CSR Blog: The Xinjiang Conflict: Analysis of the ethnic clash through an insurgency and counterinsurgency lens

By Michael Akopian

For over seventy years, the Uyghur population in China’s northwest Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) has been on the receiving end of various cultural eradication, assimilation, and security measures at the hands of the Chinese Communist Party. Finally reaching a critical point in the 1990s, Uyghur extremist attacks and general ethnic conflict during the decade were met with strong punitive measures and security campaigns by the government in the name of unity and national security. Since then, Chinese government attempts to suppress the Uyghur identity have resulted in mass reeducation and detainment camps and allegations of genocide of the Uyghur people.1 Looking at the conflict through an insurgency and counterinsurgency lens will shed light on potential paths that the conflict may take in the future.

 The CIA’s Guide to the Analysis of an Insurgency outlines the various requirements for each of the four stages of an insurgency — preinsurgency, incipient conflict, open insurgency, and resolution. The back and forth nature of the conflict, along with the variety of small Uyghur extremist groups with various motivations may cause some uncertainty as to where the conflict currently is on the “insurgency timeline”. The Uyghur community in Xinjiang exhibits a variety of hallmarks of the preinsurgency stage, such as pre-existing conditions, grievances, and group identity.2 The presence of terrorist violence, such as bombings, from the 1990s onwards, support from the civilian Uyghur community, and external logistical support from al-Qaeda and the Taliban suggests that the insurgency may be in the incipient conflict stage.3,4 Though happening less since the mass-detention campaign in 2017, past attacks on infrastructure do indicate that the insurgency at one point was in the open insurgency stage.

For the Chinese government, the counterinsurgents in this scenario, David Galula’s Counterinsurgency Warfare: Theory and Practice provides eight steps for a counterinsurgency force to successfully combat an insurgency.5 The Chinese state’s political and security mechanisms have partially exhibited the eight steps Galula outlines to varying degrees of success. Destruction or expulsion of the insurgent forces — Galula’s first step — may not be fully attainable due to some of the militant groups’ presence outside of China’s borders.6 The heavy police presence and invasive surveillance currently in place provincewide as the “static unit” and population control units is called for by Galula in his second and third steps.7 However, the heavy-handed policing by the government may be counterproductive as it alienates Uyghur civilians who may provide needed intelligence. The monopoly on political power that the CCP enjoys over Chinese politics removes steps four through seven, that call for the destruction of the insurgent political group and creation of a more mainstream political party to pacify a group that may otherwise resort to violence to make their voices heard.8 Finally, the eighth step — winning over or suppressing the last guerrillas — is not yet attainable for the counterinsurgents due to the large pockets of Uyghurs within China as well as the potential threat of militant actions originating from outside of China’s borders.9 It is important to make the distinction that not all Uyghurs in Xinjiang wish to fully secede from China and that the Uyghur militants make up a small fraction of the overall Uyghur community. 

The two texts’ timelines suggest that there is still room for the insurgency and counterinsurgency to develop further. The recent extreme actions taken by the CCP to curtail the Xinjiang Uyghur community’s freedom — namely mass detention, forced reeducation programs, sterilization of women, and significant infringements on privacy rights — may be a significant step toward eradicating the insurgency, along with a non-insurgent Uyghur population.

Timeline of Uyghur-Han Relations

To examine the Xinjiang conflict through an insurgency-counterinsurgency lens, the history of the conflict will be separated into two distinct periods, the rise of the insurgency and the rise of the counterinsurgency. The roots of the insurgency can be traced back to 1933. A Uyghur attempt to create an independent republic was suppressed and followed by Chinese government policies to quell secessionist sentiment in the region. The counterinsurgency, on the other hand, initially formed as a response to Uyghur riots in the 1990s.

Rise of the Insurgency

The evolution of the Uyghur insurgency stems from the Chinese state’s response to the 1933 and 1944 attempts to establish an independent Uyghur state, the First and Second East Turkestan Republics; the second of which was backed by the Soviet Union. 

In 1949, Xinjiang was included in the newly-formed People’s Republic of China and in 1950 Han Chinese — the ethnicity that makes up the overwhelming majority of the Chinese population — immigrated to the region  and introduced land reform programs.10 The Han immigration program moved large groups of Han into Xinjiang in various administrative and government capacities to develop the infrastructure of the region. The land reform programs resulted in government confiscation of mosque lands in an attempt to “break down the traditional social structure and political and religious authority.”11 By 1970, Han Chinese living in Xinjiang made up 40% of the population, up from 5.5% in 1949.12 

In 1955, the province was designated as the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, providing the numerous minority groups in the area — despite the Uyghur-specific autonomous designation — three specific powers.13 Autonomous legislation powers allow the region to propose regulations based on the “political, economic and cultural characteristics” of the nationalities present in the region to a committee for approval.14 The special personnel arrangements allow for self-governance through local people’s congresses and governments, and require the proportional inclusivity of other recognized minority ethnic groups in the local government. The other granted autonomous powers include the independent management of ethnic groups’ internal affairs and the use and development of the languages, religion, and customs of ethnic groups.15 Despite the autonomy granted to recognized ethnic groups, enforceability of these laws is questionable as “no effective legal or political mechanisms exist to ensure that autonomous areas may exercise their powers unmolested.16

The Great Leap Forward (1958-1962) was a campaign led by Mao Zedong to support the labor resources for mass-industrialization, mostly by increasing agricultural output. The campaign’s failed implementation resulted in the Great Chinese Famine (1959-1961) where an estimated tens of millions of people died from starvation. In 1962, more than 67,000 Xinjiang inhabitants, mostly Kazakhs and Uyghurs, attempted to cross into the Soviet Republic of Kazakhstan for a variety of reasons including the lack of food but also tightening controls on regional autonomy and the inflow of Han Chinese into the region.17 Seemingly in response to this, “local nationalists” and community leaders – both Han and Uyghur – sympathetic to the USSR were “systematically criticized and bazaars and Islamic organizations closed down.”18 These newly introduced policies were more radical and less sensitive to “local feelings.”19 

The subsequent Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) attempted to purge non-Chinese communist thought from China. Many ethnic minorities were persecuted, with Uyghurs facing significant cultural crackdowns. One act of cultural suppression was the closing of all minority nationality schools and forcing minority children to attend Han schools, where they were taught the Chinese language and Han customs.20 As part of the Revolution, forms of worship — including Islam — were outlawed. Copies of the Quran were burned, mosques were defaced and closed, Muslims were not allowed to participate in the hajj pilgrimage, and Muslim clerics were jailed.21,22

Introduced in 1979, the One Child Policy was developed to control the population growth in China at the time. In urban areas, Han couples were allowed to have one child, while urban minority couples were allowed to have two.23 Although ethnic minority couples were permitted to have more children than Han couples, minority couples still viewed the One Child Policy as “partly designed to reduce their numbers” and strengthen the dominance of the Han ethnic majority.24 In 2017, the XUAR announced that Han couples would be allowed to have two children, a policy change that Time magazine called “likely to be viewed as an attempt to increase the Han population and further isolate Uighurs.”25

The steady inflow of Han Chinese into Xinjiang since 1950 has contributed to the Uyghur perception that the Hans are “reinforcing a colonial rule, monopolizing local natural resources, and accumulating wealth by exploiting minorities.”26 The policies introduced over the past seventy years have contributed to disproportionate growth rates that have significantly hampered Uyghur progress. The income gap between the Uyghur and Han communities, the disparity in quality of life, and the domination of high-skill service jobs by the Han in a region specifically designated for the Uyghur ethnic minority all demonstrate the lasting effects of the policies introduced since the formation of the People’s Republic of China.27 The constant pressure placed on the Uyghur population in Xinjiang has resulted in protests and violent confrontations that, in turn, incited a heavy-handed response from the Chinese government. 

Rise of the Counter-Insurgency

Despite the anti-Uyghur policies that have been enacted for over seventy years, an actual counter-insurgency in the form of police or military action did not emerge until the tail end of the twentieth century. A series of Uyghur student demonstrations broke out in 1985 and 1986, advocating for independence and a decrease in Chinese nationalist policies.28 The following decade, a series of riots led to the first significant security response by the state. The 1990 Baren Township riot, which allegedly began as a Uyghur protest against Han migration. The subsequent 1992 and 1993 bombings by small Islamist jihadist groups, and the 1997 Urumqi bombings, led to a national anti-crime crackdown, the “Strike Hard” campaign.29

Considered a turning point in the CCP’s approach toward the Uyghurs, the “Strike Hard” campaign intended to stabilize a Xinjiang that was rocked by violent attacks. A 1996 directive by the Standing Committee of the CCP Politburo,Document No.7, which outlined religious controls including limiting the building of new mosques, appointing CCP loyalists to leading religious positions in Xinjiang, and expressing the need for military and security reinforcements in the region.30 After the February 1997 Yining riots, convicted rioters were executed, local politicians were purged, and the People’s Liberation Army was deployed to squash any potential uprising.31,32 Between Spring 1999 and Fall 2001, a series of “strong-arm police operations” was launched, resulting in thousands of arrests and human rights violations, including the wanton use of the death penalty.33

CCP-Uyghur Relations Post-9/11

The September 11th terrorist attacks marked another turning point in the relations between the Uyghur community in Xinjiang and the CCP. At a session of the United Nations Security Council on November 12th, 2001, China claimed that various Uyghur groups had links to the Taliban and were supported by radical Islamist groups.34 By tying the Uyghur community to the global war on terror, the Chinese government was able to successfully legitimize its actions against the Uyghur community in the eyes of foreign nations. The United States and the United Nations both labelled the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM) — a militant Uyghur group committed to creating an independent Uyghur state in Xinjiang — as “designated terrorist organizations” in 2002, and other countries followed suit.35 

Despite these allegations, there is no evidence that Salafism — a radical Islamic ideology affiliated with groups such as al-Qaeda and ISIS — has “taken root to any significant extent” in Xinjiang among the Uyghur civilians.36,37 Historically, the Uyghur community has practiced a moderate form of Islam, characterized by a “tolerant and open version of Muslim faith” and rights granted to women — such as the right to initiate divorce and own businesses — that other branches of Islam do not have.38

The CCP followed their initial allegation at the UN with a series of reports released in 2002 and 2003 aimed at an international audience, detailing the activities of Uyghur groups and, at times, blurring the line between actions deemed “extremist” and those that were simply criminal.39

Domestically, the CCP expanded its menu of anti-Uyghur actions in 2002 to include campaigns against the spread of Uyghur ideology. The crackdown limited the Uyghur community’s use of news media, literature, art, and other forms of media that could spread “propaganda.”40 Various Uyghur artists, writers, and poets were convicted on the basis of secessionism and sentenced to long prison sentences.41 More recent forms of cultural suppression include the ban of “abnormal beards” and full-face coverings in 2017.42 Despite the heavy-handed response — or maybe because of it — violent acts by militant Uyghur groups and mis-managed protests that escalated to violence persisted.

From 2009 to 2017, small instances of violence occurred periodically. Though not as common, larger and more high-profile events such as the 2009 Urumqi riots, 2012 Yecheng attacks, and 2014 Kunming Station attacks also took place.43 This time period also saw the growth of violent activity outside of Xinjiang, including the 2013 Tiananmen Square vehicle ploughing — a potential sign of an insurgency gaining confidence. During this time period, some acts of violence evolved from mass stabbings to the use of explosives in suicide bombings despite the tight measures on explosives control in Xinjiang and on the borders.44

In response to nearly eight years of attacks, the Chinese state rapidly increased its level of security infrastructure in Xinjiang. Now alleged to be “one of the most closely surveilled places on earth,” security checkpoints, facial scanners, smartphone decryptors, and even the need to present identification to perform mundane tasks like refueling are commonplace in Xinjiang.45 Other forms of surveillance include iris scanners, CCTV cameras with face and voice recognition, and DNA sampling.46 While security infrastructure was in place before, in 2017 the CCP expanded its policies from individualized repression to collective repression, widening the scope of who is targeted by surveillance.47 With this expansion came discussions among the CCP of a “re-education-based, five-year strategy designed to produce ‘comprehensive stability’ in the region.”48

CCP-Uyghur Relations: 2017 – Present

On August 10th, 2018 the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination announced credible reports that one million Uyghurs in China were being held in internment camps.49 These camps, also called “political education centers,” forced inmates through an indoctrination and interrogation program that aimed to create “secular and loyal supporters of the party.”50,51 Inmates are given language and ideological training and are forced to participate in military-style drills.52 These detainees – today numbering close to 3 million out of a Uyghur population in Xinjiang of 10 million – have reportedly been held in administrative detention without trial or charges brought against them.53,54 Children of detainees are sent to schools that force the learning of Mandarin Chinese and prevent the practice of their religion in a “systemic campaign of social re-engineering and cultural genocide.”55

In February 2021, allegations of rampant torture and sexual abuse in the camps and the mass-sterilization of women to suppress population growth were published by various news organizations. Former detainees have described the culture of sexual assault and alleged the forced fitting of IUDs or sterilization in the camps.56 Though many nations and international humanitarian organizations have criticized the Chinese government for its surveillance and camps, it remains to be seen if these new allegations will cause a greater outcry on the international stage.57 Since 2017, 380 camps have been built. In 2019 and 2020, new facilities have been constructed and existing ones have expanded.58

Analysis of the Uyghur Insurgency

Originally published in the 1980s, the CIA’s 2012 edition of the Guide to the Analysis of Insurgency provides a framework through which insurgencies can be analyzed. Though it stresses that no two insurgencies are alike, the guide does argue  that most pass through the same stages of an insurgency life cycle. The Guide outlines four stages that insurgencies face: the preinsurgency stage, incipient conflict stage, open conflict stage, and the resolution stage where the main insurgency life cycle ends.

Preinsurgency Stage

An insurgency in the preinsurgency stage is nascent, finding its footing by identifying pre-existing conditions to serve as grievances and the formulation of group identity. An insurgency in this stage is developing leaders of the movement and recruiting and training militants.

The tumultuous seventy-year relationship between the Uyghur community and the CCP –  harsh response to the protests and riots in the 1990s – easily serves as a pre-existing condition and grievance given the constant stream of policies aimed at suppressing Uyghur culture. The growing circulation of media and propaganda that the state targeted in the 2002 crackdown is also an indicator of a grievance being formulated. Formulating a group identity in this stage is simple as well due to the official ethnic minority designation the Uyghurs have. Cultural suppression policies adopted by the state as well as the indiscriminate surveillance and policing methods employed targeted the Uyghur community as a whole also strengthened their group identity.

The existence of a leader and the recruitment and training of Uyghurs were confirmed by a 2003 raid by the Pakistani Army on a suspected al-Qaeda training camp, killing Hassan Makhdum.59 Makhdum, the Second Emir of the East Turkestan Islamic Party, was involved in the training of militants and received funding from al-Qaeda.60 Al-Qaeda support for the insurgency suggests that at this point the insurgency has reached the incipient conflict stage.

Incipient Conflict Stage

The incipient conflict stage is marked by the insurgents’ use of violence. This stage is considered the most dangerous for insurgents because they have made their presence known via attacks, but are still forming their movement and thus vulnerable to counterinsurgency operations. The population is starting to support the insurgents (there is evidence of external support) and violent acts are asymmetrical. 

Intelligence on Uyghur activity has been limited by the Han community’s inability to provide useful information and, more importantly, by the Uyghur community not cooperating with police.61 The lack of evidence that the civilian Uyghur community is being pressured to help the militants suggests that their support is genuine and that the state is not providing them enough incentive to cooperate.62 Support from external organizations is seen in al-Qaeda’s support of training facilities, as mentioned previously. The cooperation between the Taliban and Uyghur militant groups suggests a deeper partnership.63

A string of insurgent attacks in the mid-to-late 2000s consisted of suicide attacks with rudimentary weapons. Despite attempts to smuggle weapons in from neighboring countries, strict Chinese laws surrounding weapons ownership prevented the insurgency from accessing weapons that could have resulted in a greater insurgent impact.64 In the face of limited access to weapons, Uyghur insurgents were forced to use what they could during the open insurgency stage.

Four Stages of an Insurgency (Source: CIA, Guide to the Analysis of an Insurgency, 22)

Open Insurgency Stage

At this point in the life cycle, “no doubt exists that the government is facing an insurgency.”65 Though there are three characteristics to this stage — political, military, and external — the Uyghur insurgency has only exhibited the military characteristic, based on the strength of the Chinese state and its security response.

In this stage, attacks are more frequent, still in the form of guerrilla operations and often targeted at police units and government infrastructure. From 2009 to 2017, the frequency of attacks increased, particularly in 2014 when there were nine notable events. Compared to the 1990s, when there were only a handful of riots reported, this indicates a significant escalation. Additionally, while many/most acts of violence still relied on blades and stolen trucks in the face of strict laws, suicide bombings became more common. In May 2014, suicide bombers drove two cars into an Urumqi market, killing 43 people. It was the deadliest attack up to that point in the Xinjiang conflict.66 Other notable attacks during this period included a 2013 attack on Tiananmen Square and the 2014 attack in Kunming Railway Station attack. These specific incidents show that the insurgency was no longer limited to Xinjiang. It has expanded in its scope, and was also marked by a tendency to attack infrastructure and government symbols.

Previous external support from al-Qaeda and the Taliban did not manifest in an increase in the Uyghur militants’ reach, as seen by only one notable attack outside of Xinjiang, and politically the insurgency did not challenge the state’s control of the region, likely due to the state security presence.

Resolution Stage

The resolution comes in one of three ways: insurgent victory, negotiated settlement, or counterinsurgency victory. Since the sweeping and severe security crackdown in 2017, attacks have been rare. Despite the militant groups’ presence outside of China, the security increase – notably the mass internment of Uyghurs in Xinjiang  – has significantly impacted the insurgents’ ability to conduct their operations. The Chinese government’s brutal response to the insurgency, as outlined in the next section, has swayed the resolution stage firmly in the direction of a counterinsurgency victory.

The Uyghur insurgency has not exhibited every aspect of each stage. The Uyghur insurgency was not as successful as it could have been is partially a result of the Chinese security mechanisms that have been in place before the insurgency entered the open insurgency stage. Looking at the specific counterinsurgency steps taken by the Chinese state will shed light on how the insurgency ended in the span of a few years starting in 2017.

Analysis of the Chinese Government Counterinsurgency

David Galula’s 1964 Counterinsurgency Warfare: Theory and Practice came out of a lifetime of fighting counterinsurgencies; Galula, a French officer, spent time fighting insurgents in Indonesia, Greece, and Algeria. He even spent time in Mao’s China in the late 1940s as a military attache at the French embassy in Beijing.67 Based on his experience in the French military, Galula’s Counterinsurgency Warfare outlines eight steps for a counterinsurgency force to take to prevail against an insurgency. Galula’s logical progression begins with the destruction of the insurgent forces. He then calls for the deployment of a static force that would control the population. The next four steps advocate for the destruction of insurgent political organization and the creation of a new political organization to participate in the present governance structure. Lastly, Galula calls for the suppression or winning over of the remaining guerillas. In the case of Xinjiang, some steps are simply not applicable given the structure of the Chinese political system.

Step One: Destruction or Expulsion of the Insurgent Forces

Galula stresses that destroying insurgent forces is the first step because “guerillas have the special ability to grow again.”68 Like many insurgencies that take advantage of rocky terrain to flee the counterinsurgent forces, Uyghur militants have taken refuge in the mountains of neighboring Pakistan — making the total destruction of insurgent forces all but impossible. Along with the military operations, Galula advocates for government forces to conduct propaganda operations to retain the support of the population.69 In the case of an authoritarian regime where individual freedoms may be sacrificed in the name of national unity and security, the idea of conducting a propaganda campaign to sway the people may not be of critical importance.

China’s strict response to the unrest of the 1990s, such as executing 30 supposed separatists in 1997, was an example of the state’s attempt to head off insurgents at the time.70 Overreaction in the form of the “Strike Hard” campaigns and other harsh measures served a counterproductive purpose as they only strengthened the sense of group identity among Uyghurs that was necessary for the insurgency to thrive.

Steps Two and Three: Deployment of the Static Unit and Control of the Population

The static unit’s purpose is to prevent the insurgents from gaining a foothold in the region. The various security campaigns in the 1990s and the constant police presence province-wide serve as the deployment of the static unit. A crucial aspect of this static unit is its ability to conduct propaganda operations to pacify the population, which in an environment that does not prioritize individual liberties, is not necessary. While the presence of security forces in the region has been overwhelming, the en masse surveillance of the Uyghur community in Xinjiang has only served to worsen the issues plaguing the region.

The surveillance measures serve as a way of controlling the Uyghur population. The requirement of identification for mundane tasks serves as a method of tracking individuals. Other tracking methods include the etching of serial numbers in knives sold and barcodes on the doors of residences to “identify what kind of citizen” lives there.71,72 Galula specifically notes that the control of the population is not aimed at preventing the movement of individuals in and out of the region, but at monitoring the movement.74 In 2016, police officers confiscated passports of Uyghurs in Xinjiang for no discernable reasons, specifically aimed at preventing movement. However, Chinese policies of mobility restrictions have far exceeded Galula’s expectations.

Steps Four Through Seven: Destruction of the Insurgent Political Organization, Local Elections, Testing the Local Leaders, and Organizing a Party

These steps are intended to give the insurgent population an opportunity to voice their concerns without resorting to violence. Despite the “autonomous region” designation, the CCP still maintains the monopoly on political power. Thus, establishing a political party to ameliorate Uyghur concerns is not realistic in this situation. It goes against Chinese government’s intent to suppress Uyghur culture and integrate it into Han culture.

Step Eight: Winning Over or Suppressing the Remaining Guerrillas

Galula’s last step calls for the complete elimination of all remaining insurgents. Despite having a significant police presence in the region, the Uyghur attacks continued. The Chinese government’s decision to place nearly a third of the Uyghur population in Xinjiang in “reeducation camps” undoubtedly serves as a method of suppressing the insurgency pool of recruits. However, the ties Uyghur militant groups have with groups outside of China and their presence in neighboring nations present  significant obstacles to the complete suppression of insurgents.

David Galula’s eight steps treat the insurgency as a political issue. The constant control of the population and targeted propaganda serve to coerce the population to align with the counterinsurgents. Such an approach is only possible in democracies where there are limits on what a government can do to its citizens. China’s political system allows the state to supersede individual liberties in the name of security, which is why security forces have been able to take such drastic actions, culminating in the massive construction of internment camps that violate human rights.

Conclusion

The CIA’s Guide to the Analysis of an Insurgency and David Galula’s Counterinsurgency Warfare: Theory and Practice provide an in-depth look at the Uyghur insurgency. The Uyghur militant actions largely adhere to the stages outlined by the CIA guide, with some unique variations. The strength of the security mechanisms enforced by the Chinese state contributed to the inherent weakness of the Uyghur insurgency and the group’s inability to graduate to more violent actions. The detainment, abuse, and reeducation of a large section of the Uyghur population have essentially suppressed the insurgency, except external actors that still actively participate in violence against the Chinese state.

The counterinsurgency’s heavy-handed approach and its disregard for the insurgency as an inherently political problem have made the suppression of insurgents much quicker than it would have been in democratic societies, for which Galula’s work was intended. However, international pressure placed on China for their human rights abuses and the potential for further alienation of Muslims — let alone Uyghurs — are issues that China will have to face in the future.

Michael Akopian is a first-year Master’s in International Affairs student, concentrating in strategic studies. Prior to his studies at SAIS, Michael was a researcher at an international conflict prevention think tank where he worked with the Russia, South Asia, and Asia-Pacific programs to research funding opportunities and write grant proposals. He has a bachelor’s degree in economics and finance from Muhlenberg College. Michael is originally from New York and is a native Russian speaker.

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1 “Uighurs: ‘Credible Case’ China Carrying out Genocide.” BBC News, February 8, 2021. https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-55973215.

2 Guide to the Analysis of Insurgency. United States: Central Intelligence Agency, 2012, 5-7. https://www.hsdl.org/?view&did=713599.

3 Ibid, 10.

4 Cronk, Terry Moon. “U.S. Forces Strike Taliban, East Turkestan Islamic Movement Training Sites.” U.S. Central Command, February 7, 2018. https://www.centcom.mil/MEDIA/NEWS-ARTICLES/News-Article-View/Article/1435570/us-forces-strike-taliban-east-turkestan-islamic-movement-training-sites/.

5 Galula, David. Counterinsurgency Warfare: Theory and Practice. Westport, Connecticut, London: Praeger Security International, 2006.

6 Ibid, 75.

7 Ibid, 77-86.

8 Ibid, 86-93.

9 Ibid, 93-95.

10 Thum, Rian. “The Uyghurs in Modern China.” Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Asian History, April 26, 2018. https://doi.org/10.1093/acrefore/9780190277727.013.160.

11 Dillon, Michael. “Muslim Communities in Contemporary China: The Resurgence of Islam After the Cultural Revolution.” Journal of Islamic Studies 5, no. 1 (1994): 70–101, 82.

12 Ibid, 84.

13 Zhang, Haiting. “The Laws on the Ethnic Minority Autonomous Regions in China: Legal Norms and Practices.” Loyola University Chicago International Law Review 9, no. 2 (2012): 249-264, 252.

14 Ibid.

15 Ibid, 253.

16 Ibid.

17 Mao, Sheng. “More Than a Famine: Mass Exodus of 1962 in Northwest Xinjiang.” The China Review 18, no. 2 (2018): 155–184, 157.

18 Dillon, Michael. “Muslim Communities in Contemporary China: The Resurgence of Islam After the Cultural Revolution.” Journal of Islamic Studies 5, no. 1 (1994): 70–101, 83.

19 Ibid, 82.

20 Smith, Joanne. “Four Generations of Uyghurs: The Shift towards Ethno-Political Ideologies among Xinjiang’s Youth.” Inner Asia 2, no. 2 (2000): 195–224, 206.

21 Human Rights Watch. “Xinjiang, China’s Restive Northwest,” 1998. https://www.hrw.org/legacy/campaigns/china-98/sj_xnj2.htm.

22 Hammond, Kelly Anne. “The History of China’s Muslims and What’s behind Their Persecution.” The Conversation. Accessed March 3, 2021. http://theconversation.com/the-history-of-chinas-muslims-and-whats-behind-their-persecution-117365.

23 Cao, Shiqi. “Xinjiang Implements New Uniform Ethnic Family Planning Policy – Global Times.” Global Times, July 31, 2017. https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1058905.shtml.

24 Dillon, Michael. “Muslim Communities in Contemporary China: The Resurgence of Islam After the Cultural Revolution.” Journal of Islamic Studies 5, no. 1 (1994): 70–101, 84.

25 Hincks, Joseph. “China: Xinjiang Uighur Region Changes Family Planning Rules | Time.” Time, August 1, 2017. https://time.com/4881898/china-xinjiang-uighur-children/.

26 Howell, Anthony, and C. Cindy Fan. “Migration and Inequality in Xinjiang: A Survey of Han and Uyghur Migrants in Urumqi.” Eurasian Geography and Economics 52, no. 1 (January 2011): 119–139, 121. https://doi.org/10.2747/1539-7216.52.1.119.

27 Ibid.

28 Castets, Rémi. “The Uyghurs in Xinjiang – The Malaise Grows. After September 11th 2001, the Chinese regime strove to include its repression of Uyghur opposition within the international dynamic of the struggle against Islamic terrorist networks.” China Perspectives 2003, no. 49 (October 1, 2003). https://doi.org/10.4000/chinaperspectives.648.

29 Ibid, 10.

30 Human Rights Watch. “Xinjiang, China’s Restive Northwest,” 1998. https://www.hrw.org/legacy/campaigns/china-98/sj_xnj2.htm.

31 Ibid.

32 Human Rights Watch. “China: Human Rights Concerns in Xinjiang,” October 17, 2001. https://www.hrw.org/legacy/backgrounder/asia/china-bck1017.htm.

33 Castets, Rémi. “The Uyghurs in Xinjiang – The Malaise Grows. After September 11th 2001, the Chinese regime strove to include its repression of Uyghur opposition within the international dynamic of the struggle against Islamic terrorist networks.” China Perspectives 2003, no. 49 (October 1, 2003), 10. https://doi.org/10.4000/chinaperspectives.648.

34 Human Rights Watch. “Devastating Blows: Religious Repression of Uighurs in Xinjiang,” April 11, 2005. https://www.hrw.org/report/2005/04/11/devastating-blows/religious-repression-uighurs-xinjiang.

35 Project on Violent Conflict. “Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM) Narrative | START.Umd.Edu,” January 2015. https://www.start.umd.edu/baad/narratives/eastern-turkistan-islamic-movement-etim.

36 Human Rights Watch. “Devastating Blows: Religious Repression of Uighurs in Xinjiang,” April 11, 2005. https://www.hrw.org/report/2005/04/11/devastating-blows/religious-repression-uighurs-xinjiang.

37 Wright, Robin, et al. “The Jihadi Threat: ISIS Al Qaeda and Beyond.” United States Institute of Peace, Wilson Center, January 2017. https://www.usip.org/sites/default/files/The-Jihadi-Threat-ISIS-Al-Qaeda-and-Beyond.pdf.

38 Human Rights Watch. “Devastating Blows: Religious Repression of Uighurs in Xinjiang,” April 11, 2005. https://www.hrw.org/report/2005/04/11/devastating-blows/religious-repression-uighurs-xinjiang.

39 Ibid.

40 Ibid.

41 Ibid.

42 Al Jazeera. “China Uighurs: Ban on Long Beards, Veils in Xinjiang,” April 1, 2017. https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/4/1/china-uighurs-ban-on-long-beards-veils-in-xinjiang.

43 Maizland, Lindsay. “China’s Repression of Uyghurs in Xinjiang.” Council on Foreign Relations, March 1, 2021. https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/chinas-repression-uyghurs-xinjiang.

44 Raman, B. “China: Situation In Xinjiang – Analysis.” Eurasia Review, August 7, 2011. https://www.eurasiareview.com/07082011-china-situation-in-xinjiang-analysis/.

45 Chin, Josh, and Clément Bürge. “Twelve Days in Xinjiang: How China’s Surveillance State Overwhelms Daily Life – WSJ.” The Wall Street Journal, December 19, 2017. https://www.wsj.com/articles/twelve-days-in-xinjiang-how-chinas-surveillance-state-overwhelms-daily-life-1513700355.

46 Habib, Jacky. “In Xinjiang, China, Surveillance Technology Is Used to Help the State Control Its Citizens | The Passionate Eye.” CBC. Accessed March 3, 2021. https://www.cbc.ca/passionateeye/features/in-xinjiang-china-surveillance-technology-is-used-to-help-the-state-control.

47 Greitens, Sheena Chestnut, Myunghee Lee, and Emir Yazici. “Counterterrorism and Preventive Repression: China’s Changing Strategy in Xinjiang.” International Security 44, no. 3 (January 2020): 9–47. https://doi.org/10.1162/isec_a_00368.

48 Ibid.

49 Nebehay, Stephanie. “U.N. Says It Has Credible Reports That China Holds Million Uighurs in Secret Camps | Reuters.” Reuters, August 10, 2018. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-rights-un/u-n-says-it-has-credible-reports-that-china-holds-million-uighurs-in-secret-camps-idUSKBN1KV1SU.

50 Human Rights Watch. “China: Free Xinjiang ‘Political Education’ Detainees,” September 10, 2017. https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/09/10/china-free-xinjiang-political-education-detainees.

51 Ramzy, Austin, and Chris Buckley. “‘Absolutely No Mercy’: Leaked Files Expose How China Organized Mass Detentions of Muslims.” The New York Times, November 16, 2019. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/11/16/world/asia/china-xinjiang-documents.html.

52 France 24. “Arrests Skyrocketed in China’s Muslim Far West in 2017 – France 24,” July 25, 2018. https://www.france24.com/en/20180725-arrests-skyrocketed-chinas-muslim-far-west-2017.

53 Stewart, Phil. “China Putting Minority Muslims in ‘concentration Camps,’ U.S. Says | Reuters,” May 3, 2019. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-china-concentrationcamps/china-putting-minority-muslims-in-concentration-camps-us-says-idUSKCN1S925K.

54 France 24. “Arrests Skyrocketed in China’s Muslim Far West in 2017 – France 24,” July 25, 2018. https://www.france24.com/en/20180725-arrests-skyrocketed-chinas-muslim-far-west-2017.

55 Zenz, Adrian. “Beyond the Camps: Beijing’s Long-Term Scheme of Coercive Labor, Poverty Alleviation and Social Control in Xinjiang | Journal of Political Risk.” The Journal of Political Risk 7, no. 12 (December 10, 2019). https://www.jpolrisk.com/beyond-the-camps-beijings-long-term-scheme-of-coercive-labor-poverty-alleviation-and-social-control-in-xinjiang/.

56 Hill, Matthew, David Campanale, and Joel Grunter. “‘Their Goal Is to Destroy Everyone’: Uighur Camp Detainees Allege Systematic Rape.” BBC News, February 2, 2021, sec. China. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-55794071.

57 Charbonneau, Louis. “Countries Blast China at UN Over Xinjiang Abuses.” Human Rights Watch, October 30, 2019. https://www.hrw.org/news/2019/10/30/countries-blast-china-un-over-xinjiang-abuses.

58 Munro, Kelsey. “Xinjiang Data Project Website Launch.” Austratlian Strategic Policy Institute, September 25, 2020. https://www.aspi.org.au/news/xinjiang-data-project-website-launch.

59 “Chinese Militant ‘Shot Dead.’” BBC News, December 23, 2003. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/3343241.stm.

60 McGregor, Andrew. “Will Xinjiang’s Turkistani Islamic Party Survive the Drone Missle Death of Its Leader?” Terrorism Monitor 8, no. 10 (March 11, 2010). https://www.cia.gov/library/abbottabad-compound/5A/5AB9CD0AAD52384EF52C5EDEA0C0CE32_The_Jamestown_Foundation_-_Will_Xinjiangs_Turkistani_Islamic_Party_Survive_the_Drone_Missile_Death_of_its_Leader.pdf.

61 Raman, B. “China: Situation In Xinjiang – Analysis.” Eurasia Review, August 7, 2011. https://www.eurasiareview.com/07082011-china-situation-in-xinjiang-analysis/.

62 Guide to the Analysis of Insurgency. United States: Central Intelligence Agency, 2012, 10. https://www.hsdl.org/?view&did=713599.

63 Cronk, Terry Moon. “U.S. Forces Strike Taliban, East Turkestan Islamic Movement Training Sites.” U.S. Central Command, February 7, 2018. https://www.centcom.mil/MEDIA/NEWS-ARTICLES/News-Article-View/Article/1435570/us-forces-strike-taliban-east-turkestan-islamic-movement-training-sites/.

64 Wong, Edward. “Deadly Clash Reported on Border of China and Vietnam.” The New York Times, April 19, 2014, sec. World. https://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/20/world/asia/deadly-clash-between-vietnamese-border-guards-and-chinese-migrants-reported.html.

65 Guide to the Analysis of Insurgency. United States: Central Intelligence Agency, 2012, 13. https://www.hsdl.org/?view&did=713599.

66 Jacobs, Andrew. “In China’s Far West, a City Struggles to Move On – The New York Times.” The New York Times, May 23, 2014. https://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/24/world/asia/residents-try-to-move-on-after-terrorist-attack-in-china.html.

67 Cohen, A. A. “The Galula Doctrine: An Interview with Galula’s Biographer A.A. Cohen | Small Wars Journal.” Small Wars Journal, January 22, 2013. https://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/the-galula-doctrine-an-interview-with-galulas-biographer-aa-cohen.

68 Galula, David. Counterinsurgency Warfare: Theory and Practice. Westport, Connecticut, London: Praeger Security International, 1964, 2006, 75.

69 Ibid, 76.

70 Amnesty International. “China: Remember the Gulja Massacre? China’s Crackdown on Peaceful Protesters,” February 1, 2007. https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/asa17/002/2007/en/.

71 Radio Free Asia. “Authorities Require Uyghurs in Xinjiang’s Aksu to Get Barcodes on Their Knives,” October 11, 2017. https://www.rfa.org/english/news/uyghur/authorities-require-uyghurs-in-xinjiangs-aksu-to-get-barcodes-on-their-knives-10112017143950.html.

72 Taddonio, Patrice. “How China’s Government Is Using AI on Its Uighur Muslim Population.” PBS FRONTLINE, November 21, 2019. https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/article/how-chinas-government-is-using-ai-on-its-uighur-muslim-population/.

73 Galula, David. Counterinsurgency Warfare: Theory and Practice. Westport, Connecticut, London: Praeger Security International, 1964, 2006, 83.

74 Wong. “Police Confiscate Passports in Parts of Xinjiang, in Western China – The New York Times.” The New York Times, January 12, 2016. https://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/01/world/asia/passports-confiscated-xinjiang-china-uighur.html.

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