Xinjiang in the Nineties

Nicolas Becquelin, “Xinjiang in the Nineties,” The China Journal 44 (2000): 65-90


Becquelin argues that agricultural policies, reclamation programs, and an influx of Han labour into Xinjiang are aspects of a state strategy for the “Sinification” of the region. In this light, increased ethnic unrest cannot be attributed solely to ethno-national and religious extremism, but must also be seen in light of segregative policies and the increased regulation of religious and cultural customs.


The emergence of the post-Soviet Central Asian states in 1991 constituted a watershed in Beijing’s policies toward Xinjiang, the historically troubled Chinese province that belongs geographically and ethnically to Central Asia. Economic and security issues, both domestic and transnational, have become increasingly intertwined as the Chinese government has looked for ways to ensure stability and territorial assimilation at the same time.

Keywords: Ethnic Unrest, Han Migration, Colonialism