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CeMEAS Lecture: The Uighur Separatist Movement – Its Past, Present and Future
April 2016 @ 17:00 - 19:00
The Uighur Separatist Movement – Its Past, Present and Future
Monday, April 25, 2016, 5 pm (c.t.) KWZ 3.701
Jeremy Gong, PhD candidate
Department of War Studies, King’s College, London
Over the past years China has claimed itself to be a victim of terrorist activities perpetrated by members of the Uighur Separatist Movement (USM), who were blamed for atrocities in Chinese cities of Urumqi, Kunming and so on. In response Chinese authorities have militarised Xinjiang Province and expressed desire to be included in the US-led alliance fighting Global War on Terror. Who are the Uighur people? Why do they want independence from China? Why have they taken up armed struggle against the Han Chinese? Are they terrorists or freedom fighters? Unsurprisingly media reports on the USM in the West are filled with colonial narratives, which have been provided by experts with little interest in the history of the Uighur nation or the development of the modern Chinese state. This talk intends to bring in a historical dimension to analysis of the USM to help scholars better understand the rise of Uighur militancy. Although it does not seek to find a solution to violence associated to the USM, it invites scholars to examine China’s claim over Uighur’s territory, evaluate China’s current policy on ethnic Muslim minorities and perhaps predict the future direction of such protracted conflict between the Han Chinese and the Uighur people.