China Jails Muslim Man for 2 Years over Islam WeChat Groups

South China Morning Post
A member of a Muslim minority group has been sentenced to two years in a Chinese prison after forming online discussions groups to teach Islam.

Viewpoint

08.14.17

China is Forcing Uighurs Abroad to Return Home. Why Aren’t More Countries Refusing to Help?

Jessica Batke
The campaign began quietly. Students studying abroad were told to return home. Many did, and their classmates didn’t hear from them afterwards. For those who needed extra incentive to get moving, police detained their families back home. Finally,...

Viewpoint

06.26.17

Why Are So Many Tibetans Moving to Chinese Cities?

Gerald Roche, Ben Hillman & more
China’s Tibetan areas have been troubled by unrest since 2008, when protests swept the plateau, followed by a series of self-immolations which continue to this day. The Chinese state, as part of its arsenal of responses, has intensified urbanization...

The Dark Side of China’s National Renewal

Jamil Anderlini
Financial Times
The race-based ideas of the country’s leaders have unwelcome historical echoes.

China Is Touting Its Protection of Human Rights in a Muslim-Majority Region Riven by Violence

Quartz
China put out a policy paper today on human rights in the Muslim-heavy Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, where the Chinese government has been cracking down extensively in recent years.

Books

05.15.17

A World Trimmed with Fur

Jonathan Schlesinger
In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, booming demand for natural resources transformed China and its frontiers. Historians of China have described this process in stark terms: pristine borderlands became breadbaskets. Yet Manchu and Mongolian archives reveal a different story. Well before homesteaders arrived, wild objects from the far north became part of elite fashion, and unprecedented consumption had exhausted the region’s most precious resources.In A World Trimmed with Fur, Jonathan Schlesinger uses these diverse archives to reveal how Qing rule witnessed not the destruction of unspoiled environments, but their invention. Qing frontiers were never pristine in the nineteenth century—pearlers had stripped riverbeds of mussels, mushroom pickers had uprooted the steppe, and fur-bearing animals had disappeared from the forest. In response, the court turned to “purification”; it registered and arrested poachers, reformed territorial rule, and redefined the boundary between the pristine and the corrupted. Schlesinger’s resulting analysis provides a framework for rethinking the global invention of nature. —Stanford University Press{chop}

The Curious Rise of the ‘White Left’ as a Chinese Internet Insult

chenchen zhang
If you look at any thread about Trump, Islam or immigration on a Chinese social media platform these days, it’s impossible to avoid encountering the term baizuo (白左), or literally, the ‘white left’. It first emerged about two years ago, and yet has...

China Rails against U.S. for Human Rights Violations

Reuters
China lashed out at the United States for its “terrible human rights problems” in a report on Thursday, adding to recent international criticism of Washington on issues ranging from violence inflicted on minorities to U.S. immigration policies.

China is Confiscating the Passports of Citizens in its Muslim-Heavy Region

Echo Huang
Quartz
China is requiring all residents in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region to turn in their passports to help the government “maintain social order”

China Mayor Probed After ‘Minority Women Use Witchcraft to Ensnare Men’ Comments

Neil Connor
Telegraph
A top official apparently veered from a seemingly positive agenda to highlight concerns about the minority, which is known in China for being superstitious

Features

10.21.16

The Separation Between Mosque and State

Alice Y. Su
Driving through the Linxia Hui Autonomous Prefecture in Gansu province, in China’s northwest, minarets puncture the sky every few minutes. Many rise out of mosques that resemble Daoist temples, their details a blend of traditional Chinese and...

China Says Countering Dalai Lama is Top Ethnic Priority in Tibet

Michael Martina
Reuters
Region's Communist Party boss vows to uproot the monk's "separatist and subversive" activities...

Media

07.21.16

More Than 100 Chinese Muslims Have Joined the Islamic State

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian
A July 20 report from New America, a think tank in Washington, DC, examined more than 4,000 registration records of fighters who joined the Islamic State between mid-2013 and mid-2014.

China Pouring Billions Into Majority Tibetan Ganzi Prefecture

Eric Baculinao
NBC News
Beijing aims to spend nearly $30 billion over a five-year period in the majority Tibetan prefecture of Ganzi in western Sichuan province.

In Sichuan Province, an Artisan Retreats to China’s Past

Jonah M. Kessel
New York Times
Hanshan, an ethnic Miao, survives by selling the clothing he dyes to the same people he considers too materialistic.

Postcard

05.05.16

If China Builds It, Will the Arab World Come?

Kyle Haddad-Fonda
In May 2016, the Emirates airline inaugurated its new direct service to the Chinese city of Yinchuan. Yinchuan joins Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou as destinations served by Emirates, meaning that a passenger who boards a plane in Dubai is now...

Media

02.02.16

When Push Comes to Shove—Movies, China, and the World

Jonathan Landreth from China Film Insider
The moviemaking dance the United States is doing with China is picking up pace. The Asian giant’s audience influence is soaring as estimates show that Chinese box office returns could overtake American ticket sales this year or next. Parity in...

Who Are Uighurs? A Look at Group from Restive China Region

Associated Press
A primer on the Uighurs, the repression they face in China and their presence abroad.

Culture

09.11.15

French Director’s Chinese Movie Balances Freedom With Compromise

Jonathan Landreth
In 2012, French movie director Jean-Jacques Annaud got a warm welcome in China after more than a dozen years as persona non grata there for having offended official Chinese Communist Party history with his 1997 film Seven Years in Tibet—the story of...

China’s War Against One American Journalist

Casey Michael
Slate
Shohret Hoshur’s brothers are being disappeared by the Chinese government. Beijing is trying to silence an American reporter by sentencing his brothers to China’s gulag.

Thailand Deports 100 Muslim Uighurs to China

Noppart Chaichalearmmongkol and Te-Ping...
Wall Street Journal
Thailand deported some 100 members of a Turkic Muslim minority group wanted by China as illegal migrants, drawing a rare rebuke from the United Nations and causing protesters in Turkey to storm a Thai consulate. 

China's Military Must Help Xinjiang Modernize

Reuters
Guardian
China’ wants to bring “modern civilisation” to the southern areas of Xinjiang, where Muslim ethnic Uighurs are in a majority, and help develop its economy

Rare Access to China's Restive Far West

Wyatt Massey
CNN
Raphael Fournier's "Around Taklamakan," is a series of photographs from China's Xinjiang province which emphasize cultural tensions and daily life...

Charleston Shooting: A U.S. Expat’s View From Afar

Alyssa Abkowitz
Wall Street Journal
There’s perspective that’s gained by watching the US from afar; it helps expats understand why locals may view America as dangerous.

Civil servants, students, teachers in Xinjiang banned from fasting during Ramadan

Agence France Presse
South China Morning Post
China bans fasting for Ramadan and orders restaurants to stay open in Xinjiang.

Sinica Podcast

05.26.15

Identity, Race, and Civilization

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
It doesn't take much exposure to China to realize the pervasiveness of identity politics here. Indeed, whether in the Chinese government’s occasionally hamfisted efforts to micromanage ethnic minority cultures or the Foreign Ministry’s soft-...

Searching for Identity in China’s Outer Lands

Q. Sakamaki & Dave Gershgorn
New York Times
“ ‘China’s Outer Lands’ is about people instinctively looking for their own identity, between conformity or originality or autonomy or dependence,” Mr. Sakamaki said. “It’s natural, it’s happening in not only China, it’s everywhere.”

China’s One Belt, One Road Initiative

Jacob Stokes
Foreign Affairs
Beijing looks West toward Eurasian integration.

China: What the Uighurs See

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
Xinjiang is one of those remote places whose frequent mention in the international press stymies true understanding. Home to China’s Uighur minority, this vast region of western China is mostly known for being in a state of permanent low-grade...

How China Fuels Myanmar’s Wars

Matthew F. Smith
New York Times
No one should be investing in large-scale development projects in Myanmar’s war zones until durable peace agreements are established.

China Looks West to Bring ‘Wolf Totem’ to Screen

New York Times
French director Jean-Jacques Annaud was reportedly long-banned from China for “his 1997 film "Seven Years in Tibet."...

Media

02.19.15

Why 700 Million People Keep Watching the Chinese New Year Gala, Even Though It’s Terrible

Rachel Lu
The Chinese New Year Gala, which aired live on February 18 on Chinese Central Television (CCTV), is a four-and-half hour variety show with song and dance, comedic skits, magic tricks, acrobatic acts, and celebrity cameos. The show celebrates the...

China: Inventing a Crime

Perry Link from New York Review of Books
In late January, Chinese authorities announced that they are considering formal charges against Pu Zhiqiang, one of China’s most prominent human rights lawyers, who has been in detention since last May. Pu’s friends fear that even a life sentence is...

Xi’s Yunnan Visit Highlights Poverty Elimination, Ethnic Solidarity

Xinhua
Xinhua
President Xi Jinping seeks to rally support for a "tough battle" against poverty and to speed up growth in the country's relatively underdeveloped ethnic regions...

Is China’s Grand Ethnic Experiment Working?

David McKenzie
BBC
In a gleaming classroom at Chong Hua High School in the northern Chinese city of Tianjin, students peer at onion slices under microscopes. Their biology teacher calls on Abdurrahman Mamat to explain what he sees."Plasmolysis," he replies...

Wang Lixiong and Woeser: A Way Out of China’s Ethnic Unrest?

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
Woeser and Wang Lixiong are two of China’s best-known thinkers on the government’s policy toward ethnic minorities. With violence in Tibet and Xinjiang now almost a monthly occurrence, I met them at their apartment in Beijing to talk about the issue...

Beyond the Dalai Lama: An Interview with Woeser and Wang Lixiong

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
In recent months, China has been beset by growing ethnic violence. In Tibet, 125 people have set themselves on fire since the suppression of 2008 protests over the country’s ethnic policies. In the Muslim region of Xinjiang, there have been a series...

State-Appointed Muslim Leader Killed in China

James T. Areddy
Wall Street Journal
Deatils on the death of Jume Tahir, who was killed early on the morning of June 30, are unclear one day later and sentiments among Chinese Muslims are mixed. This is not the first time an imam has been murdered in China.  

China Charges Leading Uighur Professor with Separatism

Andrew Jacobs
New York Times
Although not unexpected, analysts say the decision to criminally prosecute Ilham Tohti is a clear signal that the Communist Party leadership under President Xi Jinping will broach no criticism of its increasingly hard-line ethnic policies.

China Denies Entry to an American Scholar Who Spoke Up for a Uighur Colleague

Edward Wong
New York Times
When Elliot Sperling landed in Beijing, he found himself dragged by border officers back to the same jet that he had flown in on, despite the fact he had arrived with a valid one-year tourist visa.

Media

05.19.14

One Uighur Man’s Journey in Two Cultures

Over the past two months, the relationship between China’s estimated 10 million Uighurs, a Turkic-speaking people, most of whom follow some form of Sunni Islam, and the majority Han population has deteriorated after a series of violent incidents...

After 3/1: The Dangers of China’s Ethnic Divide

Evan Osnos
New Yorker
The pressure posed by ethnic unrest is the biggest story on the Chinese horizon, and that struggle—the pressure from below, and the response it will bring—just moved into the foreground.

China Charges Prominent Uighur Professor with Separatism

Ben Blanchard
Reuters
The government’s case against Ilham Tohti is the latest sign of its hardening stance on dissent in Xinjiang, where unrest in the past year has killed more than 100, including several police, according to state media.

Conversation

02.13.14

Are Ethnic Tensions on the Rise in China?

Enze Han, James Palmer & more
On December 31, President Xi Jinping appeared on CCTV and extended his “New Year’s wishes to Chinese of all ethnic groups.” On January 15, Beijing officials detained Ilham Tohti, a leading Uighur economist and subsequently accused him of “separtist...

China Accuses Uighur Intellectual of Separatism for His Advocacy Work

Andrew Jacobs
New York Times
The news comes at a time of intensifying bloodshed in Xinjiang despite a growing security presence by Chinese personnel. 

Riot in China’s Xinjiang Kills 16, ‘Terror Gang’ Blamed

Ben Blanchard
Reuters
Chinese police shot and killed 14 people during a riot near the old Silk Road city of Kashgar in which two policemen were also killed, the latest unrest in a region that has a substantial Muslim population. 

China’s State Media Calls for Strong Action on Tiananmen Attack

Reuters
Chinese state media demanded severe punishment on October 31 after the government blamed militants from restive Xinjiang for an attack in Tiananmen Square, as the exiled leader of the region’s Uighur minority called for an independent probe.&...

Police Examine Possible Xinjiang Link in Deadly Tiananmen Crash

Andrew Jacobs
New York Times
After the car crash in Tiananmen Square, Chinese authorities have now named two suspects from Xinjiang, the troubled western region whose ethnic Uighur population has become increasingly disenchanted with Chinese policies.  

Media

10.31.13

Tiananmen Attack Spotlights China’s Beleaguered Uighurs

On October 28, a jeep plowed into a group of pedestrians and burst into flames on the avenue next to Tiananmen Square, the massive public square in Beijing that is the symbolic heart of the Chinese capital. According to Chinese state media reports,...

Chinese Police Shoot Dead Seven Uighurs in Kashgar

Qiao Long and Luisetta Mudie
Radio Free Asia
Four died after police in Yarkand county, which is administered by the Silk Road city of Kashgar, opened fire on a group of Uighurs in a private residence on October 3 after suspecting them of “illegal assembly,” the Munich-based World Uyghur...

Uighurs in China Say Bias Is Growing

Andrew Jacobs
New York Times
Discrimination in employment, common across western Xinjian, is one of the many indignities China’s 10 million Uighurs face in a society that increasingly casts them as untrustworthy and prone to religious extremism.  

Uighurs at Xinjiang Mosque Have to Face China Flag When Praying

Massoud Hayoun
Al Jazeera
Prominent Uighur rights advocate Ilham Tohti called the local government’s move an effort to “dilute the religious environment” in the area, where minority Uighurs often complain of ethnic and religious repression. 

Up to 12 Uyghurs Shot Dead in Raid on Xinjiang ‘Munitions Center’

Radio Free Asia
Authorities in China’s restive northwestern region of Xinjiang have shot dead up to a dozen Uyghurs and wounded 20 others in a raid on what they said was a “terrorist” facility, according to local officials and residents. 

Media

09.25.13

The Silk Road of Pop

Nick Holdstock
Most coverage of Xinjiang focuses on the tensions between Han and Uighur in the region, especially since the 2009 Urumqi riots. The Silk Road of Pop, a new documentary about Uighur music directed by Sameer Farooq, is a timely portrait of the rich...

Postcard

09.25.13

The Strangers

James Palmer
In the winter of 2009, I was spending my weekends in the northeast Chinese city of Tangshan, and eating most of my food from the far-western province of Xinjiang. Like many minorities, the Uighur, the native people of Xinjiang, have made their chief...

Sinica Podcast

08.02.13

Shop Talk with Phonemica

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
Feeling crowded out by all the laowai speaking putonghua these days? Fortunately for the more adventurous among us, China has no shortage of other dialects, which is why we are delighted to host the creators of Phonemica, a crowd-sourced project to...

Mixed Signals On China’s Policies in Tibet

Voice of America
Worshipping the Dalai Lama remains illegal in Tibetan areas of China, despite earlier reports of changes in China's policies in Lhasa and in some parts of neighboring Qinghai province.  ...

Unrest In Xinjiang Incites Military Crackdown

Natalie Ornell
China Digital Times
State-run media reported that more than 100 people riding motorcycles, some wielding knives, attacked a police station in remote Hotan on Friday. It follows Wednesday’s clashes elsewhere in Xinjiang which killed 35. At a meeting...