If you know anything about China’s domestic social policies in recent years, it is likely related to the Uyghur minority.  China has been widely criticized by governments and activists around the globe for their claimed mistreatment of the these people:

“…China’s aggressive media campaign comes after exposés published by The New York Times and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists about the government’s drive to detain a million or more members of largely Muslim minority groups in indoctrination camps. The reports, which used leaked official documents to reveal the coercive workings of the camps in the northwestern region of Xinjiang, sharpened international criticism of China’s ruling Communist Party.

The pushback from China has escalated in recent days after the United States House of Representatives last week overwhelmingly supported a bill that could impose sanctions on Chinese officials overseeing the internment drive.  SOURCE: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/09/world/asia/china-camps-muslims.html 

But who are they and why is China so afraid of them?

We could write a long article explaining the Chinese Uyghurs history but think that short point form might get you the information you are looking for faster:

Who Are The Uyghurs?

  • han chinese vs uyghur facesUyghurs are an ancient people that have roots in both China and Turkey
  • They do not look like ‘traditional’ Chinese but clearly have Asian biological roots
  • The mostly live in Xinjiang, a massive province consuming about half of the north west quadrant of China
  • There are about 12 million Uyghurs inside China
  • Most importantly, from the Chinese Government perspective, Uyghurs are mostly Muslims

Why is China So Afraid the of the Uyghurs?

  • In the early summer of 2009, about 200 people in Ürümqi Province were killed in riots by primarily young Uyghur men
    • The Peoples Military Police (a domestic military force that operates above the local police) responded by killing an unknown number of Uyghurs in that region which began a cycle of escalating violence
  • In 2014 a knife wielding Uyghur separatists murdered 31 people in the city of Ürümqi train station
    • ‘Real’ Chinese became scared of Uyghur’s and with government support pushed many Uyghurs out of the rest of China back to Xinjiang Province
  • Newly installed Chinese President Xi Jinping was starting to consolidate his power by publicly defining enemies so the Uyghur start to be described as an “infection” and a “cancer” by Chinese politicians, media and Han Chinese

Click to Expand Map2009 to 2019 Modern Uyghur Crises In China Urumqi Kuanming Xinjiang Reeducation Camps

What is The Chinese Government Doing to the Uyghurs?

  • Uyghur China detention Reeducation CampsAbout 10% of Uyghurs have been forcibly put into Chinese detention camps
    • These ‘reeducation facilities’ as the Chinese Government calls them, look very much like prisons
    • Mostly people forced into the camps are young or worldly (i.e professors, business people…) who the Chinese government fears may see the outside/western world democratic freedoms as a risk their dictatorships
  • The Chinese government is often dictating where Uyghurs live and what jobs they can have
  • Since 2009 there has been an increasing crackdown on Uyghurs living outside of their native Xianxang Province, which has forced many to return to Xianxang
    • Having the Uyghurs in one place makes them easier to manage and survail.
  • Perhaps the strangest and most controlling feature of all is that the Chinese government frequently, semi-permeably installed ‘real Chinese’ citizens in Uyghur homes


We hope this dispassionate summary of the Chinese / Uyghur crisis fairly represents both sides of the of the story and helps you develop a fact based reasoned position in this important issue.

Categories: ChinaNews


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