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LECTURE: The Internationalization of China’s Uyghur Issues
December 2013 @ 18:00 - 20:00
The Internationalization of China’s Uyghur Issues
Julie Yu-wen Chen, University College Cork
Tuesday, December 17, 2013 · 6 pm, KWZ, Room 0.607
This lecture explores the operation and coalition-building of Uyghur diasporic organizations in democratic countries. Since some Uyghur organizations have been lent notable legitimacy by liberal democracies and international governmental organizations, they can no longer be considered merely splintered members of a far-flung diaspora locked in a one-sided struggle with Beijing. Uyghur activists can and do use their hard-won legitimacy as legal migrants and asylum seekers to influence politics in their host countries.
And while they pose no direct security threat to the countries they presently reside in, their use of democratic channels in their host countries serve to extend the Uyghur conflict into nations around the world. This study is a timely one, as it shines a light on how an issue concerning a minority in China has been catapulted onto the wider global political stage. For instance, Uyghur organizations have seized on the Obama administration’s pledge to close the Guantanamo Bay prison to boost global awareness of Uyghur issues and call on countries like Germany, Switzerland and Australia to take in Uyghurs who they argue were “unjustly” detained at Guantanamo Bay.Whether the Uyghur lobby is capable of influencing these decisions, which are matters that can only be decided by sovereign states, is less important than the fact that Uyghur groups are able to successfully use the issue to raise their visibility.