by Kilic Kanat
August 04, 2014
A series of violent incidents in China’s northwestern province of Xinjiang involving the Turkic Muslim group known as Uyghurs and the Han Chinese, have led some to accuse the Uyghurs of growing radicalization. There is no dispute that the Uyghurs have grown increasingly disgruntled, but there has always been a compelling case that it is Beijing’s repressive policies – not the transnational jihadist movement – that is the primary cause of the tensions and conflict in Xinjiang today. Because the Chinese government suppresses information on these attacks, it is difficult to assess the extent to which radicalization has played a role. However, the lack of Western support for Uyghur rights leaves the Uyghurs increasingly isolated and alone. With no options for making a better future for themselves in their homeland, a new generation of Uyghurs will increasingly find themselves squeezed between a repressive Chinese government and the temptations of radicalism.