Chinese Crackdown Separates Pakistani Husbands from Uighur Wives

Memphis Barker
Guardian
“Where is Mama?” screams Ahmed’s 10-year-old daughter in a WeChat message he can hardly bear to replay.

Media

03.08.18

Weibo Whack-a-Mole

King-wa Fu, Channing Huang & more from Weiboscope
China might be the world’s second-largest economy, and have more Internet users than any other country, but each year it is ranked as the nation that enjoys the least Internet freedom among the 65 sample nations scored by the U.S.-based Freedom...

A Summer Vacation in China’s Muslim Gulag

Foreign Policy
Foreign Policy
Since announcing a “people’s war on terror” in 2014, the Chinese Communist Party has created an unprecedented network of re-education camps in the autonomous Xinjiang region that are essentially ethnic gulags.

China: Big Data Fuels Crackdown in Minority Region

Human Rights Watch
Human Rights Watch
Chinese authorities are building and deploying a predictive policing program based on big data analysis in Xinjiang, Human Rights Watch said today. The program aggregates data about people – often without their knowledge – and flags those it deems...

Battleground Malaysia: China Extends Crackdown on Uygurs across Borders

James M. Dorsey
South China Morning Post
Malaysia has emerged as the latest battleground pitting Chinese efforts to export its security notions against principles of the rule of law.

Sinica Podcast

02.06.18

China’s Uighur Muslims, Under Pressure at Home and Abroad

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
By traveling not just to China’s Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, where 10 to 15 million Uighurs live, but also to Syria, where some have fled and taken up arms with militant groups, Associated Press reporter Gerry Shih sought to answer the most...

China ‘Holding at Least 120,000 Uighurs in Re-Education Camps’

Tom Phillips
Guardian
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.

AP Exclusive: Anger with China Drives Uighurs to Syria Fight

Associated Press
ABC
Since 2013, thousands of Uighurs, a Turkic-speaking Muslim minority from western China, have traveled to Syria to train with the Uighur militant group Turkistan Islamic Party and fight alongside al-Qaida.

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,...

China Targets Muslim Uighurs Studying Abroad

Emily Feng
Financial Times
China has launched a campaign to repatriate and interrogate Uighurs studying overseas, the latest draconian measure against the Muslim minority.

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}

Syria Says up to 5,000 Chinese Uighurs Fighting in Militant Groups

Ben Blanchard
Reuters
Up to 5,000 ethnic Uighurs from China's violence-prone far western region of Xinjiang are fighting in various militant groups in Syria, the Syrian ambassador to China said on Monday, adding that Beijing should be extremely concerned about it...

Viewpoint

04.06.17

What Do Trump and Xi Share? A Dislike of Muslims

Nury Turkel
During the 1980s, as an idealistic, ambitious Uighur growing up under repressive Chinese conditions in the city of Kashgar, there was one nation to which I pinned my hopes for freedom and democracy. To me, the United States was a symbol of my...

How Trump Could Find Common Ground with China, Thanks to the Islamic State

Adam Taylor
Washington Post
Since the election of Donald Trump, the relationship between Washington and Beijing has appeared strained. Despite diplomatic efforts to bridge the gap, China and the United States are at loggerheads over a variety of issues, including trade and...

‘All-out Offensive’ in Xinjiang Risks Worsening Grievances

Carrie Gracie
BBC
China is in the midst of what it calls a “people's war on terror” in its far west. What sparked this latest campaign was a knife attack...

ISIL Video Threatens China with ‘Rivers of Bloodshed’

Al Jazeera
ISIL fighters from China’s Uighur ethnic minority have vowed to return home and “shed blood like rivers” in what security experts said marked the first such threat against Chinese targets.

Xinjiang Attack: Four 'Terrorists' and One Bystander Killed, Says China

Reuters
Guardian
Assailants shot dead after driving up to regional Communist party headquarters and setting off bomb, according to official media, in flare-up in Uighur region

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”

The Limits of Chinese Isolationism

Alice Su
Atlantic
Can a country doing business all over the world really avoid other peoples' politics?...

China Targets Parents With Religion Rules in Xinjiang

Al Jazeera
Government denies committing abuses and says legal rights of Uighur people are protected as new laws are announced

To Beijing’s Dismay, Jailed Uighur Scholar Wins Human Rights Award

Simon Denyer and Emily Rauhala
Washington Post
A coalition of leading rights groups will bestow their annual award on Ilham Tohti, who is currently serving a life sentence in China

China Military Says It Is Providing Medical Training for Syria

Ben Blanchard
Reuters
China has its own security concerns about violence in the region.

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.

Ilham Tohti, Uighur Scholar Jailed in China, Is Nominated for Rights Award

Nick Cumming-Bruce
New York Times
He was chosen by the Martin Ennals Foundation for trying to promote dialogue in the troubled Xinjiang region of China.

Visa Rejection Flap Shows China Wants Tighter Grip On Muslim Far West

Ralph Jennings
Forbes
Beijing has pressured India into canceling the visas for a pair of independence activists from Xinjiang.

After Shootout, China Says Uighur Militants a Threat to Indonesia

Ben Blanchard
Reuters
Ethnic Uighur militants are increasing their presence in Indonesia, China's Foreign Ministry said after two Uighurs were kill by Indonesia security forces...

China Premier Urges More Efforts in Restive Uighur Heartland

Ben Blanchard
Reuters
China's violence-prone region of Xinjiang needs to make more efforts at development to ensure young people have "something to do and money to earn."...

China Acknowledges Killing 28, Accusing Them of Role in Mine Attack

JAVIER C. HERNÁNDEZ
New York Times
The Chinese authorities had killed 28 people suspected of taking part in an attack on a coal mine in the country’s turbulent western frontier.

Conversation

11.19.15

Is China a Credible Partner in Fighting Terror?

Andrew Small, Chen Weihua & more
In the wake of the terror attacks in Paris China’s foreign minister Wang Yi said, “China is also a victim of terrorism. The fight against the ‘East Turkestan Islamic Movement’… should become an important part of the international fight against...

Islamic State Claim of Hostage Killing Complicates China’s Terror Debate

Emily Rauhala
Washington Post
China vowed "justice" for a Chinese national kidnapped and apparently slain by the Islamic State...

Chinese security forces kill 17 in Xinjiang: Radio Free Asia

Ben Blanchard
Reuters
China has appealed for the international community to provide more help in its campaign against Xinjiang militants following the attacks in Paris.

China to Push Cultural 'Blending' in Xinjiang Stability Push

Megha Rajagopalan and Ben Blanchard
Reuters
China will push the study of Mandarin and the "blending" of different races as part of a new stability push in the troubled far western region of Xinjiang...

In a Region Disturbed by Ethnic Tensions, China Keeps Tight Lid on a Massacre

ANDREW JACOBS
New York Times
Armed with only knives, the assailants struck at the coal mine in the dead of night.

Media

10.02.15

Meet China’s Salman Rushdie

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian
On a warm late afternoon in June, I sat with Perhat Tursun as he slowly exhaled a puff of smoke from a blue cigarette with shiny gold trim. Arrayed on the pale lace tablecloth before us was an assortment of nuts, sunflower seeds, and wine. The...

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.

Suspect in Bangkok Bombing Has Chinese Passport, Thailand Says

Thomas Fuller
New York Times
The bombing was connected to the grievances of Uighurs who say they are oppressed by ethnic Han.

Media

07.21.15

China: The Best and the Worst Place to Be a Muslim Woman

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian
A woman’s solitary voice, earthy and low, rises above the seated worshipers. More than 100 women stand, bow, and touch their foreheads to the floor as a female imam leads evening prayers at a women-only mosque during the first week of Islam’s holy...

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.

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.

Caixin Media

05.19.15

Why Xinjiang’s Economy Is Sputtering

It has been almost one year since a terrorist bombing in Urumqi, the capital of the Xinjiang region, shocked the nation and brought economic woes and social conflicts in the largely Uighur-populated area into the spotlight again.I arrived by train...

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.”

Wild Pigeon

Photos by Carolyn Drake, words by...
Daylight
“The underlying theme I heard when talking to people was that how you interpret things is how they will be, so its best to look at the bright side of things. You don’t mention bad dreams, or you try to interpret them in a positive way. People told...

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...

Viewpoint

02.04.15

Why China Is Banning Islamic Veils

Timothy Grose & James Leibold
This week, regional authorities outlawed Islamic veils from all public spaces in the regional capital of China’s Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR). The Urumqi ban, which went into effect on Sunday February 1 (coincidentally the third annual*...

Features

02.04.15

The City of Urumqi Prohibition on Wearing Items That Mask the Face or Robe the Body

A Proclamation from the Standing Committee of the Urumqi People’s CongressThe “Regulation banning the wearing of items that mask the face or robe the body in public places in the city of Urumqi,” which was passed at the 21st Meeting of the 15th...

Obama’s Anti-Islamic State Push May Be Helping China Crack Down on Its Uighurs

Elias Groll
Foreign Policy
en President Barack Obama in September secured passage of a U.N. Security Council resolution requiring nations to prevent their citizens from traveling abroad to participate in acts of terrorism, it was mostly hailed as a landmark achievement to...

Turks Are Held in Plot to Help Uighurs Leave China

New York Times
Shanghai police arrested 10 Turkish citizens and two Chinese citizens and accused them of providing altered Turkish passports to terrorist suspects from the western region of Xinjiang.

The Colorful Propaganda of Xinjiang

BBC
BBC
The government believes religion breeds terror and has been trying to control religious expression in the region by imposing rules on the Uighur community. Critics say it is exacerbating the terror problem.

China Has Just Banned the Burqa in Its Biggest Muslim City

Quartz
Moves like these are likely to further alienate an already disenchanted minority group—the Uighurs, who feel their culture and economy is being overrun by Han Chinese.

China Sentences 8 to Death for Attacks in Xinjiang

Didi Tang
ABC
The Urumqi Intermediate People's Court in the capital of Xinjiang also handed out suspended death sentences to five others, China Central Television said, without mentioning when the trials were held...

Books

11.12.14

The Sacred Routes of Uyghur History

Rian Thum
For 250 years, the Turkic Muslims of Altishahr—the vast desert region to the northwest of Tibet—have led an uneasy existence under Chinese rule. Today they call themselves Uyghurs, and they have cultivated a sense of history and identity that challenges Beijing’s official national narrative. Rian Thum argues that the roots of this history run deeper than recent conflicts, to a time when manuscripts and pilgrimage dominated understandings of the past. Beyond broadening our knowledge of tensions between the Uyghurs and the Chinese government, this meditation on the very concept of history probes the limits of human interaction with the past.Uyghur historical practice emerged from the circulation of books and people during the Qing Dynasty, when crowds of pilgrims listened to history readings at the tombs of Islamic saints. Over time, amid long journeys and moving rituals, at oasis markets and desert shrines, ordinary readers adapted community-authored manuscripts to their own needs. In the process they created a window into a forgotten Islam, shaped by the veneration of local saints.Partly insulated from the rest of the Islamic world, the Uyghurs constructed a local history that is at once unique and assimilates elements of Semitic, Iranic, Turkic, and Indic traditions—the cultural imports of Silk Road travelers. Through both ethnographic and historical analysis, The Sacred Routes of Uyghur History offers a new understanding of Uyghur historical practices, detailing the remarkable means by which this people reckons with its past and confronts its nationalist aspirations in the present day. —Harvard University Press {chop}

Unrest in China Leaves 22 Dead Following Xinjiang Attack

Lucy Hornby
Financial Times
A new ethnic clash in the restive region of Xinjiang, on China’s central Asian frontier, saw 22 people killed after Uighur assailants attacked Han Chinese merchants at a wholesale food market near the border with Kyrgyzstan. 

China Launches Massive Rural ‘Surveillance’ Project to Watch Over Uighurs

Tom Phillips
Telegraph
They arrived at the fringes of China's modern day empire in early March, setting up base in a family planning center with riot shields, helmets and two sharp 6-foot spears propped up inside the front door...

Chinese Court Sentences Uighur Scholar to Life in Separatism Case

Edward Wong
New York Times
A university professor who has come to symbolize peaceful resistance by ethnic Uighurs to Chinese policies was sentenced to life in prison after being found guilty of separatism in the western region of Xinjiang.

Uighur Scholar Ilham Tohti Sentenced—A Moderate Silenced

Gady Epstein
Economist
Though he has always advocated nonviolence and says he opposes separatism, Mr Tohti appears to be paying a price for a series of episodes of violent unrest involving Uighurs.

‘They Don’t Want Moderate Uighurs’

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
In my series of interviews with Chinese intellectuals, there is an empty chair for Ilham Tohti, the economist and Uighur activist. It’s not that I hadn’t heard of him or hadn’t been in China long enough to have met him before he was arrested earlier...

From China to Jihad?

Richard Bernstein from New York Review of Books
It’s a very long way from China’s arid Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region in the country’s far northwest to its semi-tropical borders with Vietnam, Laos, and Burma in the south, and then it’s another precarious distance from there, down rivers and...