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Xinjiang: A Case Study in Chinas Minority Policies Kara Abramson Congressional-Executive Commission on China Kara Abramson Congressional-Executive Commission.

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Presentation on theme: "Xinjiang: A Case Study in Chinas Minority Policies Kara Abramson Congressional-Executive Commission on China Kara Abramson Congressional-Executive Commission."— Presentation transcript:

1 Xinjiang: A Case Study in Chinas Minority Policies Kara Abramson Congressional-Executive Commission on China Kara Abramson Congressional-Executive Commission on China

2 Overview of Todays Talk Chinas Minority Policies Case Study: Xinjiang – Setting the Scene: The geography and people of the region known today as Xinjiang – Contested Histories: Xinjiangs Past – Xinjiang Under PRC Rule: Current Issues – What Happened in Urumqi in July 2009? – Xinjiang Beyond the Headlines: Contemporary Uyghur Culture

3 Shǎoshù Mínzú Chinas Minority Policies

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5 Historical Overview Ethnicity in Chinese history Ethnic Groups/Minzu in the PRC – System of categorization – Soviet Tradition Fixed identities Stalinist definition – Common territory, language, economy, and psychological nature – Mínzú shíbié – mínzú gōngzuò

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7 Ethnic Minorities Today 8.49% of the population, including: – Tibetan – Korean – Mongol – Russian – Tajik – Uyghur (Uighur/Uygur)

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11 Also: – Zhuang – Hui – Miao – Yi – Lhoba

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15 Chinas Minorities Location: – About 5/8ths of Chinas total area Languages: – Over 60, at least 5 different language families Religions: – Muslim, Buddhist, minority religions, Christian

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18 Regional Autonomy By end of 2003: – 5 Provincial-level autonomous regions – 30 autonomous prefectures – 120 autonomous counties

19 Legal Framework for Autonomy: Regional Ethnic Autonomy Law (REAL) -Grants additional legislative powers -Describes scope of regional autonomy -Freedom to use and develop minority languages – Freedom of religious belief – Preferential policies – Administration of finances – Education in minority languages – Train local cadres but also send skilled personnel from elsewhere in China to these regions

20 REAL successes and limitations Gives recognition and protection for minority groups Some leeway for local customs BUT Vague wording Legislation must be submitted to higher bodies for approval and must not contradict basic policies Limited enforcement and monitoring General Rule of Law issues

21 Case Study: Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR) Xīnjiāng Wéiwúěr Zìzhìqū

22 Setting the Scene: The geography and people of the region known today as Xinjiang

23 Population Total population million (1.63% of Chinas total) Uyghurs ( ئۇيغۇر Wéiwúěrzú ) – Turkic – Speak Uyghur (close to Uzbek and Turkish) – Sunni Muslim Other groups include: – Han, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, Tajiks, Mongols, Russian, Hui

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25 Contested Histories: Xinjiangs Past

26 Contested Histories: Xinjiangs Past

27 Contested Histories Uyghur Empire ( , based in Mongolia) Uyghur state in the north ( ) Karakhanid dynasty in the south ( ) Chaghataids Mongols (14 th -17 th c.) – Local rulers strong – Sufi influence Jungars (late 17 th c.- mid-18 th c.) Qing (1750s-1911) East Turkistan Republic (aka East Turkistan Islamic Republic) ( ) East Turkistan Republic ( )

28 Contested HistoriesModern Uyghur Identity East Turkistan/Uyghuristan Turkic identity

29 Xinjiang Under PRC Rule: Current Issues 1955 Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region established Minority PolicyUyghurs as Xinjiang in the news: human rights, terrorism, and Guantanamo

30 Security Measures and Terrorism Reports of terrorist attacks in 1990s and 2000s East Turkistan Islamic Movement (aka East Turkistan Islamic Party) placed on State Dept. Terrorist Exclusion List, UN list Scope of Terrorist Threat Appears Unclear Chinese government reporting on terrorism limited and inconsistent Restrictions on free press hinder information gathering Government has conflated ordinary criminal activity with terrorism and peaceful expressions of dissent with separatism

31 Religion Constitution protects freedom of religious belief and normal religious activities 5 recognized religions, including Islam Islam in Xinjiang: – Religious extremism and illegal religious activities identified as threats to regions security – Campaigns against private religious schools, curbs over access to mosques, observance of Ramadan, veiling and beards

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33 Freedom of Expression Regulation on Ethnic Unity Nurmemet Yasin Mehbube Ablesh

34 Representation in Government NPC Representation Head of Autonomous govt to be ethnic minority

35 Employment Law encourages hiring of ethnic minorities and prohibits discrimination in employment, but…

36 Zhāopìn Hànzú fúwùyuán

37 Language and Education – Law says ethnic minorities may use own languages – Traditionally had 2 tracks for Schooling and Exams for minorities in China (including in Xinjiang) Mínkǎomín and Mínkǎohàn – New efforts to promote Bilingual Education have translated into decrease in Uyghur in Xinjiang

38 Development Government support Great Western Development Some improvements, but also problems: – Distribution of resources – Lack of Input from local communities – Demographic pressures

39 What Happened in Urumqi in July 2009? Reported attack on Uyghur factory workers in Guangdong in late June 2009 Uyghurs demonstrate on July 5 – Initially peaceful, police reportedly use force, violent attacks take place

40 What Happened in Urumqi in July 2009? Authorities blame World Uyghur Congress and its leader Rebiya Kadeer for organizing riots and instigating people in China

41 What Happened in Urumqi in July 2009? July 7Han revenge attacks, Uyghur women demonstrate Internet shut down until May 2010 Trials ongoingfor violent crimes and acts of free expression or peaceful protest New Party head appointed, government unveils cure-all development plan in May 2010

42 Xinjiang Beyond the Headlines Contemporary society Literary tradition Uyghur music


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