Breaking Down the Xinjiang Crisis

The Twitter Left—the only Left that matters, really—is often woefully uninformed on the research that more hardline elements among them work assiduously to discredit. This is an ongoing effort to summarize major documents, reports, and other resources that establish a fairly clear picture of what I have come to believe qualifies as cultural genocide against the Uyghurs in Xinjiang. Done with the help of a cohort of CIA-paid agitprop writers some buddies from college and Twitter and stuff.

This is a work in progress, and some of the context for these documents might be missing if you're unfamiliar with what's going on, though I've tried my best to fill in details as I understand them wherever possible. Feel free to DM me on Twitter with any questions/corrections!

Part I: Early years and preliminary evidence

This section focuses on the early stages of policy in Xinjiang that lead to mass internment, and the research paper published by Zenz in 2018 that significantly increased focus on the crisis. The goal is to provide context for what is happening, which will further be expanded in the coming sections.

Overview of Zenz 2018: "Thoroughly Reforming Them Towards a Healthy Heart Attitude"
Selected contracting documents cited by Zenz
Islamophobia and Party Policy in 2013: Evidence from Turpan
The Extremely Broad 2017 Xinjiang De-extremification Regulations
Qiu 2017: CCP research on mass internment
PRC denial of reeducation centers at the UN

Part II: Primary evidence—testimony, leaked documents, satellite imagery, and more

The Xinjiang Papers
Evidence from Party cadres

▫️Additional leaked documentation: ICIJ China Cables

▫️ Satellite imagery of camps: what it does and does not prove

▫️ Evidence mosque and cultural heritage destruction

▫️ Testimony from Xinjiang: who do we believe, and why?

Part III: Answering objections—denialist documents, common arguments, and PRC media depictions


▫️Most Muslim countries support China anyways

▫️Chinese media and independent sources show that these camps are humane

▫️This is an attempt to smear China by the West through compliant think tanks

▫️The satellite imagery is imperfect, easily manipulated, and unreliable

▫️The scale is nowhere near what's claimed by Western sources

▫️Miscellaneous objections thrown around on Twitter

Part IV: So what?

Even forthercoming!

▫️Islamophobia, the War on Terror, and Chinese parallels

▫️Genocide and Xinjiang—what is the appropriate term for the crisis?

▫️What can other countries do, if anything?

Other things you can take a look at:

Why would some people lie?
Why would some people lie?
  • The Xinjiang Documentation Project at the University of British Columbia, particularly its compendium of primary accounts
  • The Xinjiang Victims Database, which attempts to document and catalog alleged victims and sort their testimony (or more often, relatives' testimony) based on corroborating evidence
  • If you're looking for a mega-bibliography, this Google Doc is great, but some of the resources presuppose a familiarity with the region/PRC/Mandarin to varying degrees, which might be overwhelming if you aren't someone like me who knows everything about China, ever.