade with greater Asia.

• Once called the "pivot of Asia" Also home to Uygher ethnic group. Brief History Xinjiang • Chinese dominance waxed and waned for centuries

• 1949, People's Liberation Army (PLA) marches into Xinjiang to establish control for Communist central authority

• Since then, Chinese policy towards the Uyghers has undergone several major transformations, but maintained strong control.

• Goals of quelling unrest, moving the Uyghers towards assimilation, and ensuring continued control over the region have always guided decision making Placate, Integrate, Assimilate. Escalation of violence within the last two decades between
Uyghers and Han Chinese authorities The Chinese central government has recently recognized Xinjiang as the number one internal threat to Chinese national security, stability and the overall unity of the State Why has there been an escalation of violence? Underlying Factors:

• "Countries with groups distributed along regional lines are more likely to face secessionist demands" (Brown 16)

• Background:

• In 1955, Chinese Communist Party recognizes Uyghers as an official ethnic minority and creates XUAR. Promises of racial harmony, political autonomy, self determination.

• Population - 4.5 million - 90 percent ethnically "non-Han." (75 percent Uygher) However ... Soon after autonomy was granted Chinese authorities launched a massive program of Han resettlement, dramatically increasing the Han population • 2002 - 50 percent Han Chinese. 95% Han in capital

• Uyghers are increasingly concerned about becoming a minority in their own autonomous region Which brings us to the second underlying factor...

•Described as 'Trojan Horse' by Moneyhon

•Beijing tempts Uyghers' with the prospect of economic prosperity while using development projects as a vehicle for Han in-migration ␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣The Uyghers are socially and economically descriminated against (Jobs, etc.)

According to quality of life indicators, ␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣ ␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣such as education, employment, life expectancy, Uyghers lag far behind Han Chinese counterparts III. Political Deprivation ␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣ ␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣␣ "In addition to the Uygher's economic deprivation, they also suffer the indignity of lacking any political control in their own autonomous region" (Moneyhon 12) •Autonomy agreement is more likened to a system of "fake autonomy," or "paper autonomy"
•XUAR is overwhelming dominated by Han Chinese
• Uyghers have little voice in day-to-day decision making, and even less in long-term decision making Proximate Causes I. Collapse of Soviet Union "Proximate causes are the catalytic factors that transform potentially violent situations into deadly conflicts" (578). II. Economic Deprivation I. Ethnic Geography The collapse of the Soviet Union stimulated both a swell of Uyghur pride and new hope that the independence of the former Soviet Republics in Central Asia would spill over into China

• Marked a fundamental shift in the way Uyghers' viewed themselves.

•Violence escalated II. "Strike Hard Campaign" •Anti-crime campaign launched in 1996 in response to violence

•Rather than stemming the growing tide of Uygher separatism, the campaign actually incited separatists, increasing anti-government protests and violence to levels unprecedented since the Communists took control of the region in 1949

•Bus bombings, pipe bombings, Yining incident, killing of Han government officials III. Global War on Terror •In wake of September 11th, "Strike Hard campaign has intensified

•Launched at "seperatists, religious extremists, and terrorists."

• For many Uyghers, these campaigns represent an attempt by Han authorities to effectively obliterate Uyghur culture Summary:

Underlying causes include ethnic geography, economic deprivation, political deprivation
- Han in-migration, "Go West" economic program, political situation

Proximate causes include collapse of soviet union, "strike hard" campaign, global war on terror Overall, I have highlighted China's general policy towards the Uyghers of Xinjiang: quell unrest, move wards assimilation, and ensure continued control over the region. This policy orientation can be described as placate, integrate, and assimilate Question:

1. Compare and contrast Tibet and Xinjiang. How do these two situations differ? 3:02 Year 2002 2009
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