The Partnership of Stability in Xinjiang: State–Society Interactions Following the July 2009 Unrest

Cliff, T. (2012). The partnership of stability in Xinjiang: state–society interactions following the July 2009 unrest. The China Journal, (68), 79-105. [Link]


Most analyses of central government policy in Xinjiang focus on “the Uyghur problem”.
This article demonstrates the coexistence of a significant “Han problem” in Xinjiang, and
thereby throws a different light on relations between center and periphery in China. Central government reactions to the Ürümqi riots in July 2009 suggest that stability among the Han population of Xinjiang is the center’s primary objective, and that this stability is seen to be facilitated by a particular style of development. Furthermore, state–society interactions in the immediate aftermath of the 2009 riots show that Han in Xinjiang perceive themselves to possess collective—if limited and contingent—influence. This perception is the product of the mass frame through which, I argue, the Han mainstream view their relationship with the central government. I call this mass frame “the partnership of stability”


A pretty interesting article that argues that Chinese policies are put in place to appease the Han rather than deal with an “Uyghur problem”. The conclusion states that:

Most studies of Xinjiang touch on social and political stability in the region, and almost all of them presume that the central government is focused on dealing with “the Uyghur problem”. Liu Yong, for example, criticizes the central government’s response to 7/5 as “an economic band aid”, saying that the measures will not be effective in addressing Uyghur discontent and quelling dissent. I contend that the central state conceives of the problems in a different way. Recent policies in Xinjiang have not focused on winning over the Uyghur population. Rather, the massive injection of funds into Xinjiang and the paired assistance program are intended to make the region attractive to Han and accelerate cultural change in Xinjiang. That means privileging Han people and Han ways of doing things.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: