Voices from the Bottom: A Case Study of Detained Kazakhs in Xinjiang (78472)

Session Information: Immigration, Refugees, Race, Nation
Session Chair: Rita Dhungel

Saturday, 25 May 2024 13:20
Session: Session 3
Room: Room 604
Presentation Type: Oral Presentation

All presentation times are UTC + 9 (Asia/Tokyo)

This research concerns itself with an oft-overlooked subject: the plight of China-born Kazakhs. Though media and scholarly attention has tended to coalesce on the mass detention of Uyghurs in “reeducation camps,” tens of thousands of China-born Kazakhs—many of them holding either Kazakhstani citizenship or permanent residence—have ended up in the same camps. Yet given their vastly different historical, ethnic, and religious backgrounds, speak nothing of citizenship status, it is difficult for China to transpose its reasoning for targeting Uyghurs—an all-encompassing desire to fight the ‘three evil forces’ of religious extremism, terrorism, and separatism –onto the Kazakhs. Thus, this research seeks to unearth the true motivations behind the targeting of China-born Kazakhs by China’s state security apparatus. It does so by collating information from personal testimonies from camp survivors and their family members and interviews with two Kazakhstan-born human rights workers who have been instrumental in collecting these testimonies and bringing the issue of the detention of China-born Kazakhs to light. Then these testimonies are verified and contextualized via a wider examination of China’s minority policies in Xinjiang and elsewhere, along with recent developments in Kazakhstan-China relations, using official documents, media reports, and secondary academic sources. Ultimately, the research concludes that China has starkly different motivations in targeting China-born Kazakhs; these motivations have less to do with internal stability and de-radicalization and are more underpinned by financial incentives within Xinjiang and the ways in which Kazakh emigration impacts the concept of the Chinese nation, as imagined by the CCP.

Yu-Chen Chen, York University, Canada

About the Presenter(s)
Yu-Chen Chen is a PhD candidate in Political Science at York University,Toronto, Canada.

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Posted by Clive Staples Lewis

Last updated: 2023-02-23 23:45:00