This is an ongoing effort to establish an evidence-based picture of what is occurring in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China. Through translation of primary documents, critical analysis and summary of reports, and examination of common objections raised in response, I try to make here the case for considering the crisis in Xinjiang a cultural genocide. This project is aimed at those, particularly among the left, who are skeptical of claims made by predominantly western media and governments where geopolitical motives to falsify or exaggerate problems in China can feasibly exist. Feel free to DM me on Twitter with any questions/corrections!
Part I: Background/preliminary evidence
This section focuses on background to and the early stages of current policy in Xinjiang (up to 2017, the year the crisis is generally considered to have begun), and a critical analysis of the research paper published by Adrian Zenz in 2018 that used Chinese documentation to demonstrate the existence of a widespread network of reeducation camps despite the government’s repeated denials.
Part II: Primary evidence—testimony, leaked documents, satellite imagery; further developments and discoveries
By fall of 2018, Zenz and several other sources, particularly reporters, had forced the Chinese government to pivot from "the camps do not exist" to "these are humane vocational training schools." While China refuses to publish statistics on the number of detainees, it denigrates the notion that there might be as many as one million or more. This section provides translation and/or analysis of a wide variety of evidence—from translations of firsthand accounts by Party cadres, a short table of victim testimony, descriptions of outside visitors' views of Xinjiang, and leaked government documents—to demonstrate the stark holes in this new official narrative.
Part III: Genocide?
Forthcoming. What does genocide mean, and does the term apply to what is happening in Xinjiang? From Part II, we see evidence of a system of internment and incarceration that is coercive, extensive, and per the accounts of many victims and their relatives, thoroughly traumatizing. This on its own, however, does not necessarily mean a genocide is occurring. So what is going on?
▫️ Allegations of forced labor
▫️ Allegations of forced sterilization and coercive birth suppression
▫️ “Genocide” and Xinjiang—what is the appropriate term for the crisis?
Part IV: Answering objections—denialist documents, common arguments, and PRC media depictions
Forthercoming. The following essays are attempts at comprehensive rebuttals to common objections
▫️ But there are no refugees!
▫️ But most Muslim countries support China anyways!
▫️ But there are so many happy, dancing Uyghurs!
▫️ But scale is nowhere near what's claimed by Western sources!
▫️ Addendum: list of pro-Uyghur disinformation and false Western reporting
Conclusion: So what?
▫️ Islamophobia, the War on Terror, and Chinese parallels
▫️ What can other countries do, if anything?
- The Xinjiang Documentation Project at the University of British Columbia, particularly its compendium of primary accounts.
- The Xinjiang Victims Database, particularly its transcribed and translated compendium of testimony and other other primary documents.
- If you're looking for a mega-bibliography, this Google Doc is great, particularly for academic journal articles.
- 寻找更多中文资料的朋友，我很推荐Talking About Xinjiang双语网站。不列顛哥倫比亞大學也提供一些长篇文章的翻译。