原版文章由David Brophy撰写,于2019年1月4日在《Socialist Worker》上发表。中文版于匿名者翻译。

新疆的穆斯林少数民族正在面对前所未有的压迫。《维吾尔民族:俄中边疆的改革与革命》一书的作者大卫‧布罗菲(David Brophy)在一篇发表在《21世纪的革命社会主义》网站的文章中提到,左翼应该设法直接为受压迫的少数民族提供声援,而非指望美国政府有所作为。

Muslim minorities in Xinjiang are facing unprecedented repression. In an article written for revolutionary socialism in the 21st century, David Brophy, author of Uyghur Nation: Reform and Revolution on the Russia-China Frontier, argues that the left should offer solidarity to repressed minorities without having hopes that the U.S. will be an ally.

在过去的18 个多月中,中国西北的新疆少数民族一直生活在前所未有的镇压之下。这次镇压最极端的一部分是所谓的“再教育和培训中心”——一个横跨整个地区的集中营网络。其中有数十万到数百万穆斯林少数民族被无限期拘禁。绝大部分受害者是维吾尔族人,他们是新疆最主要的少数民族。但这次扫荡也波及到哈萨克族和吉尔吉斯族人,他们也和维吾尔族人一样信伊斯兰教。

FOR SOME 18 months now, ethnic minorities in the region of Xinjiang in northwest China have been living through unprecedented wave of repression. The most extreme element of this crackdown is a network of camps across the region, designated “re-education and training centers,” where anywhere from a few hundred thousand to upward of a million Muslim minorities have been indefinitely interned. Most victims are Uyghurs — the main non-Chinese ethnic group of the region, but the sweep has also caught Kazakhs and Kirghiz, who, like the Uyghurs, practice Islam.

这次政策的一个显著特点是同时针对中共官方体系之内以及之外的人。一方面,许多普通的维吾尔族人仅仅是因为与中国境外的家人和亲属联系,或表现出宗教信仰的行为 --例如留长胡子或戴头纱就被拘禁。与此同时,中共也在清洗持有重要岗位的少数民族精英。目的是为了根除被认为在执行党指令方面不够诚恳的“两面派”。这种传统的斯大林式大清洗已经席卷了党内干部、知识分子、编辑和大学行政人员。

A striking feature of this campaign is that it is targeting people both inside and outside the official party-state system at the same time. On the one hand, many ordinary Uyghurs have been interned simply for maintaining contact with family members and relatives outside China, or for displaying signs of religious piety — growing a beard, for example, or donning a veil. But alongside this wide dragnet, the party is simultaneously conducting a purge of ethnic minority elites in positions of responsibility. This has the goal of rooting out “two-faced” people, deemed to be insufficiently sincere in their implementation of party directives. This more traditional Stalinist-style purge has swept up party cadres, intellectuals, editors and university administrators.

由于少有被拘留者被释放,我们对难民营内的情况所知甚少,但从各方面来看,营内日常充斥着极其枯燥的政治思想灌输 (洗脑?)。一部分人已在拘禁中去世。然而在营地外的生活并没有好多少。新疆各城镇的每个主要路口都涌现出新建立的警察局。新设立的检查站控制大部分道路的交通流量。民众的日常生活被新的仪式占据,例如表达对党的忠诚的升旗和宣誓仪式。在每天的反恐演习中,商店店主们用棍棒打击假象的入侵者。 监视清真寺出勤情况的安全摄像头覆盖了祈祷厅的每个角落。

With few detainees coming out, we have little detail on the regimen inside the camps, but by all accounts, mind-numbing routines of political indoctrination feature prominently. Some have died while interned. And life outside the camps is not much better. New police stations have sprung up on every major intersection in Xinjiang’s cities and towns. Checkpoints control the flow of traffic along most roads. New loyalty rituals, such as flag-raising and oath-taking ceremonies, structure communal life. In daily anti-terror drills, shopkeepers combat imaginary assailants with sticks and clubs. Mosque attendance is monitored, and security cameras cover every angle of the prayer hall.


Those familiar with the domestic “war on terror” in Europe or the U.S. will recognize some similar principles at work in China’s “war on terror”: the Islamophobic notion, for example, that people who exhibit religious piety are more likely to endorse, or engage in, terrorist violence. But because of the longstanding, and unresolved, imperial legacy in Xinjiang, there are elements of the campaign that more closely resemble the “war on terror” as it is waged internationally. The use of biometric identification and mass surveillance, for example, call to mind U.S. counterinsurgency tactics in Iraq and Afghanistan. A streetscape of concrete blast walls and barbed wire and public displays of military hardware and troop drills all add to the sense that Xinjiang is a place at war with itself.

Islam and Counterterrorism in China


The question of why China is adopting these policies at this point in time is a difficult one. We still have no insight into the deliberations that preceded this turn, though we can assume that Xinjiang officials see themselves engaged on a historic mission to secure China’s northwest frontier once and for all. The party has lost patience with a more hands-off, gradualist approach to integrate and assimilate the region, which has been tied to Beijing — with brief interludes of independence — since the mid-18th century. With China now turning outwards and championing the economic integration of the Eurasian continent, the lack of political and cultural homogeneity has become a liability.

中华人民共和国历史上,新疆问题一直以来被归咎于“民族分裂主义”,也就是维吾尔族民族主义,维吾尔族宗教生活被如此大规模污名化此前并无先例。表面上中共此举是对恐怖主义和宗教极端主义的回应,中国媒体称这一系列政策目的是“将恐怖分子变为正常人“。但严格来说,恐怖主义在中国极少发生。过去几年曾发生过针对普通中国公民的暴力事件 ,例如,2014年,昆明火车站的持刀砍杀民众事件;同年在乌鲁木齐,两辆载有爆炸物的汽车冲撞人群。 但中国政府所谓的“恐怖主义”事件大部分都是袭击者与公安部队之间的小规模交火。总体来说,新疆社会军事化程度非常低,中国领土上并没有活跃的反对组织。

For much of Xinjiang’s history as part of the People’s Republic of China, the bogeyman has been “ethnic separatism,” i.e. Uyghur nationalism, and the stigmatization of Uyghur religious life on this scale has no precedent. Ostensibly a response to terrorism and religious extremism, the Chinese media has described the objective as “turning terrorists into normal people.” But terrorism, strictly speaking, is an infrequent occurrence in China. There have been incidents of violence against ordinary Chinese citizens — 2014 saw a knife attack at a train station in Kunming, and a car with explosives driven into a crowd in Ürümchi. But much of what China describes as terrorism consists of small-scale firefights with security forces. On the whole, Xinjiang society is highly demilitarized, and there are no known opposition organizations active on Chinese soil.


China’s use of terrorism to justify its policies rests on the claim that “outside forces” threaten the peace and prosperity in Xinjiang. In 2001, the U.S. listed as a terrorist organization the East Turkistan Islamic Movement, and China felt vindicated when a handful of Uyghurs from Afghanistan ended up prisoners in Guantánamo Bay. But without denying their existence, any such militant organizations have tended to be small, fractious and short-lived, and incapable of mounting a challenge to China. The same can be said for those Uyghurs who more recently made their way to the Middle East. Along routes which remain obscure, a few thousand Uyghurs ended up fighting with either ISIS in Iraq, or jihadist rebels in Syria.

在过去的十年中,中国对伊斯兰教的管控从对“非法宗教活动”被动的、定期性的镇压转变为一种旨在先发制人,鉴别出激进主义迹象,并对之主动进行干预的思维模式。这种模式定型之后,即使没有任何激进主义迹象的人也不足以自保 --他们还必须积极地、公开地杜绝这些(与伊斯兰教相关的)行为。如果有人递给你一支烟(《古兰经》规定信奉者不能近烟酒),最好自保的方法是接过来。为了避免监察,餐厅需要开始售卖酒。当得知“极端思想”不鼓励穆斯林跳舞,党组织就安排了本地的伊玛目(穆斯林教长称号)当众跳舞。这种反复地用“反着来”的手段来清除不良倾向的逻辑已在集中营的再教育项目中成为常态。

China’s policing of Islam has evolved in the last decade from reactive, periodic crackdowns on “illegal religious activities” to a mindset that seeks to pre-emptively identifying signs of radicalization and intervene. As this took hold, it soon wasn’t simply enough to not display the signs of radicalization — one had to actively and publicly disavow such behavioral indicators. If you were offered a cigarette, the safe thing to do was to take it. Restaurants would have to sell alcohol to avoid scrutiny. Once it became known that “extremists” were encouraging Muslims not to dance, the party organized for village imams to dance in public. The idea that undesirable dispositions can be eradicated by repeatedly doing the opposite now finds its logical conclusion in the re-education drills occurring in Xinjiang’s internment camps.

What Can Be Done?


News about camps began to filter out to the international media late in 2017, generating immediate alarm. The first official efforts to seek a response from Beijing came at the United Nation’s Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in August, where the Chinese delegation denied the existence of the camps. Evidently conscious of their extrajudicial nature, in October, Xinjiang authorities gave the camps a firmer legal basis by enacting legislation allowing for the detention of citizens to combat religious extremism. With that in place, the Chinese media — or at least the section of it that engages an international audience — took a more combative stance towards Western criticisms. The Global Times has justified the camps as vocational training institutions — 21st century workhouses that will prepare ethnic minorities to take advantage of China’s economic boom.


At China’s annual review at the UN Human Rights Committee in November, some member states voiced criticisms of China’s policies. Following this, diplomatic envoys from 15 countries wrote a letter to the Xinjiang party secretary Chen Quanguo, requesting a meeting to discuss the internment camps. This prompted a predictably sharp rebuke from China’s foreign minister, who accused these countries of violating diplomatic protocol and meddling in China’s internal affairs.

除联合国机构外,维吾尔族侨民的大部分游说活动都集中在华盛顿,他们试图将新疆问题纳入特朗普与习近平的贸易战对谈中。由共和党官员马可·卢比奥(Marco Rubio)和克里斯·史密斯(Chris Smith)任主席的美国国会及行政部门中国问题委员会就此问题举行了一系列听证会,并产生了一项新的立法,即《维吾尔人权政策法》。

Apart from UN bodies, much of the Uyghur diaspora’s lobbying efforts have centered on Washington, seeking to insert the Xinjiang question into Donald Trump’s trade war confrontation with Xi Jinping. The Congressional Executive Committee on China, chaired by Republicans Marco Rubio and Chris Smith, has held a series of hearings on the issue, which led to the introduction of a new piece of legislation, the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act.

《维吾尔人权政策法案》包含一系列条款,其中一些条款以先前国会就西藏问题的决议作为蓝本。例如,此法案设立了美国针对新疆的特别协调员,类似于自2002年以来设立的西藏特别协调员。法案还提倡采用《全球马格尼茨基人权问责法》制裁对镇压维吾尔族承担重大责任的个人:党委书记陈全国在这个名单上名列前茅。 该法案还讨论了通过《自由亚洲电台》将维吾尔语广播传入中国。

The Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act contains a range of provisions, some of them modeled on previous congressional resolutions on Tibet. It stipulates, for example, the creation of a U.S. Special Coordinator for Xinjiang, akin to the Special Coordinator for Tibet, which has existed since 2002. It calls for the application of the Global Magnitsky Act, which will sanction individuals deemed personally responsible for the repression of the Uyghurs: top of the list is be party secretary Chen Quanguo. The act also floats the idea of increased support for Uyghur-language broadcasting into China via Radio Free Asia.

由于缺乏其他替代方案,我们很难指责维吾尔族人希望通过美国政府向中国施加压力的想法。然而这个策略的收益令人存疑,并且可能伴随相当大的风险。首先,这些措施可能完全无效。 中国政府已经承诺会对任何马格尼茨基人权法的制裁做出回应,也能很容易地给出一份涉嫌侵犯人权的美国官员名单。将新疆问题纳入中美贸易谈判中,将使其成为特朗普总统用来讨价还价的筹码,他很可能最后悔为了美国经济和安全牺牲新疆问题。 西藏就是一度被重视,如今却被忽视的最佳案例:西藏特别协调员已经空缺了将近两年。

In the absence of any alternative, it is hard to fault Uyghurs for pinning their hopes on generating pressure on China via the U.S. But this strategy carries questionable benefits and considerable risks for the Uyghur cause. To begin with, the measures will likely be ineffectual. China has pledged to reciprocate on any Magnitsky sanctions, and will have no difficulty coming up with a comparable list of American officials implicated in human rights abuses. Inserting the Xinjiang issue into U.S.-China trade negotiations will make it a bargaining chip that Trump could very well end up sacrificing for the sake of economic and security goals deemed more important. Tibet itself presents a salutary example of a once hot-button issue now neglected: the role of Special Coordinator for Tibet has been vacant for almost two years.

其次,与任何游说活动一样,争取与美国结盟美国意味着(新疆)支持者需要减少或直接停止对美国的批评,然而这些批评本应是国际社会对中国回应的一部分。在中国境外能最有效帮助维吾尔族人的手段之一是反抗“反恐战争”— —全球反伊斯兰情绪的主要源头。只要西方还在以反恐作为借口实施不受法律约束的无人机空袭和先发之人的扣押,中国政府就可以以此为先例来证明其政策的合理性。

Secondly, like any lobbying effort, the bid to enlist U.S. support requires advocates to moderate, or simply drop, criticisms of the U.S. that should form part of the global response to China’s actions. One of the best things that people outside China could do to help the Uyghurs would be to challenge the “war on terror,” the chief source of worldwide Islamophobia. As long as the terror threat in the West is invoked to justify extrajudicial drone-strike assassinations and pre-emptive detentions, China will find precedents to justify its own policies.


To be effective, foreign criticism of China needs to be consistent in its rejection of violence and persecution in the name of counterterrorism, but allying with Washington’s leading anti-China voices renders this all but impossible. On November 28, Marco Rubio expressed his outrage at China’s repression at a session of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, only to vote on the very same day against a Senate resolution calling for an end to U.S. support for Saudi Arabia’s war on Yemen.


Thirdly, this approach will provide ammunition for China to paint Uyghur activism as a tool in the hands of Washington’s China hawks, which may prompt a further tightening of security measures in Xinjiang. The new human rights act, for example, calls for the identification of “regional security threats posed by the crackdown across Xinjiang,” and involves the Armed Services Committee in policy discussions.

认识到上述维权方式的缺陷不等于、也决不应该削弱国际社会与维吾尔族人民之间的团结。一些自诩“反帝国主义”人士因为看到美国政府支持维吾尔族维权运动,而对中共在新疆是否真的设立集中营、大规模镇压提出质疑。 然而如果进步主义者在批判西方种族主义和反伊斯兰情绪的同时对中国的情况视而不见,最终只会让左派失去公信力,加剧新冷战态势。 我们完全可以做到在谴责中共镇压新疆的同时,清醒地认识到美国政府利用这一问题来实现自身目的的手段。

Acknowledging the shortcomings of this style of advocacy should in no way diminish international solidarity with the Uyghur people. Some self-identified “anti-imperialists” have cited U.S. support for Uyghur activism to cast doubt on claims of mass repression in Xinjiang and the existence of the internment camps. But progressives who criticize racism and Islamophobia in the West while turning a blind eye to it in China only end up discrediting the left, and entrenching the emerging Cold War dynamics on this issue. It is perfectly possible to condemn China’s actions in Xinjiang, while at the same time remaining clear-eyed about Washington’s efforts to utilize the issue for its own ends.

上述这些分析重点是为了指出并呼吁维权人士需要对习近平巩固权力后的一系列镇压政策作出更可信、更一致的回应。 这些政策不仅危害新疆穆斯林,还波及任何妨碍中共权威的群体,包括工人、学生和女权主义者。虽然中国境外人士不能提供立即有效的解决方案,但从长远来看,比起指望国家外交,人与人之间的团结才是推进真正改变。

The point of these criticisms is to highlight the need for a more credible, consistent response to the repressive consequences of Xi Jinping’s consolidation of power. These consequences are being felt not just by Muslims in Xinjiang, but by workers, students, feminists and anyone getting in the way of authority across China. Although those outside China can offer no immediate solutions, an orientation toward people-to-people solidarity, and not state-to-state diplomacy, offers the best chance of contributing to real change in the long run.