The Uyghurs: Strangers in Their Own Land by Gardner Bovingdon

By Gardner Bovingdon

For greater than part a century many Uyghurs, contributors of a Muslim minority in northwestern China, have sought to accomplish larger autonomy or outright independence. but the chinese language govt has continuously resisted those efforts, countering with repression and a cosmopolitan technique of state-sanctioned propaganda emphasizing interethnic concord and chinese language nationalism. After many years of fight, Uyghurs stay captivated with developing and increasing their energy inside of govt, and China's leaders proceed to beat back, refusing to concede any actual or political ground.

Beginning with the historical past of Xinjiang and its specific inhabitants of chinese language Muslims, Gardner Bovingdon follows fifty years of Uyghur discontent, really the advance of person and collective acts of resistance considering the fact that 1949, in addition to the position of assorted transnational companies in cultivating dissent. Bovingdon's paintings offers clean perception into the practices of kingdom development and kingdom tough, not just in terms of Xinjiang but additionally in connection with different areas of clash. His paintings highlights the impact of overseas associations on starting to be nearby autonomy and underscores the function of illustration in nationalist politics, in addition to the neighborhood, nearby, and international implications of the "war on terror" on antistate hobbies. whereas either the chinese language country and overseas analysts have portrayed Uyghur activists as Muslim terrorists, situating them inside international terrorist networks, Bovingdon argues that those assumptions are incorrect, drawing a transparent line among Islamist ideology and Uyghur nationhood.

(9/24/10)

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Indd 14 5/7/10 9:27:57 PM introduction 1960s they placed class above all else. During the Cultural Revolution, the Gang of Four promulgated the notion that all group conflicts ultimately boiled down to problems of class. Officials worked to further weaken ethnonational loyalties by inviting women from all groups to join women’s associations. During the high socialist era, bureaus and work units tried to replace solidary with political ties by rewarding individuals willing to show enthusiasm for the regime (Oi 1989; Walder 1986); this certainly was true of party and government administrations in Xinjiang (McMillen 1979; Toops 1992).

Social groups underrepresented among my informants included farmers and very religious people. indd 17 5/7/10 9:27:58 PM introduction I spent much of my time in Xinjiang’s capital city of Ürümci, where I was formally registered as an advanced postgraduate student at Xinjiang University for several months in 1994 and again for the academic years 1995/1996 and 1996/1997. During those periods I studied oral and written Uyghur more or less daily for several hours with a single instructor. Personnel in the university’s Foreign Affairs Office (waishi bangongshi) made clear from the start that they were responsible for me and, in that capacity, offered strong advice about where I could travel and with whom I could interact.

The “unification” of many peoples under the rule of powerful dynasties and harmonious relations among the laboring ranks of those peoples were the main currents of Chinese history. 16 Official Chinese histories of the Uyghurs used these narrative strategies to prove that Uyghurs had been part of China’s “great family of minzu” from the moment of their emergence and never ceased to be so (Liu Zhixiao 1985, 1986; “Weiwu’erzu jianshi” bianxiezu 1991). In asserting that Uyghurs had never separated from the “Chinese nation” in the past, they sought to demonstrate that they could never do so in the future.

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