Academic

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

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

Abstract:

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.

The development of minority education and the practice of bilingual education in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region

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Rong, M. A. (2009). The development of minority education and the practice of bilingual education in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Frontiers of Education in China4(2), 188-251. Link

Abstract:

The Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region is an area of great importance for the ethnic minorities of northwestern China, and the development of local minority education has been a constant concern in both government and academic spheres. By means of analyzing government documents, statistical data and research literature, this article attempts to define the fundamental modes and development processes of minority education in Xinjiang. Furthermore, the article elaborates on discussion of the development and problems relevant to bilingual education in the concentrated Uyghur communities of southern Xinjiang based on the author’s field research in the Kashgar Prefecture in 2007.

 

I think this paper is saying that bilingual education is necessary – Uyghurs should learn Mandarin and English, and Han living in the southern regions should learn Uyghur – so everyone can become educated, learn to communicate, and advance as a society. It also states that the government should provide schooling in the language the student wants to learn in, and says the Chinese government allows minorities to learn and speak their native languages. This was written in 2009, so considering how “bilingual” education is slowly becoming a monolingual, Mandarin education (with the exception of having Uyghur language classes in Uyghur) this was probably an overly optimistic view from eight years ago. Oh well.

An elephant in the planning room: Political demography and its influence on sustainable land-use planning in drylands

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Orenstein, D. E., Jiang, L., & Hamburg, S. P. (2011). An elephant in the planning room: Political demography and its influence on sustainable land-use planning in drylands. Journal of Arid Environments75(6), 596-611. Link

Abstract:
Two distinct, conflicting, land-use planning paradigms affect drylands: one seeking environmentally sustainable outcomes and one addressing political-demographic concerns. The environmental paradigm is relatively new and is couched in the lexicon of sustainable development, combating desertification and biodiversity conservation. These concerns proscribe planning principles that allow for human settlement in drylands while minimizing its environmental impact. The latter paradigm has a longer history, born in central governments’ desire to secure sovereignty over outlying regions. These concerns result in planning goals that conflict with environmental goals. The environmental paradigm encourages compact development and efficient land-use, while the political-demographic one encourages in-migration of ‘friendly’ populations and the establishment of a physical presence on a maximum amount of land. Using Israel’s Negev Desert and China’s Xinjiang region as case studies, we suggest that successful implementation of sustainable dryland management depends on recognizing the challenge presented by political-demographic planning motivations. As such, successful implementation of environmental planning requires resolution of existing political conflicts. Since drylands are characteristically geographic and demographic frontiers, they are ideal settings in which to study the conflict between environmental and political-demographic goals and they provide an opportunity to better understand how this conflict creates a barrier to sustainable development.

 

This paper… was a little confusing…

No Rights without Duties: Minzu Pingdeng Nationality Equality in Xinjiang since the 1997 Ghulja disturbances

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Finley, J. S. (2011). ‘No Rights without Duties’: Minzu Pingdeng [Nationality Equality] in Xinjiang since the 1997 Ghulja disturbances. Inner Asia, 73-96. Link

Abstract:

This article analyses the handling of the Ürümchi riots of 2009, and of the Shaoguan incident which provoked them, from the perspective of ethnic inequality and discrimination. The core argument posits that, in the eyes of the state and many of its Han subjects, pre-1997 dreams of Xinjiang independence represented a precocious attempt to break away from the state patron. As articulated in the PRC constitution and policy documents, the provision of nationality equality in contemporary China is contingent upon the duty to defend the nation-state; with this duty once abandoned, those rights are forfeited. I show how riot targets reflected Uyghur perceptions of increased socio-economic marginalisation since the 1997 Ghulja disturbances, a period characterised by state crackdowns and reduced civil rights. Finally, the article explores the ways in which Chinese leaders have begun, since late 2010, to address the socioeconomic and linguistic-cultural roots of the conflict. In conclusion, I note that long-term peace in the region depends upon effective implementation of existing policies and the authentic devolution of policy-making power to local Uyghur (and other minority nationality) officials and scholars.

 

Locally modern, globally Uyghur: geography, identity and consumer culture in contemporary Xinjiang

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Erkin, A. (2009). Locally modern, globally Uyghur: geography, identity and consumer culture in contemporary Xinjiang. Central Asian Survey28(4), 417-428. Link

Abstract:

Much scholarship and commentary has raised concerns about the fate of traditional Uyghur culture in the context of development and globalization in the twenty-first century, some even predicting its disappearance through assimilation to mainstream majority Han culture. However, by exploring the modern Uyghur culture of consumption – in foodstuffs, entertainment and real estate – this paper shows an opposite phenomenon: the transformation of the traditional Uyghur culture to a distinct cultural, religious and linguistic popular contemporary Uyghur culture that thrives and expands with the aid of globalization and development.

 

This one is actually written by an Uyghur person! An Uyghur woman! Hoorah for Uyghurs (and girls) in academia! The paper itself is pretty interesting and not as depressing or bleak as other papers I have read. A breath of fresh air, if you will.

The political salience of language and religion: patterns of ethnic mobilization among Uyghurs in Xinjiang and Sikhs in Punjab

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Reny, M. E. (2009). The political salience of language and religion: patterns of ethnic mobilization among Uyghurs in Xinjiang and Sikhs in Punjab. Ethnic and racial studies32(3), 490-521. Link

Abstract

This article examines the reasons why the politicization of language has not been translated into disruptive forms of ethnic mobilization as opposed to the political salience of religion among the Uyghurs in Xinjiang throughout the 1990s and the Sikhs before and after the creation of Punjab in 1966. The article argues, from a structural-rationalist perspective, that language-based claims in Xinjiang and in Punjab have been accommodated by the respective central governments to a larger extent than religious claims have. Accommodation has taken the form of particular policies as well as greater incorporation of minority elites on the basis of language, which have in turn significantly reduced the possibilities of anti-regime sentiments and the incentives for disruptive forms of pressure on the basis of linguistic claims among the minority group. Religious claims have, however, not been accommodated in a similar way.

Boundaries, Discrimination, and Interethnic Conflict in Xinjiang, China

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Han, E. (2010). Boundaries, discrimination, and interethnic conflict in Xinjiang, China. International Journal of Conflict and Violence4(2), 245. Link

Abstract

The Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region has been afflicted by Uighur political activism and ethnic violence for the past few decades. Interethnic relations between the Uighurs and Han Chinese have been extremely tense. Why is Xinjiang so vulnerable to interethnic violence? Why are intergroup dynamics between the Uighurs and Han Chinese so volatile? This paper examines Uighur-Han Chinese relations in contemporary Xinjiang and probes conditions that facilitate interethnic violence. Utilizing Fredrik Barth’s approach to ethnicity that emphasizes boundaries, this paper examines in detail how the rigid interethnic boundary between the Uighurs and Han Chinese has been constructed and strengthened in Xinjiang. Perceived differences have generated mutual distrust and discrimination between the two groups that make intergroup communication and understanding difficult and therefore very limited. In situations such as that in Xinjiang, where a rigid intergroup boundary is in place and civic engagements across groups are lacking, intergroup conflict is extremely hard to avoid.

This paper does suggest some way to mitigate the interethnic conflict:

Setting aside dramatic measures such as partition or secession, one logical policy recommendation for preventing or reducing the chances for future violence in Xinjiang would be to encourage mutual communication and civic engagement.10 In addition, the Chinese government needs to rethink its current policies in Xinjiang to show more respect for Uighur culture, language, and religion, and to provide more space for cultural expressions. The government also needs to take legal action to prevent blatant discrimination against Uighurs, especially in the job market. Most importantly, as our discussion of the implications of rigid group boundaries shows, serious efforts should be made to foster civic engagement across group lines at the meso level. NGOs that aim to facilitate dialogue between the Uighur and Han Chinese communities should be encouraged. In particular, civic associations that include members from both groups should be promoted (Varshney 2002, 292). Currently, most efforts from the international community are aimed at support of Uighurs’ political and cultural rights in Xinjiang. These are certainly noble goals. However, if the international community has genuine humanitarian concern about preventing the future eruption of violence, it needs to invest in a civil society in Xinjiang that includes both Uighurs and Han Chinese. Educational programs that facilitate dialogue and reconciliation across group lines should be emphasized. Moderate people from each group should be identified and encouraged, with an emphasis on how to build more cross-cutting cleavages between the two groups. These are certainly no easy tasks to achieve, as the authoritarian state of China puts more constraints on the development of such civic life. However the Chinese state as well as the international community must realize that only through efforts to foster mutual communication and engagements across these two groups will peace and stability be achieved in Xinjiang.

…which, again, relies on huge changes from the Chinese government. The paper was written in 2010 so I suppose the author could not have known the Chinese government would only ramp up the authoritatian-ness and imprison every moderate they can. I cannot seem to find any recent papers suggesting what human rights groups should do about China.