Fracturing of China? Ethnic Separatism and Political Violence in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region   [open pdf - 445KB]

"In the wake of September 11th terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, China began to tout its own terrorist problem in the predominantly Muslim populated province of Xinjiang. Claims that the province's separatists and extremists threaten China's national security seem contrary to literature focusing on the region's ethnic minorities. Yet Xinjiang has historically been a restive, rebellious province, and only in recent years come fully under Beijing sphere of control. Throughout the 1990s sporadic political violence occurred in Xinjiang and as the geopolitical situation in Central Asia changed, Beijing's claim Muslims threat to its national security became a legitimate question. An evaluation of those elements which produce an environment ripe for mass organized political violence of such a scale as to threat to China's sovereignty will provide useful understanding the current state of affairs within Xinjiang. This thesis concludes that while each element exists and has existed in varying degrees since Chinese rule of the region began, all of the elements have not been simultaneously at a level to produce the level of violence that would threaten China's sovereignty."

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