Colonization with Chinese characteristics: Politics of (in)security in Xinjiang and Tibet

Dibyesh Anand, “Colonization with Chinese characteristics: Politics of (in)security in Xinjiang and Tibet,” Central Asian Survey 38 (2019): 129-147


Anand argues that modern colonialism is the most useful framework for understanding Chinese state policies in Xinjiang and Tibet, and that securitization and paternalism are designed to consolidate power over territory rather than facilitate better rule.


China as a victim rather than a proponent of modern colonialism is an essential myth that animates Chinese nationalism. The Chinese statist project of occupying, minoritizing and securitizing different ethno-national peoples of Central Asia, such as Uyghurs and Tibetans, with their own claims to homelands, is a colonial project. Focusing on China’s securitized and militarized rule in Xinjiang and Tibet, the article will argue that the most appropriate lens through which this can be understood is neither nation-building nor internal colonialism but modern colonialism. It argues that the representation of Uyghurs and Tibetans as sources of insecurity not only legitimizes state violence as a securitizing practice but also serves contemporary Chinese colonial goals.

Keywords: Colonialism, Securitization, Nationalism