June 15, 2021

The Roots of Cultural Genocide in China’s Xinjiang Province

Dr. Sean Roberts

The plight of the Uyghurs models closely the struggle of many oppressed indigenous groups—sociopolitical repression, forced reeducation, displacement, reproductive restriction/ethnic dilution. In efforts to justify the state-consolidating tactic of minority repression, the Chinese government has used international events like 9/11 as a springboard for aggressive surveillance and policing in its Northwest region. Following the pattern of previous colonizing forces—Britain, France, Spain, the United States, etc.—Dr. Roberts says that the Chinese are using a complex of depressionary policies to “dismantle the collective identity of indigenous peoples,” pacify resistance from outside observers, and displace the people who have legitimate claims to this land.

Dr. Sean Roberts discusses the historical and current implications of the genocide of the Uyghur population in the People’s Republic of China (PRC). The Uyghur population is a Muslim ethnic group in the PRC making up a small percent of the population. Roberts outlines specifically how the War on Terror in the United States prompted an increase in violence against the Uyghur people based on considering them a terrorist organization. The conflict has escalated in the years since 9/11 with the PRC forcing Uyghur people into internment camps and trying to minimize and displace their population. He advises that to take action on this issue the United States needs de-couple this issue from international geopolitical issues and take a stronger response.

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