Vol. 1 No. 1 (2020): Global Connections

For the Sake of the State

Published May 14, 2020


Increasing attention has recently been drawn to the activity of the Chinese government towards ethnic minorities in China’s northwestern Xinjiang region, but there is still a substantial lack of information on the discrimination. However, what is clear from analyzing a dozen articles and reports coming out of Xinjiang is that the Chinese government has been increasing surveillance and detainment of suspected separatists. An increase in the number of attacks identified as acts of terrorism has heightened security concerns in Xinjiang. According to the government, the crackdown is an attempt at extinguishing sentiment that could lead to terrorism and violence by extremists. But the construction of internment facilities and the use of political and cultural indoctrination techniques suggest that the government’s intent is not that simple, nor is it without problems. Those detained by the government are disproportionately ethnically Uighur, a Muslim minority in China. These detainees are arrested without trials, kept in re-education facilities, and are forced by government officials to renounce their own culture while applauding the cultural ideals of the ethnically dominant Han. These facilities seem to be aimed at erasing the identity of the culturally divergent Uighur ethnicity to create a cultural homogeneity in Xinjiang. According to this method, this homogeneity will create public and national security, but it does so at the expense of individual liberty and human security.