Academic Publications

This section provides a curated list of academic research that has greatly contributed to an understanding of the treatment of ethnic minorities in Xinjiang.

This list and will be updated regularly.

Published Books

Below is a list of published academic titles on contemporary issues in Xinjiang.

David Tobin, Cambridge University Press, September 2020

Securing China’s Northwest Frontier: Identity and Insecurity in Xinjiang

Tobin analyzes the tense ethnic relations between Han and Uyghur peoples within a Chinese state, and argues that their enmity is further exacerbated due to the PRC Government treating Chinese identity as a matter of security.

Sean R. Roberts, Princeton University Press, 18 August 2020

The War on the Uyghurs: China’s Internal Campaign against a Muslim Minority

Roberts shows how China is using the US-led war on terror to erase the cultural identity of its Muslim minority in the Xinjiang region.

Tim Grose, Hong Kong University Press, 15 January 2020

Negotiating Inseparability in China: The Xinjiang Class and the Dynamics of Uyghur Identity

Grose illustrates a detailed picture of the multilayered identities of contemporary Uyghur youth and an assessment of the effectiveness of this program in meeting its political goals.

Open-Access Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

Below is a list of academic journal articles that are accessible to the public.

Matthew P. Robertson, Made in China Journal, 12 June 2020

Counterterrorism or Cultural Genocide?

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

Keywords: Counterterrorism, Genocide, Re-Education, Surveillance

Adrian Zenz, Journal of Political Risk 8, no. 2, February 2020

The Karakax List: Dissecting the Anatomy of Beijing’s Internment Drive in Xinjiang

Zenz provides further primary evidence on the persecution and punishment of Uyghurs in Xinjiang from a leaked document from the County of Karakax in Hotan Prefecture.

Keywords: Chen Quanguo, Detention, Karakax, Uyghurs

Darren Byler, New Internationalist 7, no. 522, December 2019

Living in a Ghost World

Darren Byler describes the open-air surveillance, internment camps, and population control in Xinjiang.

Keywords: Labour transfer, Re-Education, Securitization, Surveillance

Ondřej Klimeš, Sinopsis, 8 November 2019

China’s Xinjiang Work in Turkey

Klimeš focuses on the Uyghur diaspora in Turkey and how the Chinese state’s reach extends well beyond its border in the effort to control Xinjiang.

Keywords: Diaspora, Biopolitics, Turko-Chinese relations, Propaganda.

Adrian Zenz, Journal of Political Risk 7, no. 11, November 2019

“Wash Brains, Cleanse Hearts”: Evidence from Chinese Government Documents about the Nature and Extent of Xinjiang’s Extrajudicial Internment Campaign

Zenz investigates the numerous public communication campaigns that the Chinese government has initiated to soften the nature of the internment camps.

Keywords: Extremism, Re-Education, Securitization

Amy Anderson and Darren Byler, China Perspectives, 1 September 2019: 17–26

“Eating Hanness”: Uyghur Musical Tradition in a Time of Re-Education

This article shows how the PRC Government has attempted to erode Uyghur culture by first making a state-curated version that exotifies Uyghur culture, and then completely erasing it by assimilating it with Han culture.

Keywords: Native music, Re-Education, Symbolic Violence, Xinjiang, Uyghur

Dilmurat Mahmut, Forum for International Research in Education 5, no. 1, 2019: 22–43

Controlling Religious Knowledge and Education for Countering Religious Extremism: Case Study of the Uyghur Muslims in China

This article discusses the history of how the PRC Government has viewed Islamism, and in the wake of increased radical terrorist attacks at the turn of the 20th Century, began to limit even more religious activities, especially in Western China. This article then highlights how even more restrictive policies have created further radicalization due to a ‘us vs them’ mentality.

Keywords: China, Religious Knowledge and Education, Policies and Rhetoric, Religious Extremism, Uyghurs

Rachel Harris and Aziz Isa, Central Asian Survey 38, Issue 1, 26 September 2018

Islam by Smartphone: Reading the Uyghur Islamic Revival on WeChat

The main argument of this article contends that by analyzing the predominant themes in conversations with Uyghurs on WeChat, one can find meaningful characteristics of Uyghur identity, which has been saturated and trivialized by the mainstream media that has been covering the rising cases of violence in Xinjiang.

Keywords: Anashid, China, Islamic revival, Social media, Uyghur

Adrian Zenz, China Brief 18, Issue 10, 15 May 2018

New Evidence for China’s Political Re-Education Campaign in Xinjiang

This is a condensed version of Zenz’s article, “Thoroughly Reforming Them Towards a Healthy Heart Attitude’: China’s Political Re-Education Campaign in Xinjiang”

Keywords: Re-Education, Internment, De-Extremification

Amy H. Liu and Kevin Peters, Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism 17, no. 2, October 2017: 265–280

The Hanification of Xinjiang, China: The Economic Effects of the Great Leap West

Amidst the continued economy development in the western regions of China, the policies to Han-ify places such as Xinjiang by mass migration have marginalized Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities.

Keywords: Chinese History, Economics, Ethnic Studies, Sociology, State Violence

Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

Below is a list of journal articles that can only be accessed through academic institutions. However, clicking on the link will take you to a permalink on this website with a summary and article abstract.

Tim Grose, Central Asian Survey, 6 July 2020

If You Don’t Know How, Just Learn: Chinese Housing and the Transformation of Uyghur Domestic Space

Tim Grose discusses measures the CCP has taken to eliminate the Uyghur identity in Xinjiang.

Keywords: Assimilation Policy, Central Asia, Housing, Islam, Uyghur, Xinjiang

Adrian Zenz and James Leibold, The China Quarterly 242, June 2020: 324–348

Securitizing Xinjiang: Police Recruitment, Informal Policing and Ethnic Minority Co-optation

This article investigates the securitization of Xinjiang through an analysis of official police recruitment documents. The authors also discuss that the increased recruitments include high-paying policing positions without any education requirements, which lead to a large number of ethnic minorities who end up policing their own people.

Keywords: China, Securitization, Police State, China’s War on Terror, Uyghur

Sarah Tynen, Central Asian Survey, 2 April 2020

Dispossession and Displacement of Migrant Workers: The Impact of State Terror and Economic Development on Uyghurs in Urban Xinjiang

Tynen discusses the manner in which Uyghurs have been displaced in Xinjiang, and its function with regards to state control in the region.

Keywords: China, Displacement, Dispossession, Migration, Territory, Uyghur

Caitlin M. Ryan and Sarah Tynen, Geographical Review, 13 November 2019: 38–51

Fieldwork Under Surveillance: Rethinking Relations of Trust, Vulnerability, and State Power

Tynen and Ryan’s article is centered around the difficulty and the practical reality of conducting fieldwork in contexts of state violence, surveillance, and/or outright hostility.

Keywords: Ethnography, Surveillance, Methodology, Intimate Geopolitics, Uyghur

Sarah Tynen, Territory, Politics, Governance, Volume 8, Issue 1, 30 July 2019: 7–22

State Territorialization through Shequ Community Centres: Bureaucratic Confusion in Xinjiang, China

Tynen writes about how Shequs (community centers) in Xinjiang exist simultaneously as a location that provides basic services while being the locus of surveillance and control.

Keywords: Neighbourhood, Governance, Territory, Bureaucracy, State Control, Community Building, Authoritarian

James Leibold, Journal of Contemporary China 29, Issue 121, 31 May 2019: 46–60

Surveillance in China’s Xinjiang Region: Ethnic Sorting, Coercion, and Inducement

Leibold explores the mechanics, logic and implications of Xinjiang’s surveillance society.

Keywords: Internment, Racialization, State Violence, Surveillance

Joanne Smith Finley, Central Asian Survey 38, Issue 1, 11 March 2019: 1–26

Securitization, Insecurity and Conflict in Contemporary Xinjiang: Has PRC Counter-Terrorism Evolved into State Terror?

Finley argues that under the regime of Xi Jinping, China has turned counter-terrorism initiatives into its own form of state terror.

Keywords: Terrorism, Securitization, De-Extremification, State Terrorism, State Violence

James Leibold and Timothy Grose, Asian Studies Review 43, 7 January 2019: 16–35

Cultural and Political Disciplining inside China’s Dislocated Minority Schooling System

This article discusses the teacher-student dynamics and the manner in which students are disciplined in China’s minority schooling system that has been in place since 1985, which hosues Tibetans, Uyghurs, and other visible minorities in China.

Keywords: China, Disciplinary Power, Dislocated Minority Schooling, Education, Ethnicity, Ethnic Minority Education, Neidiban, Tibetans, Uyghurs

Joanne Smith Finley, Central Asian Survey 38, Issue 1, 13 November 2018: 81–101

The Wang Lixiong prophecy: ‘Palestinization’ in Xinjiang and the consequences of Chinese state securitization of religion

Finley argues that state securitization of religion has been counterproductive, and heightened societal insecurity and promoted inter-ethnic conflict between Uyghur and Han communities.

Keywords: Palestinization, Religion, Ethnic Studies

Adrian Zenz, Central Asian Survey 38, Issue 1, 5 September 2018: 102–128

Thoroughly Reforming Them Towards a Healthy Heart Attitude’: China’s Political Re-Education Campaign in Xinjiang

Zenz confirms the existence of re-education camps using evidence available from official government sources.

Keywords: Extremism, Re-Education, Securitization

Pablo A. Rodriguez-Merino, Central Asian Survey 38, Issue 1, 20 July 2018: 27–45

Old ‘Counter-Revolution’, New ‘Terrorism’: Historicizing the Framing of Violence in Xinjiang by the Chinese State

Rodriguez-Merino argues how the idea of terrorism has been framed differently over the years by the CCP.

Keywords: Security, Terrorism, Chinese History

Ondřej Klimeš, Journal of Chinese Political Science 23, 1 February 2018: 413–436

Advancing “Ethnic Unity” and “De-Extremization”: Ideational Governance in Xinjiang under “New Circumstances” (2012–2017)

Klimeš focuses on the paradigm shift happening under the Xi Jinping era in China’s approach towards Xinjiang.

Keywords: Xi Jinping, Xinjiang, Ideology, Propaganda, Religion

Sean R. Roberts, Critical Asian Studies 50, Issue 2, 2018: 232–258

The Biopolitics of China’s “War on Terror” and the Exclusion of the Uyghurs

Roberts focuses on the “surveillance, punishment, and detention” that the China state undertakes to subjugate Uyghurs through a bio-political lens.

Keywords: Re-Education, Biopolitics, Terrorism, State Violence

Zunyou Zhou, Terrorism and Political Violence 31, Issue 6, 9 June 2017: 1187–1209

Chinese Strategy for De-Radicalization

This article discusses the ideas and structure behind China’s de-radicalization campaigns in Xinjiang and its effectiveness.

Keywords: China, Community Engagement, De-Radicalization, Religious Extremism, Terrorism, Uyghur, Xinjiang

James Leibold and Timothy Grose, The China Journal 76, May 2016: 78–102

Islamic Veiling in Xinjiang: The Political and Societal Struggle to Define Uyghur Female Adornment

This article discusses the current discourse between the PRC Government and Uyghurs in Xinjiang over the definition of appropriate female dress.

Keywords: Clothing, Gender Politics, Islam

Michael Clarke, Terrorism and Political Violence 20, Issue 2, 28 April 2008: 271–301

China’s “War on Terror” in Xinjiang: Human Security and the Causes of Violent Uighur Separatism

Clarke argues that violent Uyghur separatism and terrorism conforms in a number of important respects to the human security theory of terrorism, particularly in the realm of political and civil rights.

Keywords: Central Asia, Security, Terrorism, Separatism