This annotated bibliography focuses on academic discourse in the past decade as a context leading to the current mass internment of Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and other Turkic peoples in Xinjiang. This list aims to show the development of academic justifications generated by Chinese scholars. As part of the goal of this documentation project, we also host the original Chinese articles on this site to prevent “link rot” and make them available for the future.

This list and will be updated regularly and is currently divided into three overarching themes:

1) Minzu 民族 (Ethnicity/Nationality)

2) Stability 稳定

3) Development 发展

UBC permalinks include an abstract in English and the original article in Chinese.

Jump to: MinzuStabilityDevelopment

I. Minzu 民族

Minzu (ethnicity) is one of the most important terms to understand ethnic politics in China. The term is hard to translate because it describes what westerners generally call ethnic groups or races. In China minzu means ethnicity but not race. Party policy in Xinjiang is based on these ideas of minzu/ethnicity.

In the early 20th century, when the empire transformed to a nation-state, Chinese nation-builders borrowed the term minzu from Japanese minzoku to name the vast diverse population. The imagined nation was named zhonghua minzu (中华民族) to fit the state name zhonghua minguo (中华民国) in republic era, as the founding father Sun Yat-Sen called for a “union of five races” (wuzu 五族) which refers to Mongol, Hui, Tibetan, Han, and Manchu). This idea of minzu drew from western notions of biological race. Communist china inherited the concept minzu and launched a nationality identification (minzu shibie 民族识别) project in the 1950s. however, the communists followed the Stalinist definition of nationality that is based on culture, language, and shared history but not biological ideas of race. This resulted in the recognition of 56 minzu in china, with Han being the majority and other 55 groups defined as minority nationalities (shaoshu minzu 少数民族). in public discourse however, minzu has gradually become a term to denote only the minority nationalities, as han-ness becomes the default of being Chinese nationals.

This bibliography shows another historical shift in china’s ethnic policy that known as “the second generation minzu policy,” which is pioneered by Beijing University sociology professor Ma Rong, and state theoreticians Hu Angang and Hu Lianhe. This new policy has steered away from the first generation minzu policies that focused on “unified polyethnic national configuration” (多元一体化格局). The key ideas of the second generation theory include depoliticizing minzu that are entitled to land rights and self-determination, focusing on ethnic mingling (jiaorong 交融), and prioritizing Mandarin Chinese as the national language (guoyu 国语) to forge a shared national identity in ethnic minority regions. these ideas are behind many of the state policies in Xinjiang today.

Keywords: 民族工作 minzu work, 民族融合 ethnic integration, 第二代民族政策 the second generation minzu policy, 去政治化 depoliticization, 国语教育 ‘national language’ education

Hao Shiyuan 郝时远, 2018

All Ethnic Groups Embrace Together Like the Pomegranate Seeds

This article uses the metaphor of a pomegranate to argue for ethnic unity and integration. It acknowledges that diversity in culture and customs exist within China, the overarching framework of national unity and “Zhonghua” unity is the guiding principle.

Original Chinese ArticleUBC permalink

Li Xiaoxia 李晓霞, 2017

An Analysis of Population Problems and Policies in Xinjiang

This article analyzes how birth-control policies in the past decades had treated Han and minority nationalities differently, which caused population “problems” in Xinjiang: the overgrowth of minority populations and the concentrated areas with a single nationality, especially Uyghurs in southern rural areas. Furthermore, the author argues that these population problems could bring political risks, and that the government needs to adjust the population structure based on nationalities.

Original Chinese Article UBC permalinkPDF

Ma Rong 马戎, 2013

Further Discussion on Our Nation’s Minzu Issue: Second Generation Minzu Policy

This article cautions against “Han Chauvinism” in the pursuit of “ethnic unity” in China. It touches on how diversity is an admirable goal that should be managed insofar that it does not lead to the “anti-culture” found in “Black communities in the US.”

Original Chinese ArticleUBC permalink

Liu Ling 刘玲, 2012

A Summary of China’s Association of Anthropological and Ethnological Science Seminar. ‘Adhere to the Basic Political System and Solve Issue in Development’
中国民族理论学会座谈会纪要坚持基本政治制度 在发展中解决民族问题

This article published by China’s Association of Anthropological and Ethnological Science discusses the “ills (诟病)” of the American melting pot ethnic model and its in-applicability to China. It proposes that the “correct choice” in solving the ethnic question is through the basic and current political system.

Original Chinese Article • UBC permalink

Hu Lianhe 胡联合 and Hu An’gang 胡鞍钢, 2011

How the Nationalities Question is Handled Outside of China

Chinese state intellectuals Hu Angang and Hu Lianhe use examples of US, Brazil, and India to illustrate the importance of a “melting pot” ethnic policy. They argue these developed, large-population states implemented integration through homogenized identity and citizenship, language, and legal policies. These policies have maintained the stability and integrity of these nation-states.

Original Chinese ArticleEnglish TranslationUBC permalink

II. Stability 稳定

Stability (wending 稳定) is a recurring and crucial term in Chinese official discourse. It means not only social peace and social security, but the absence of dissent, protests, or criticism of the government. This bibliography offers examples of Chinese ethnologists and legal scholars providing theoretical rationals and policy recommendations for mass surveillance, incarceration, and penalties, all in the name of stability.

“Security” is reiterated by government voices as imperative to ensure economic growth and social harmony. Whether it be a unified front of the Politburo in spite of internal conflict or the top-down “Strike-Hard Campaign” (see Glossary) in Xinjiang, stability is an end in itself. Since the Tiananmen incident broke out in Beijing in 1989, the Communist Party of China has asserted itself as the sole provider of socio-economic stability and safety of the masses from the boogeyman of potential “instabilities”, which are often vaguely framed to be foreign forces, ethnic separatism, and terrorism. As such, desires for greater autonomy, academic and press freedom, and political dissent are anathema to those in power who must maintain stability at all costs.

Stability has been one of the foundational state policies in Xinjiang. Since social unrests broke out in the late 1990s in Uyghur regions, former Party secretary Wang Lequan’s slogan “Stability overrides everything” (wending yadao yiqie稳定压倒一切) has been the guiding principle held by various levels of government offices in Xinjiang. The current Party secretary Chen Quanguo’s rallying cry “Without stability, everything is lost” (没有稳定一切皆为零) carried forth such ideology. On the eve of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party in October 2017, Xinjiang became engulfed in unprecedented and ubiquitous surveillance and suppression. Chen applied advanced AI technology to build a provincial police state, including a DNA database, big data analytics, phone scanning software, face-recognition technologies, and much more.

Keywords: 维稳 maintain stability, 反恐怖主义 counterterrorism, 去极端化 deradicalization, 社区网格化管理 community grid style management, 境外势力 foreign forces

Zhang Xuan 张轩 and Du Rong 和杜蓉, 2020

Issues of Understanding that Need Clarification in Xinjiang “De-radicalization” Work

Zhang and Du maintain that customs should be respected but not positioned above the value of national unity, that religion should exist separately from ethnicity, education, and administration, and that insistence on the observation of religious taboos, such as those against eating pork and consuming alcohol, undermines national unity. They conclude that Xinjiang’s specific economic and social conditions are no excuse for violent behaviour, and that the state must combat views that conflicts with its understanding of the situation.

Original Chinese ArticleUBC PermalinkPDF

Shu Hongshui 舒洪水, 2018

On the Necessity and Systematic Construction of Life Imprisonment: From the Perspective of Terrorism, Extremism Criminal Prevention

This article discusses the background of anti-death penalty movement in China and how the appropriate sentence for terrorism and “extremism” should be life imprisonment. It discusses the legal reforms that the Chinese government should undertake and how to operationalize the overall anti-terror framework to best bring about effective changes.

Original Chinese ArticleUBC permalinkPDF

Ma Dazheng 马大正, 2018

Probe Into the Struggle of De-Extremalization in Xinjiang

Ma Dazheng, Vice President of China’s Borderland and Geography Studies, writes about eradicating extremism, the ideological war against separatism, and developing policies against radicalization. Particularly, he writes about the nature of religious extremism, the failure of the education system to prevent radicalization, and the policies in place to combat the “three forces.”

Original Chinese ArticleUBC permalinkPDF

Pan Zhiping 潘志平, 2018

Correctly Understand ‘National Self-Determination’ and ‘High Degree of Autonomy’

This article discusses the issues of “ethnic self-determination” and “high degree of autonomy” in relation to Chinese ethnic minorities. It argues that ethnic self-determination will lead to ethnic divisions and the “divisive” call of autonomy in Xinjiang will lead to the breaking up of the Chinese nation.

Original Chinese ArticleUBC permalinkPDF

Shu Hongshui 舒洪水 and Mao Zhengdong 毛振东, 2017

Cooperation in Anti-Terrorism with Neighboring Countries—Using the Shanghai Cooperative Team’s Perspective

Shu Hongshui and Mao Zhengdong from the Northwest University of Politics and Law argue that China should cooperate with neighboring countries on “anti-terror” measures. Particularly, new agreements with countries such as Russia against the “Three Forces should be developed based on the existing Shanghai model.”

Original Chinese ArticleUBC permalinkPDF

Chen Mengyuan 陈梦媛, 2017

Construction on the Optimization of Grid-based Management System in Xinjiang

Chen’s article discusses the technological and “management systems” that could optimize government control in Xinjiang to ensure “stability and development.” The article discusses the “need” for such systems to exist, their current deployment in Xinjiang, and further policy improvements.

Original Chinese ArticleUBC permalinkPDF

Ji Yantao 姬艳涛 and Wei Yin 尹伟, 2016

The Theory and Practice of Anti-Terrorism Community Policing

In an article that was published in the summer of 2016, Chinese policing theorists Ji Yantao and Yin Wei describe the way this turn in policing could be adapted in a Chinese context by emphasizing the need to move to prevention rather than ‘passive reaction’ (被动反应). Ji and Yin argue that this new form of policing should supplement the military-style ‘intervention’ (干预) and ‘harsh punishment and suppression’ (打击和严格的惩罚) that had typified earlier ‘Strike Hard’ (严厉打击) campaigns in Xinjiang. (Summary provided by Darren Byler)

Original Chinese Article • UBC permalinkPDF

Li Zhe 立哲, 2016

From the Perspective of Social Stability: Research on the Prevention and Control of Key Population in Xinjiang’s Rural Areas
社会稳定视角下 新疆农村重点人口防治问题研究

The author from Xinjiang’s Yili Normal University argues that “troubled populations” in Xinjiang share similar socioeconomic characteristics such as being male, rural, and religious (Muslim). As such, his policy recommendation for political stability in Xinjiang and to control the ‘targeted population’ is to install more supervisory bureaucrats on the village level and for the state to further regulate everyday religious activities in the region.

Original Chinese Article • UBC permalinkPDF

Wang Ding 王定 and Shan Dan 山丹, 2016

Studies on Anti-Terrorism and the Xinjiang Mode

Wang Ding and Shan Dan, theorists in a local Xinjiang police academy, argue that the model of preventative policing that other policing theorists had proposed needed to be adapted in an explicit Xinjiang Mode’ (新疆模式) that would not only transform religion but also lead to a ‘deep fusion’ (深度融合) of Turkic minorities into Chinese culture.

Original Chinese Article • UBC permalinkPDF

Xu Jianying 许建英, 2016

Review in History and Current Situation of ‘East Turkistan’ Issue

Xu, from China’s Borderland History and Geography Studies, writes about the historical development of the East Turkistan independence movement. Particularly, the development of the independence movement is framed as a European colonial legacy that later merged with Islamic terrorism. In this frame, the “East Turkistan Issue” is therefore a foreign-inspired movement that China has to combat.

Original Chinese Article • UBC permalinkPDF

Shu Hongshui 舒洪水 and Gou Zhen 苟震, 2015

Regarding and Perfecting the Boundaries of Criminal Punishment on Religious Extremist Activities—A Comparison between the ‘Anti-Terror Law (Draft)’ and ‘The Criminal Law Amendment (No. 9)’

Shu Hongshui and Gou Zhen, both from the Northwest University of Politics and Law, argue for legal reforms to criminalize religious extremism. Particularly, in the context of Xinjiang, they link religious extremism with Islam and the East Turkestan independence movement. Their legal analysis focuses on the criminality of religious extremism and the boundaries of criminal laws so that the possession of “religious extremist material” could be criminalized in these reforms.

Original Chinese ArticleUBC permalinkPDF

Jia Yu 贾宇, 2015

The Current Anti-Terror Criminal Measures in Xinjiang

Jia Yu, President of the Northwest University of Politics and Law, argues that Xinjiang’s strategic, geopolitical importance means that China has to act tough on “anti-terrorism” and “religious extremism.” Further, policies that promote “interaction between the mainland the Xinjiang,” “economic development,” and “cultural education” should be in place to counter terrorism and religious extremism.

Original Chinese ArticleUBC permalinkPDF

Qiu Yuanyuan 邱媛媛, 2015

Consolidating the Construction of Rural Grassroots Organizations to Maintain Stability in Xinjiang

Qiu’s article argues that grassroots-oriented work like the fanghuiju campaign is essential for achieving stability in Xinjiang. To ensure the efficacy of this work, grassroots cadres and organizations must adhere to the Party’s standards, continue cracking down on illegal religious activities, and successfully carry out rectification work.

Original Chinese ArticleUBC permalink

Shu Hongshui 舒洪水, 2015

A Study on Anti-Terrorism Laws in the Xinjiang Region

This article discusses the legal channels and reforms through which China should combat terrorism in the Xinjiang region. In particular, it discusses new legal tools that should be applied against the backdrop of increasing international pressure on China. It advocates for any measures that are effective while keeping western interference low.

Original Chinese ArticleUBC permalink

Xie Guiping 谢贵平and Yang Dongping 杨东平, 2015

How to Deal with Home-Grown Terrorism? A Case Study on “East Turkistan” Violent Terrorist Activities

Xie and Yang argue that combating terrorism in Xinjiang has grown difficult thanks to host of factors, including the work of East Turkestan Liberation Organization members outside of China, the meddling of hostile forces in the West, and the global influence of pan-Turkism and pan-Islamism. They propose creating a comprehensive approach that features the creation of anti-terrorism organizations and mechanisms, the implementation of economic reforms, and the dissemination of correct social and religious beliefs, including national identity education and a newly translated version of the Quran.

Original Chinese ArticleUBC permalinkPDF

Yang Weiwei 杨薇薇, 2015

Operational Research on Restraining the Infiltration of Religious Extremist Thought

Yang Weiwei proposes solutions to Xinjiang’s growing “religious extremism,” which she attributes to foreign influence and the region’s preexisting economic disparities. Along with promoting free and bilingual education to reach young people and including more Muslim minorities in the labour force, Yang calls for a unified, regulated, and state-sanctioned version of Islam that involves reducing the number of mosques in each community.

Original Chinese Article • UBC permalinkPDF

Lu Peng 芦鹏 and Cao Xuefei 曹雪飞, 2014

An Analysis on Israel’s War on Terror and Its Implications for China’s War on Terror in Xinjiang— Using the Decision-Making Mechanism of the “National Security Commission” as the Focus

This article published by the National Police University of China discusses the “success story” of Israel’s anti-terror strategies in its planning, execution, information gathering, and propaganda. The authors provide an analysis on the lessons that China can borrow to craft a China-specific anti-terror policy centered around the National Security Commission.

Original Chinese ArticleUBC permalinkPDF

Zhu Weiqun 朱维群, 2012

Thoughts on Current Issues of Ethnic Minority Regions

This article discusses the “hostile Western forces” that are opposed to a unified, powerful China and how these forces will exploit the ethnic and religious divisions within to subvert China. It touches on the “contradictions” within the notion of ethnicity and religion in China as a result of the profound social changes since the 1990s.

Original Chinese ArticleUBC permalinkPDF

Song Hongbin 宋红彬 and Zhang Kun 张昆, 2011

On Flow Population Service and Management Against the Background of Anti-Terrorism in Xinjiang

Shu Hongshui and Gou Zhen, both from the Northwest University of Politics and Law, argues for legal reforms to criminalize religious extremism. Particularly, in the context of Xinjiang, they link religious extremism with Islam and the East Turkestan independence movement. Their legal analysis focuses on the criminality of religious extremism and the boundaries of criminal laws so that the possession of “religious extremist material” could be criminalized in these reforms.

Original Chinese ArticleUBC permalinkPDF

III. Development 发展

Development (fazhan发展 ) is a core goal of the Chinese government and the Communist Party. It means economic development but also cultural, scientific, and military development. In addition to the goal of a prosperous and cultured life—“The Chinese Dream”—the party also promises “the rejuvenation of the Chinese minzu” which includes China’s return to great power status in the world.

While China has always conceived itself as a great power, its material backwardness during the Century of Humiliation forced it to reckon with its identity. Since the economic liberalization during the Deng Xiaoping years, China has experienced nothing short of a miracle in economic development and industrialization. The notion of a “moderately prosperous society” (小康社会) epitomizes this notion of economic development and modernization. As rising powers do vis-à-vis the hegemon, China seeks to renegotiate its sphere of influence and the Belt and Road Initiative is the redoubling of this effort. In total, China has already invested over $200 billion in the BRI and the scope of the project extends beyond 2027 and spreads over 125 countries.

Xinjiang is physically located in the epicenter of the BRI and is culturally distinct from the Han-dominated imagination of a new China. The current academic discourse in China is already framing Xinjiang’s location as “strategic,” “essential” and “core.” This discourse is developed in conjunction with state policies such as “Xinjiang Aid” (援疆) and a plethora of other economic development projects that aim to integrate Xinjiang fully into a rising China. This is a source of ongoing friction and conflict as locals resent central government impositions and Beijing sees local resistance as irrational and dangerous opposition to development. As such, just how this “new Silk Road” will be paved over Xinjiang is something that should interest every keen observer.

Keywords: 扶贫 Poverty alleviation, 一带一路 Belt and Road Initiative, 就业 employment, 援疆 Xinjiang Aid


Yi Jianping 易建平, 2018

A Study on Man-land Relations and Development Strategies of Ethnic Minorities in Xinjiang

Yi’s article focuses on using economic development to better integrate Xinjiang as part of China. It has several policy recommendations in the areas of education, economics, and language to further this goal.

Original Chinese ArticleUBC permalinkPDF

Feng Jianyong  冯建勇, 2016

New Vision for China’s Borderland Study of “One Belt and One Road”

Feng focuses on the re-conceptualization of the center in the Middle Kingdom in light of the Belt and Road Initiative where Xinjiang’s peripheral status is re-situated as the center under the new development paradigm.

Original Chinese ArticleUBC permalink

Qiu Yuanyuan 邱媛媛, 2016

Persist in Shared Development and Promote the Construction of the People’s Livelihood in Southern Xinjiang

Qiu’s article draws explicit links between development in Xinjiang and the state’s national agenda for the Belt and Road Initiative. Qiu argues that bolstering development in the region necessitates raising the quality of life in Xinjiang’s most impoverished regions, addressing people’s needs, implementing institutional changes such as vocational and language training, and encouraging people to work harder.

Original Chinese ArticleUBC permalinkPDF

Xu Jianying 许建英, 2015

Xinjiang’s Position and Core-Zone Construction in Perspective of “Silk-Road Economic Belt”
“丝绸之路经济带” 视野下新疆定位与核心区建设

Xu explores the ideological core of the Silk-Road Economic Belt and the guiding principles of “community of interest” and “community of destiny” in particular. Further, Xinjiang’s position and the necessary condition of stability and continued development are discussed.

Original Chinese ArticleUBC permalinkPDF

Ilham Tohti 伊力哈木·土赫提, 2014

Present-Day Ethnic Problems in Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region: Overview and Recommendations

In response to a request from high-ranking CCP officials in 2011, Ilham Tohti, Professor of Economics at Minzu University of China, wrote this assessment of the most pressing issues underlying ethnic tensions in Xinjiang. In the piece, which addresses topics as diverse as unemployment, bilingual education, religion, local governance, and Han chauvinism, Tohti calls for modest reforms that alleviate problems faced by Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities while helping the central government ensure stability and development in the region. In July 2014, before he could publish the article, Tohti was arrested and sentenced to life in prison on charges of separatism. Daxiang Gonghui published Tohti’s draft in 2014. published the translation in 2015.

Original Chinese ArticleEnglish Translation

Xing Guangcheng 邢广程, 2014

On China’s New Silk Road Strategy: A New Linking Model of Deep Interactions between China and the World

Xing’s article focuses on the revival of the ancient Silk Road in China’s development strategy and how it overlaps with geopolitcal issues in Xinjiang, the South China Sea, and other sensitive areas.

Original Chinese Article • UBC permalinkPDF

Wu Lili 武丽丽, 2013

An Analysis of the Current Situation of the Legal Consciousness of Xinjiang’s Transient Ethnic Minority Population

Wu examines the influx of ethnic migrant labourers leaving the countryside to work in Xinjiang’s cities as a consequence of the region’s economic development. Despite encouraging this migration, the state has run into issues managing this population because of their lack of legal knowledge.

Original Chinese Article UBC permalinkPDF

Baihatiyar Tursun 拜合提亚尔·吐尔逊, 2003

The Existing Problems and their Countermeasures during the Course of Social and Economic Development in Southern Xinjiang

Baihatiyar Tursun draws on field work in southern Xinjiang to assess the region’s economic problems and propose solutions for its development. His solution includes five steps: state investment in development and construction, the revitalization of the region’s natural environment to better exploit its resources, the improvement of transportation and communication infrastructure, the promotion of education and scientific knowledge as an antidote to the “religious consciousness” (宗教意识) of ethnic minorities, and the advancement of the overall quality of local cadres.

Original Chinese ArticleUBC permalinkPDF