Counterterrorism or Cultural Genocide?

Matthew P. Robertson, “Counterterrorism or Cultural Genocide?Made in China Journal, 12 June 2020.


Matthew P. Robertson argues that current CCP policies toward Uyghurs are focused on cultural genocide, and counterterrorism has been intentionally invoked as the cover.


Since 2017, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has embarked on a rapid and intense securitisation of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. This has included mass extra-legal internment coupled with coercive thought reform, strict surveillance, restrictions on religious life, public struggle sessions, the placement of children in state orphanages, policies for increased Han settlements, limitations on Uyghur births, and much more. What we should call these actions depends on how we think about them, though how we think of them determines what information about them we consider significant. Is it a jobs training programme that went too far? A counterterrorism exercise using indiscriminate target selection and highly intrusive methods? Or is it the destruction of an indigenous Muslim people by a colonial (or totalitarian?) state masquerading as a jobs training programme and counterterrorism exercise?

Keywords: Counterterrorism, Genocide, Re-Education, Surveillance