Who are the Uyghurs?

Do you really know?

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Who are the Uyghurs?

Do you really know?

Who are the Uyghurs? Thanks for asking!

The Uyghurs are a Turkish-speaking Muslim ethnic group. Some 11 million live in the Xinjiang autonomous region of northwestern China. They are one of 56 ethnic groups living in the country.

For decades now, the Uyghurs have been subjected to systemic discrimination and intrusive surveillance from the Chinese authorities. But only in the last few years has the issue really been discussed at an international level. Human rights groups have repeatedly demanded official explanations of the repressive measures implemented.

When did repression of the Uyghurs in Xinjiang start?

Back when the People’s Republic of China was declared by Mao Zedong in 1949, Uyghurs made up 75% of the Xinjiang region’s population. In 2010 that figure had dropped to 45%, compared to 40% of the Han Chinese majority ethnic group.

It’s claimed that the Chinese powers set out to deliberately repopulate Xinjiang with Han Chinese, and diminish the presence of minorities.

Relations between the Hans and Uyghurs have been complicated since the 18th century. The Xinjiang Independence movement has long sought to establish the region as a homeland for the Uyghurs, wishing to rename it East Turkistan.

In response to the movement’s growth in the late 20th century, as well as 9/11, the Chinese government started introducing counter-measures. Last year, the New York Times obtained hundreds of pages of leaked Communist Party documents which exposed the intentional crackdown on Muslims. 

These included secret speeches from Chinese President Xi Jinping, who expressed his wish to be much harsher and show no pity, after a Uyghur terrorist attack killed 31 people at a train station in 2014. In 2016, he appointed a new party leader to the region, charged with “deradicalising” its inhabitants.

 

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Who are the Uyghurs? Thanks for asking!

The Uyghurs are a Turkish-speaking Muslim ethnic group. Some 11 million live in the Xinjiang autonomous region of northwestern China. They are one of 56 ethnic groups living in the country.

For decades now, the Uyghurs have been subjected to systemic discrimination and intrusive surveillance from the Chinese authorities. But only in the last few years has the issue really been discussed at an international level. Human rights groups have repeatedly demanded official explanations of the repressive measures implemented.

When did repression of the Uyghurs in Xinjiang start?

Back when the People’s Republic of China was declared by Mao Zedong in 1949, Uyghurs made up 75% of the Xinjiang region’s population. In 2010 that figure had dropped to 45%, compared to 40% of the Han Chinese majority ethnic group.

It’s claimed that the Chinese powers set out to deliberately repopulate Xinjiang with Han Chinese, and diminish the presence of minorities.

Relations between the Hans and Uyghurs have been complicated since the 18th century. The Xinjiang Independence movement has long sought to establish the region as a homeland for the Uyghurs, wishing to rename it East Turkistan.

In response to the movement’s growth in the late 20th century, as well as 9/11, the Chinese government started introducing counter-measures. Last year, the New York Times obtained hundreds of pages of leaked Communist Party documents which exposed the intentional crackdown on Muslims. 

These included secret speeches from Chinese President Xi Jinping, who expressed his wish to be much harsher and show no pity, after a Uyghur terrorist attack killed 31 people at a train station in 2014. In 2016, he appointed a new party leader to the region, charged with “deradicalising” its inhabitants.

 

See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

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