onsdag 31. juli 2019

Bearing Witness 10 Years On: The July 2009 Riots in Xinjiang

Ten years ago this month, Xinjiang experienced deadly riots caused by ethnic unrest, one of many turning points in the Chinese government’s increasingly draconian rule over the region home to the Uyghur ethnic group. I was in Xinjiang at the time as a tourist on break from a study abroad program in eastern China, and our group ended up being one of the last to remain in the region.

 Looking back, it was impossible to know then that the Chinese government would eventually detain an estimated 1.5 million people in what senior U.S. officials have described as a “systematic campaign of oppression” that includes the “mass imprisonment of Chinese Muslims in concentration camps.” Yet the response I witnessed by the Chinese government with force and oppression did chart the way forward for its worsening treatment of Uyghurs and other minority groups.