Separatism in Xinjiang: A brief look at the area’s riots and uprisings

Introduction

This paper will examine violence, as perpetrated through uprisings and separatism in Xinjiang, China. Although there is a long history of uprisings and acts of separatism within Xinjiang, examples from the early 2000’s through 2009 will be examined the most. By trying to find connections as well as the root causes of uprisings within the last decade and describing the possible reasoning behind those causes, the reader will obtain a further, in-depth look as to how and what solutions and action might be adapted in order to increase peace and security within the Xinjiang region. 

History

To begin, a brief look at Xinjiang’s political history should be taken into consideration to understand how politics/power have played a role in the development of Xinjiang’s culture and identity. While the author does recognize that all history is a vital element in creating sentiments, viewpoints, and peoples’ identities within a given culture, however, due to restrictions in time, history closer to the time period I will be examining separatism in will be looked at more in-depth.

It is recorded that as far back as the Western Han dynasty (206 B.C.-A.D. 24) Xinjiang was officially included in the territory of China even when it was culturally connected with the Middle East and when non-Chinese kingdoms flourished. Although many of the peoples in Xinjiang were nomadic and contentious, the Chinese nevertheless felt it was important to still control the area particularly in order to regulate China’s borders. The Western Han court appointed Zheng Ji as the Frontier Commander of the Western Regions, with his headquarters in Urli (in modern Luntai County), to administer over the whole region. The establishment of the Western Regions Frontier Command indicated that the Western Han had begun to exercise state sovereignty over the Western Regions, and that Xinjiang had become a part of the “unitary multi-ethnic Chinese nation.”

In the Tang dynasty, Han Chinese claimed Xinjiang as well as most of central Asia, particularly through the use of Li Deyu and unified all parts of Western China as well as set up administrations for governing known as the “four garrison commands of Anxi.” However, Joseph F. Fletcher argues that Chinese suzerainty was often more a fiction perpetrated by the tribute system than indication of actual control. He believes that with the defeat of Han forces by Arabs at the Talas River near Samarqand in C.E. 751, Tang armies fell back into central China leaving only scattered garrisons in Central Asia. According to Fletcher, this shows that Tang forces were insufficient in Xinjiang and were mostly concerned in setting up a buffer for the Tang against lesser contenders for regional power as well as ensuring trade and commerce made its way effectively into central China via the silk road.

According to Lillian Craig Harris, during the Yuan dynasty (1270-1368 C.E.), which was Mongolian ruled, Mongols already controlled Xinjiang when they finally consolidated their control over China. Large portions of Central Asia, including Transoxiana as well as Xinjiang, had passed to Jagatai, son of Genghis Khan, when the great Khan died in 1237. Under the Mongol brotherhood, Xinjiang was incorporated into Mongolistan and administered by Jagatai and his successors from Aksu and Kashgar and Xinjiang was not considered a part of China.

Following the Yuan dynasty was the Manchu Ming dynasty (1368-1644). During this time, Islam was developed immensely and as a result, significantly began to shape culture within the Xinjiang region. There were numerous amounts of Sufis who spread Islam among Turkic and Mongol nomads. Close spiritual and marital links with rulers, large endowments, and a tight network structure provided support for the activities of Sufi orders all over, which resulted in mass support from the local and national military to protect and reserve Islam culture. However, this preservation began to wither somewhat when the Qing dynasty took over in 1368.

During the beginning of the Qing dynasty, policies were mainly grounded on coercion, commercial incentives, and the active promotion of colonial settlement. The military was said to have been accommodating to local interests and Qing officials did something they had not done elsewhere in China: They actively helped Han peasants to move to the distant Xinjiang frontier in order to reinforce military control. Once there, Han migrants didn’t interfere with local Muslim populations and promotion of peace and safety to ensure trade and commerce. However, by the 1870’s Qing policy in Xinjiang turned into four aspects: political integration by means of Chinese-style administration in Xinjiang, development of solidly ethnic Han officialdom in Xinjiang instead of local military officials, intensified promotion of Chinese immigration to Xinjiang and reclamation of land there, as well as cultural assimilation of the Uyghur population through Confucian education.

However, when the Qing collapsed in 1911, Xinjiang didn’t declare independence, which was unlike that of Mongolia and Tibet. While there was certainly resettlement of Qing and Chinese rule, there was no unified leadership in place to declare or seize independence nor, arguably, any generally shared sense that a given part or the entire Xinjiang region per se should be a nation of the Turkic people in a modern sense.With the arrival of the KMT, policies didn’t differ much from those of the Qing. Colonization of Xinjiang was vital, which included the migration of more than one million Han Chinese, replacement of Turkic officials by ethnic Chinese at all administration levels, economic integration with China proper, settlement of nomads, as well as enormous tax increases to supply and support the military. However, these policies were never carried out in their entirety mainly due to the lack of military resources and man power the KMT needed, and this became a huge factor when the KMT became preoccupied fighting with the Japanese and later the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), whom of which they lost to.

When the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) took control in 1949, there was a major flux of migration into Xinjiang, which resulted in only 80 percent of the region being composed of Uyghurs. General Wang Zhen, who was assigned to govern Xinjiang, was given orders to assimilate locals with CCP ideology and to teach them the fundamentals of farm collectivization. This was widely praised amongst locals since they had an opportunity to finally be free from the tyranny of landlords and could start sharing goods equally with fellow local citizens in Xinjiang.

However, when the Cultural Revolution took place from 1967-1977, citizens all over China, especially within the Xinjiang region, became outraged with the social oppression they were facing from the CCP. What started as a collectivization of shared goods and land as well as a fairer share of power amongst people ended up as the abolishment of religious practices and the control of religious institutions such as mosques in order to fulfill the requirements set by Mao. From the Chinese standpoint, this was a mere matter that didn’t outweigh the benefits the CCP said they brought to the region and until now, the CCP feels that certain practices are out of line with communist policies of an atheist state, particularly ones linked to religion that people automatically put themselves in danger for abiding to.

However, from the Uyghur standpoint, although Xinjiang was “liberated”, it’s natives such as the Uyghurs and Hui minorities soon became to feel oppressed and were furious over the loss of basic rights such as free religious practice, mosques being heavily censored, and practices such as fasting during the holy month of Ramadan being banned. It is even noted that during the Cultural Revolution Qur’ans were burned, Islamic elders humiliated and paraded in the streets, pigs were penned in mosques, as well as many other catastrophic events took place. This was tumultuous for many of the locals during that time that it gave rise for rebellion as well as the formation of separatist groups such as the East Turkistan People’s Revolutionary Party in 1968, which aimed for Xinjiang to be an independent and secular state. The party is still active until this day and the sentiments of division and frustration amongst Uyghurs are still prominent.

To look at things from a different standpoint, when observing contemporary Yining, Xinjiang, Uyghurs and Han live in worlds of face-to-face social interaction that are almost entirely separate. Uyghurs speak their own Turkic language, unrelated to Chinese, written in an Arabic script, whereas Xinjiang’s Han populations either speak Chinese Mandarin, their home dialect, or both. Uyghurs and Han rarely learn much of the other’s language. Han’s consumption of pork and Uyghurs’ strict observance of a pork taboo mean the groups cannot share the food freely and inter-group marriage is virtually nonexistent.

More so, growing numbers of Han have started to out-compete Uyghurs for practically all-material resources and it has resulted in a high unemployment rate amongst Uyghurs. Han dominate the local state apparatus and through it gain preferential access to economic opportunity, capital, jobs, and education.With China’s monumental shift from a socialist economy organized around the work unit to a market economy the importance of state employment has been reduced. This has reduced the government’s power to prevent minority officials from openly discussing their grievances against state policies. At the same time, this has made it easier for Han businesses to hire local minorities by hiring cheap migrant Han laborers, thus causing Uyghurs to feel discriminated against. Discriminatory hiring practices are bound to increase as the market economy expands, bringing with it an increase in ethnic hostilities between Hans and Uyghurs.One can now see that population transfer into Xinjiang has been praised by state planners for making important contributions to agricultural production, urbanization, and border defense, as well as to eventual Uyghur assimilation. However, this assimilation is not popular amongst Uyghurs since they feel their culture is being slowly exiled and it has been a huge factor in the growing sentiment of hostility towards Han peoples.

In addition, Since 1985 more than a thousand Muslims have applied annually from the province of Yunnan alone to undertake the pilgrimage to Mecca, but due to government restrictions, only about two hundred have performed the Hajj, and that too, at their own expense. Without any official statements, the Chinese authorities prevented anyone under the age of forty from going to the Hajj, under the assumption that young people may more easily swayed by fundamentalist ideas.More so, one can see restrictions even more vividly since those under the age of 18 have been denied the right to study Islam. When these elements are added together in a society that highly values religious practice, tensions between Uyghurs and the CCP are even more augmented.

Moreover, it is argued that intellectually as well as practically, the Chinese of the Confucian tradition, which has permeated all throughout China and is the most dominant mode of political thinking in the PRC, cannot tolerate a guest culture such as that of the Muslims in their midst. Author Al-Sin argues that the reasons for this uneasy coexistence could be identified mainly in the wide intellectual hiatus that separated the two communities. For example, until present, Muslims have not accepted the principal of filial piety and have not participated in ceremonies related to worshiping ancestors. This is key in Confucian society. Shin argues that as a result of Muslims rejecting Confucius related ideologies, they have been labeled as “barbaric” in the past and “uncivilized”, a sentiment he feels has carried over into modern day society. More so, he argues that people like the Uyghurs have their own sense of superiority, their own festivals and religious symbolism, their own learning and culture, and need no “uplifting” to the heights of Chinese civilization. Hence, from a Chinese intellectual’s point of view, then, if Confucianism means nothing to the Muslims, then this signifies that they are outside the pale of civilization according to Shin. More specifically, if Uyghurs lack adherence to the Confucian principle of filial piety, as exemplified in their ignorance of ancestor worship, then all the socio-political and religious-ethical tenets that bind Chinese together do not obtain for Muslims.

With that in mind as well as the many of elements added together that have created tension amongst the Uyghurs and the CCP, how does this affect the relations between ethnic Muslim groups like the Uyghurs and Hui and Han Chinese when there is a conflict of ideas and beliefs? For starters, the minority groups begin to feel under-minded by society and feel they lack a voice for their own lives, especially when it comes to opinion and influence with public affairs. One can see that when a group is oppressed, they will resort to acts of protest and in some vases, acts of uprising, which often end in violence- a summary of a few of them which, goes as follows.

Violent Resistance

Many reports of “separatists” being persecuted are often due to some form of religious activity, which as examined before, is heavily censored in China. It is proposed by Christian Tyler that in China, Islam is the chief obstacle to the Uyghurs assimilation and hence, there has been a heavy crackdown on monitoring religious activities by PRC forces. For example, when the Baren riot erupted in 1990, Chinese officials said that it was due to foreign infiltrators, but local people, however, said that the immediate cause of the outburst was the closure of a mosque just before a religious festival. This caused nearly 2,000 people, almost all local Kyrgyz and Hui peasants to gather in village mosques and demand more freedom. As a result, roughly 50 people died and most of the protestors were arrested. Officials emphasize that the event was well planned in advance by separatists hidden in Baren and that there was evidence of a plot to destroy national unity and overthrow the government.

Aside from that, many individual cases have been reported which also are heard from other local Uyghurs, which in turn angers Xinjiang local residents even more. In June 2000, a young Uyghur villager named Yasin Kiver was detained for illegal religious activities. After three months, having paid a fine of 3,000 yuan (approximately US $400), he was released. It is later said that when he returned home Yasin he was summoned to the office of the local Communist party secretary to drink alcohol, which was breaking a religious taboo. He was warned that if he were caught praying again he would be thrown in jail. 17 These kinds of incidents spread like wildfire within Xinjiang and only lead to more negative sentiments about the CCP amongst the local peoples as well as involvement in dissident groups.

Another major factor to the growth of violent resistance has to do with the 9/11 Incident. Since 2001, there has been a global demand for crackdown on terrorism. Even China has used the Incident as a means to join what some people refer to as the “common fight” in order to further get rid of dissent and opposition. Chinese officials strongly condemned the September 11 attacks and announced China would strengthen cooperation with the international community in fighting terrorism on the basis of the UN Charter and international law. China voted in support of both UN Security Council resolutions after the attack. Its vote for Resolution 1368 marked the first time it has voted in favor of authorizing the international use of force.  China also has taken a constructive approach to terrorism problems in South and Central Asia, publicly supporting the Coalition campaign in Afghanistan and using its influence with Pakistan to urge support for multinational efforts against the Taliban and al-Qaida.

More so, Chinese authorities undertook a number of measures to improve China’s counterterrorism posture and domestic security.  These included increasing its vigilance in Xingjiang, where Uyghur separatist groups have conducted violent attacks in recent years, to include increasing the readiness levels of its military and police units in the region.  China also bolstered Chinese regular army units near the borders with Afghanistan and Pakistan to block terrorists fleeing from Afghanistan and strengthening overall domestic preparedness.

The policies in China are clear that they are aimed at ridding the Xinjiang area of separatists and dissidents. However, what this means is that unfortunately, anybody who rejects the CCP could be labeled as “terrorists”. Since Xinjiang is a region full of a great amount of people that do reject the CCP as well as there being a lack of policy with how to deal with separatists, violence is more or less by default built into the system from both sides due to tensions between Muslim in China and unclear policies within the CCP that don’t extend beyond a “zero tolerance” policy. The government has taken claim over a “war of terror”, which in most cases, is simply just a “war of disagreements and misunderstandings” between Uyghurs and the CCP. However, in much rarer cases, due to the Jihad or the holy war that has been taking place for hundreds of years outside the borders of China, Muslims in China are being influenced to take drastic means by joining terrorist groups to revolt against those they feel are oppressing them, which can even be innocent people unrelated to the government.

So now that the reader has a better understanding of the reasons for the tensions between Uyghurs and the government, it is appropriate to examine the groups that have been formed in China that are labeled as opposition or terrorist groups. The Chinese government has alleged that more than a thousand Xinjiang separatists have received terrorist training in Afghanistan and claims to have arrested a hundred foreign-trained terrorists who have made their way back to Xinjiang. How accurate and legitimate these numbers are for discussion and debate. However, one group appears to be at the forefront in which the vast amount of separatists takes part in: the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Party Movement (ETIM).

East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM)

ETIM is a militant Muslim separatist group that is one of the more extreme groups founded by Uyghurs seeking an independent state called East Turkistan. Its identity was exposed when the Chinese authorities executed its putative leader, Alerkan Abula, in January 2001. U.S. officials say that the ETIM is lined to al-Qaeda. The State Department reports that the ETIM has received “training and funding” from Osama bin Laden’s terror network and that ETIM militants fought in the ranks of al-Qaeda against the United States in the Operation Enduring Freedom. U.S. officials are said to have gathered information about Uyghur militants linked to al-Qaeda from twenty-two Uyghurs captured in Afghanistan and detained at the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

In January 2002 a Chinese government study reported that the ETIM has received money, weapons, and support from al-Qaeda. According to the report, some ETIM militants were trained by al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, crossed back into Xinjiang, and set up terrorist cells there. But while experts agree hundreds of Uyghurs left China to join al-Qaeda and its Taliban hosts in Afghanistan, some China specialists doubt the ETIM currently has significant ties to bin Laden’s network. However, many are skeptical of Beijing because they feel Beijing has had a long history of falsifying data, they say, and since September 11 the Chinese have repeatedly tried to paint their own campaign against Uyghur separatists in Xinjiang as a flank of the U.S.-led war on terrorism—and to get Washington to drop its long-standing protests over Chinese human rights abuses in its crackdowns in Xinjiang.

Incidents linked to ETIM

In January 2007, police destroyed a terrorist training camp in the Pamir plateau, killing 18 terrorists and capturing 17. Officers also seized 22 hand grenades, more than 1,500 half-finished grenades and homemade explosives. One officer was killed and another injured in the raid.

Following that, a Chinese police smashed a terrorist gang on January 27, 2008, in Urumqi, the regional capital, killing two and arresting 15. Five police officers were injured during the raid when three homemade grenades were thrown at them.

On March 7, 2008, a 19-year Uyghur attempted to carry out a terrorist attack on a China Southern Airlines flight that left Urumqi for Beijing. The attempt was foiled.

Two terrorists armed with guns, explosives, knives and axes drove a heavy truck onto a team of more than 70 police officers during regular morning exercises in Kashgar on August 4 last year. Seventeen people were killed and 15 injured in the attack four days before the Beijing Olympics.

On August 10, 2008, a series of explosions occurred in supermarkets, hotels and government buildings in Kuqa County, killing a security guard and injuring two policemen. Eight terrorists were shot dead by police while two others killed themselves in suicide bombings.

These are a few of the many examples of terrorist activities that have taken place in Xinjiang. However, whatever the data or standpoints of Uyghurs may be from the Chinese, it is interesting that most Uyghurs according to the U.S. State Department do not support the movement to establish an independent East Turkistan, which by all means is a fair assumption to say the least. 27 Amongst these Uyghurs is a woman names Rebiya Kadeer.

Rebiya Kadeer

Rebiya Kadeer, who was at one time one of the five richest people in China and who is presently known as “Mother of the Uyghurs” has been in exile since 2005. Before that, she was imprisoned for promoting national separatist activities and endangering state security from having participated in the Ghulja protests, which were protests promoting independence in Xinjiang. Although she is considered one of the leading separatists in China along with being accused as the mastermind behind most terrorist attacks in China, she nevertheless, is currently residing in the US, 3 blocks away from the White House and has met and been praised by officials such as Condoleezza Rice as well as former US president, George W. Bush.

Rebiya Kadeer is popular amongst all Uyghurs for standing up for their rights and acting as a voice for the natives of Xinjiang. She is quoted as saying:

“We demand freedom. Today, only a minority of our people hopes for independence. We fight for a true autonomy, such as that demanded by the Dalai Lama for Tibet. And this autonomy can only be obtained within a more general process: that of the democratization of China, one that benefits the whole population, not only the Uyghurs. If they give us liberty, we would be prepared to live with the millions of Han settlers who have been sent to our homeland. My people want free education in their own language, and they want the Chinese government to accept Uyghur culture and traditions and to help preserve them. In addition, my people want to participate in economic life and to know that their religious freedom is protected.”

When asked about violent resistance and the validity of accusing Uyghurs as only perpetrating violence to achieve independence, Kadeer was quoted the following:

“Of course there is resistance against Chinese foreign rule in my country. But it is a peaceful resistance – without violence. No terrorist methods are used. The resistance is absolutely peaceful, but the Chinese government wants the world to think that the political movement among the Uyghurs is violent. But it is simply not true!”

It’s hard to find clear-cut evidence that shows Kadeer being linked to terrorist activity. Some of her family members even came forth and claimed that she had organized certain acts of violence but Kadeer was quick to refute that by stating that her children were held against their will and forced to speak falsely about her. The US government has found no links to her being involved with terrorist groups and many human rights groups respect her highly throughout the world for her enthusiasm and strength for fighting for preserving Uyghur culture. For that, she was even nominated for the Nobel peace prize.

Non-violent Resistance?

Amongst the organizations that support a separatist state in Xinjiang not all are radical; indeed, many do not advocate violence at all. The Washington, D.C.-based Eastern Turkistan National Freedom Center, for instance, lobbies members of Congress on behalf of the Uyghur cause and publishes books and tapes on pan-Turkic nationalism for circulation inside Xinjiang. By doing so, they are trying to promote further awareness of Uyghur culture and customs so that the rest of the world may be exposed as well as be more informed as to what China is culturally and ethnically.

Along with that, a potent and indigenous challenge to China’s version of Xinjiang’s past came after archaeologists discovered dissected corpses in the Talimakan Desert in the 1970’s. These freeze-dried “Xinjiang mummies”, fully clothed in woolen fabrics with felt and leather boots and with hair, eyebrows, and skin intact, was found to be (through carbon dating) 2,000 to 6,000 years old. Western scholars determined that through DNA testing that these brown or blonde-haired people were “Caucasian” in origin, perhaps from the Ukraine region.

Bold Uyghurs immediately claimed these corpses as their ancestors who predated Chinese civilization itself. They argued that these “proto-Uyghurs” and their ancestors were responsible for the very contributions to world civilization of which China is most proud, namely gunpowder, the compass, paper and printing. Furthermore, Uyghur historian Turghun Almas asserted that the corpses substantiated Uyghur Folklore accounts of Uyghurs leaving the Tarim Basin for the Mongolian Steppe when the Tarim Basim desiccated 3,000 to 6,000 years ago. This led him to a bold conclusion: If the Jews could retain their homeland after 2,000 years, the Uyghurs should be able to regain their homeland after 3,000 to 6,000 years.However, this historical argument has been overlooked and is hardly known to the public.

Why China’s Determination?

So why is China so determined to control a province that is far away from it’s national capital? First of all, the location of Xinjiang is important. Xinjiang extends China’s reach to the borders of the Middle East, and simultaneously serves as a security buffer to China. In addition, since the early 1990’s Beijing has been concerned with developing Xinjiang economically to expand and strengthen its economic ties with Central Asia and also to raise the standard of living in Xinjiang. By September 1992 Xinjiang had signed agreements for economic and technological co-operation on 18 projects with 18 Central Asian states for a total investment of US$40 million. China also claims that there will be a lot of geographical, human, and cultural advantages as a result for opening up to the West and developing its border trade will help stimulate Xinjiang’s economy.

In addition, Xinjiang is a region of vast natural resources and immense agricultural potential. China’s most important and as of yet largely unexploited petroleum reserves lie in Xinjiang’s Tarim Basin, and the area’s rich mineral wealth also includes large deposits of gas, iron and coal. The Tarim Basin will no doubt help fuel China’s rapidly growing economy and will also serve as a source for not having to depend on Middle East oil. We can see this now with a major fuel pipeline running from Xinjiang province to the city of Shanghai.

Possible Solutions for Reducing Violence

Violence is continuing to get out of control in Xinjiang and there isn’t a foreseeable future as to how to solve these problems other than the use of violence to fight violence, which clearly isn’t working. More so, Xinjiang is the only province in China known to continue executing political prisoners. Between 1997 and 1999 Amnesty recorded 210 death sentences and 190 executions in the province, mainly of Uyghurs convicted of political and religious crimes.

It is less likely now that Uyghurs will try to make a claim for Xinjiang independence. Although there is strong support throughout Xinjiang for the East Turkistan Movement, Uyghurs as well as other minorities in the region realize it would result in massive bloodshed. It is improbable to think that there would be mass uprisings from the Uyghur community that in the end could somehow defeat Chinese domestic forces. China has strengthened its military to the point where it would be suicidal for Uyghurs or any other ethnic minority in China to declare independence and is not willing to bargain the idea of Xinjiang becoming independent.

A lot of the individual cases of harassment towards Uyghurs, however, are coming from faulty officials that are abusing their power. It needs to be understood that the PRC doesn’t represent all of its local officials and extremists in Xinjiang don’t represent all Uyghurs. However, what needs to be clear is how officials deal with “separatist” cases. First of all, police officers need to be trained more thoroughly and need to have clearer guidelines for dealing with protests in Xinjiang. There is plenty of video footage on the Internet available indicating that officers have resulted to the use of force, albeit unnecessary during non-violent acts of protest. This needs to be changed and improved. Moreover, if people are arrested and sentenced and fined due to illegal activity, they should have the right to a fair trial. Therefore, the right to a lawyer should be allowed for all cases that are represented as “dissident” and “separatist”, which is often not the case. Reforms are thus imperative for China’s judicial system so that not only Uyghurs can have the rights to more fair trials, but also, so that all in China will have those rights.

In addition, rather than allowing the flow of immigration into Xinjiang to remain unchecked, the CCP should regulate it so that primarily Hans do not compete unnecessarily with the locals for jobs, schools, or state services. Beijing should encourage public-sector corporations, oil companies, and government agencies to increase their hiring of ethnic minorities. Quotas for Uyghur admission into colleges and government positions should also be expanded and enforced. The government must also allocate funds fairly among Han and Uyghur neighborhoods. Even more so, cleaning up the area around China’s nuclear test site at Lop Nor in the Taklimakan Desert, where soil and groundwater pollution are causing birth defects and health problems among the local inhabitants, would be another important step.

Furthermore, as guaranteed in the Chinese constitution, the government must uphold religious freedom. Muslim Uyghurs who openly practice their faith complain of harassment by the authorities. The regime must respect Muslim customs and allow the free functioning of mosques and religious schools, interfering only if they are found to be educating or harboring militants. Political changes are required as well: less gerrymandering in favor of Han Chinese among Xinjiang’s administrative units, more proportionate ethnic representation in party and government structures, and more devolution of power from Beijing to the region.

Conclusion

Uyghurs that have acted in violent acts of protest are few compared to the amount that have protested non-violently or that have simply not protested at all. If there is going to be less violence in Xinjiang, then there needs to be more dialogue and interactions between locals in Xinjiang and the CCP in order to understand each others wants and needs more. Both the Uyghurs and Hans need to realize that using violence to solve an issue or to oppress a certain group of people is unproductive and is only escalating more violence. In addition, one should also be aware of that there is a lot of abuse of power and corruption within the CCP’s police force and judicial system. Officers and judges are often unreasonable, corrupted, and do not give fair trials to Uyghurs who are accused of as being separatists. As a result, Uyghurs are being mistreated and this too, often sparks further uprisings. Therefore, if the CCP is willing to become more open to revising its framework for dealing and cooperating with Uyghurs, there will most likely be a decrease in violence from both ends and an increase in stability within Xinjiang, which in the future will benefit more people than it will harm. The CCP also needs to realize that people like Kadeer are being supported internationally for her support of Uyghur rights in China and the region of Xinjiang is becoming more well known to people globally, which is promoting a negative image of China. If both sides can look ahead to working with each other in a more productive manner, then further peace and prosperity will be brought to the Xinjiang region and China’s international image will improve as well. By doing so, this will improve many lives as well as provide further stability within the government and a sense of respect for minorities such as the Uyghurs.

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