The Xinjiang Class: Education, Integration, and the Uyghurs

Grose, Timothy A. “The Xinjiang class: Education, integration, and the Uyghurs.” Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs 30.1 (2010): 97-109. PDF Link

In 2000, the Chinese Communist Party established the Xinjiang Class (Xinjiang neidi gaozhong ban), a program that funds middle school-aged students from Xinjiang, mostly ethnic Uyghur, to attend school in predominately Han populated cities located throughout eastern China. This paper examines the efficacy of the Xinjiang Class in promoting ethnic unity and Chinese nationalism. By examining the extent to which Uyghur students participating in the Xinjiang Class interact with Han students; speak Chinese outside of the classroom; and by considering if these Uyghur students are returning to Xinjiang, I argue that many Uyghurs are resisting integration, and the Xinjiang Class is largely failing to promote ethnic unity between Han and Uyghurs. Conversely, this program has even strengthened some Uyghur students’ sense of ethnic identity.

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