Language policy and ethnic conflict in China

Written by Wenfang Tang. Ethnic conflict has been on the rise in recent years in China, despite Chinese media portrayals of ethnic harmony. One commonly cited reason for such conflict by Western observers is economic inequality between the Han majority and the ethnic minorities. However, such inequality and the subsequent ethnic tension are a result of …

“Terrorism” or Terrorism in Xinjiang?

Written by Oana Burcu. A decade after 9/11 focused attention on terrorism, there is still no common understanding or definition of what terrorism is. To add another layer of complexity, the use of language in media and political discourses further increases misunderstandings and creates misperceptions. For instance, western media outlets came under criticism from China when …

On Ilham Tohti

Written by Jackie Sheehan. Can anyone produce a genuine, verified statement by Ilham Tohti supporting independence for Xinjiang or advocating violence by Uyghurs? The answer is no, because he has never done so. The guilty verdict against respected Uyghur economist and writer Ilham Tohti was a foregone conclusion, and holding the trial in Xinjiang when …

Pakistan and Beijing’s Xinjiang Problem

Written by Rizwan Zeb. Xinjiang holds immense strategic significance for Beijing. It is also increasingly vulnerable as the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM) continues its armed resistance against Beijing and seeks the establishment of a Muslim caliphate in East Turkistan as they call it. Some people believe that ETIM was responsible for a series of bomb blasts …

A reappraisal of Pakistan-China relations

Written by Filippo Boni. The turmoil in Islamabad since 14 August, where protests led by the cleric Tahir-ul Qadri and the former cricket player Imran Khan brought violence into Islamabad’s red zone, has plunged Pakistan into political chaos yet again. Despite the elections in 2013, an historic moment as for the first time in the country’s history …

A tale of two border towns

Written by Alessandro Rippa For those who are accustomed to the experience of crossing land borders, particularly in the remote and mountainous regions of Central Asia, the idea that borders grow and spread into the territories they are meant to enclose is accepted knowledge. For instance, the Sino-Pakistani border at Khunjerab Pass expands to the 200-plus …

Strategic Ties Between China and Pakistan

Written by Ehsan M. Ahrari. One characterization of China-Pakistan ties is to label the relationship an “all weather alliance.” A more realistic depiction of it is to portray it as kaleidoscopic in nature. In such a relationship, China remains the dominant partner. However, even in that capacity, it seems to have concluded that the significance of …

China’s ethnic policies: are we on the same page yet?

Written by Jackie Sheehan. In the run-up to this year’s “two meetings” in Beijing, a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) said an interesting thing (they warned us the Year of the Horse would be full of surprises): Zhu Weiqun, chairman of the CPPCC’s ethnic and religious affairs committee, stated that China …

Xinjiang Dreams: Worrying about ethnicity

Written by David Tobin. The ethnically targeted violence of July 2009 in Ürümchi overshadowed the lead-up to the 60th anniversary of the founding of the PRC. Uyghurs and Han were both victims and perpetrators and official figures claimed 197 people were killed (See here, here and here). The violence suggested that ethnic relations remain an important …

The Tiananmen crash: what just happened?

Written by Jackie Sheehan. So far little has been said on the record about the crash of a jeep carrying three people into the marble balustrade at the entrance to the Forbidden City, in which a total of five were killed and 38 injured. Terrorism or not, it was certainly terrifying for those in the …