Viewpoint

04.19.19

‘I Have Revised My Idea of What a Uighur Heroine Should Be’

Zubayra Shamseden
The Chinese government would have you believe a good Uighur woman is one who knows how to apply false eyelashes and cook dumplings. She is neither too modest nor too forward. She is “good at singing and dancing.” Since leaving China, I have spent a...

Culture

03.12.19

‘I Can’t Sleep: Homage to a Uyghur Homeland’

Lisa Ross & Muyi Xiao
In the 2000s, New York-based artist Lisa Ross traveled to the city of Turpan in China’s Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region and photographed local people on the beds that they keep in their fields. The portraits in that series are currently on exhibit...

Depth of Field

02.25.19

Living by the Rivers

Ye Ming, Yan Cong & more from Yuanjin Photo
If the stories in this edition of Depth of Field share a common thread—apart from their distinguished photographic storytelling—it’s their interest in the flux and churn of life in China in 2019, where nothing seems fixed and pressure of constant...

‘Reeducating’ Xinjiang’s Muslims

James A. Millward from New York Review of Books
In a courtroom in Zharkent, Kazakhstan, in July 2018, a former kindergarten principal named Sayragul Sauytbay calmly described what Chinese officials continue to deny: a vast new gulag of “de-extremification training centers” has been created for...

Features

01.08.19

Where Did the One Million Figure for Detentions in Xinjiang’s Camps Come From?

Jessica Batke
As journalists and scholars have reported in recent months on the campaign of religious and cultural repression and incarceration taking place in the Chinese region of Xinjiang, a central question has emerged: How many people has China’s government...

Viewpoint

12.28.18

‘Now We Don’t Talk Anymore’

Joanne Smith Finley
In an old Silk Road oasis town on China’s western border, these days a thirsty traveller can knock back a cold beer in a local mosque. The former place of worship is now a bar for tourists. And it is with the customers’ views in mind—and, perhaps,...

Features

11.28.18

Beijing’s Long Struggle to Control Xinjiang’s Mineral Wealth

Judd C. Kinzley
The Silk Road Economic Belt—the overland component of Xi Jinping’s signature Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)—promises to bind China to Central Asia and beyond through a new infrastructural network. Connecting through China’s far western Xinjiang...

The Uighurs and China’s Long History of Trouble with Islam

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
Last month, I spent several days at the Forbidden City, the gargantuan palace in the middle of Beijing where China’s emperors ruled the land for nearly five hundred years. I was there to attend a conference on religion and power in imperial China,...

Conversation

11.20.18

Has the World Lost Sight of Tibet?

Gerald Roche, Lhadon Tethong & more
Since the incarceration of roughly a million Uighurs in the northwestern Chinese region of Xinjiang over the last year, the situation in Tibet has gotten relatively less coverage in Western media. What is the current situation for human rights,...

Media

11.06.18

ChinaFile Presents: The Situation in Xinjiang

ChinaFile and the U.S.-Asia Law Institute of NYU School of Law co-hosted a discussion with historian Rian Thum and journalists Gulchehra Hoja of Radio Free Asia and James Palmer of Foreign Policy on the human rights crisis in the far-western region...

Postcard

10.24.18

China’s Government Has Ordered a Million Citizens to Occupy Uighur Homes. Here’s What They Think They’re Doing.

Darren Byler
The village children spotted the outsiders quickly. They heard their attempted greetings in the local language, saw the gleaming Chinese flags and round face of Mao Zedong pinned to their chests, and knew just how to respond. “I love China,” the...

Features

10.02.18

Here Are the Fortune 500 Companies Doing Business in Xinjiang

News reports from the western Chinese region of Xinjiang have described alarming, widespread, and worsening violations of the human rights of its predominantly Muslim, ethnically Turkic inhabitants, primarily the region’s approximately 11 million...

Other

09.21.18

Reporting from Xinjiang

On September 20, 2018, ChinaFile and the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) co-hosted a discussion with BuzzFeed reporter Megha Rajagopalan on her reporting on state-sponsored ethnic and religious repression in Xinjiang and, in particular, on...

Features

08.23.18

What Satellite Images Can Show Us about ‘Re-education’ Camps in Xinjiang

Jessica Batke
Claims that “re-education” camps are merely vocational training centers seem even less credible after one looks at the work of Shawn Zhang. A law student focusing on jurisprudence at the University of British Columbia in Canada, in May Zhang began...

‘We’re a People Destroyed’: Why Uighur Muslims across China Are Living in Fear

Gene A. Bunin
Guardian
Gene A Bunin has spent the past 18 months talking to Uighur restaurant workers all over China. These conversations reveal how this Muslim minority feel the daily threat of arrest, detention and ‘re-education’

Kazakh Trial Throws Spotlight on China’s Internment Centres

Emily Feng
Financial Times
The trial of a Chinese citizen who fled to Kazakhstan has offered rare insight into China’s secretive internment system, with Beijing’s security campaign in the western region of Xinjiang increasingly putting neighbouring countries in central Asia...

One in Five Arrests Take Place in ‘Police State’ Xinjiang

Lily Kuo
Guardian
Analysing publicly available government data, the advocacy group Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD), found 21% of all arrests in China in 2017 were in Xinjiang

Conversation

06.04.18

How Should the World Respond to Intensifying Repression in Xinjiang?

Rian Thum, Rachel Harris & more
Deliberate, systematic human rights abuses are happening in China’s northwest. Reporting and research published in recent weeks shows that the Chinese government is targeting the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region’s roughly 11 million Muslims for “re...

What Really Happens in China’s ‘Re-education’ Camps

Rian Thum
New York Times
New study provides a glimpse into the vast scale of Uighurs detention network.

Chinese Uyghurs Forced to Welcome Communist Party into Their Homes

Steven Jiang
CNN
Over a million Chinese Communist officials are being dispatched to live with local families in Xinjiang. 

Features

05.11.18

Central and Regional Leadership for Xinjiang Policy in Xi’s Second Term

Jessica Batke from China Leadership Monitor
After the 19th Party Congress last fall and the recent “two meetings” in March, the Party-state has now completed its quinquennial leadership turnover and announced a major restructuring of a number of Party and state entities. This institutional...

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.

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...

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.

China: Minority Region Collects DNA from Millions

Human Rights Watch
Chinese authorities in Xinjiang are collecting DNA samples, fingerprints, iris scans, and blood types of all residents in the region between the age of 12 and 65, Human Rights Watch said today. This campaign significantly expands authorities’...

China's New Campaign to Instill Official Historical Narrative in Xinjiang

Nectar Gan
South China Morning Post
Yu Zhengsheng, the party’s fourth-ranking official who is in charge of religion and ethnic minorities, presided at a high-level meeting in Beijing this week to address “several historical issues” regarding the restive region, Xinhua reported.

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,...

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}

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...

‘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.

China Orders GPS Tracking of Every Car in Troubled Region

Tom Phillips
Guardian
Security officials in China’s violence-stricken north-west have ordered residents to install GPS tracking devices in their vehicles so authorities are able to keep permanent tabs on their movements 

Sinica Podcast

01.19.17

The State of Journalism in China—Ed Wong’s Exit Interview

Jeremy Goldkorn, Kaiser Kuo & more from Sinica Podcast
Edward Wong became a reporter for The New York Times in 1999. He covered the Iraq war from Baghdad from 2003 to 2007, and then moved to Beijing in 2008. He has written about a wide range of subjects in China for the Times, and became its Beijing...

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”

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

Xinjiang Residents Must Submit DNA Samples For Passports, Local Officials Say

ABC
Members of predominantly Muslim Uighur community are denied passport renewals and face discrimination, just in time for Ramadan....

Depth of Field

04.29.16

April’s Best Chinese Photojournalism

Yan Cong, Ye Ming & more from Yuanjin Photo
Over the past few weeks, the publications Sina, Tencent, Caixin, China Youth Daily, and the publishing duo Sixth Tone/The Paper published photo stories on the intimate, the industrial, the private, and the political. Journalists Yan Cong and Ye Ming...

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.

Environment

03.29.16

Xinjiang Ban on Glacier Tourism Ignores the Bigger Problem

from chinadialogue
The Xinjiang government has banned tourists from glaciers under the 13th Five-Year Plan in order to try and save the far northwestern province’s fast-disappearing ice caps. Home to China’s largest glaciers, the Xinjiang province has seen its...

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."...

Manchu, Former Empire's Language, Hangs On at China's Edge

New York Times
Descendants of the settlers struggle to keep a nearly vanished tongue alive

Viewpoint

12.30.15

No, Pu Zhiqiang’s Release Is Not A Victory

Hu Yong
Pu Zhiqiang is a well-known Chinese human rights lawyer and outspoken intellectual who has taken on many precedent-setting cases defending freedom and protecting civil liberties. But his outstanding contributions in the judicial realm and his...

Another Journalist's Effective Expulsion From China

Tajha Chappellet-Lanier
Atlantic
A French journalist has managed to incite “the outrage of the Chinese people” with an article on Beijing’s relationship with Uighurs.

Can Beijing Sell Silk Road as a Marshall Plan Against Terror?

ANDREW BROWNE
Wall Street Journal
China needs West’s buy-in on stabilizing effects of its Silk Road project.

Q. and A.: Christina Lin on China’s Antiterrorism Efforts

JAVIER C. HERNÁNDEZ
New York Times
Chinese leaders have long been wary of joining global efforts against terrorism.

China Cuts Mobile Service of Xinjiang Residents Evading Internet Filters

Paul Mozur
New York Times
The Chinese government is shutting down the mobile service of residents in Xinjiang.

China Shuts Down Service For Some Phones With Foreign Messaging Apps

Colin Lecher
Verge
As mobile users try to evade censorship in China through software, the government appears to be trying a new technique to head off such attempts.

China's Own 'Double Standard' on Terrorism

David Volodzko
Diplomat
China continues to lump terrorist groups and peaceful activists together — and to censor media coverage of both.

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.