The Xinjiang Issue in Sino-American Relations --The logic and perception of "anti-terrorism" and "poverty eradication"-- by KUMAKURA Jun (Faculty of Law, Hosei University)
In recent years, amidst the ongoing confrontation between the U.S. and China, the human rights issue in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) has become a focal point. The U.S. once cooperated with China on anti-terrorism after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, but in recent years, the U.S. has become more critical of China's Xinjiang policy. The background to this change is the shift in China's Xinjiang policy. The shift in Xinjiang policy discussed here refers to modifications to policy that occurred after the inauguration of the Xi Jinping administration. Since the 1990s, the Chinese government has regarded the protests of local Muslims in XUAR as a kind of "terrorism" and has employed suppression in the cause of "anti-terrorism," but, in the mid-2010s, it began to formulate an aggressive and reactive policy rather than a passive response to "terrorism." Specifically, under the leadership of Secretary Chen Quanguo, who assumed the post of Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party Committee of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in August 2016, a new type of surveillance society, unparalleled in the world, was formed using artificial intelligence, and "re-education camps" were established in various parts of Xinjiang for preventive detainment and mass detention of Uyghurs and other local Muslims. The camps are called Vocational Education and Training Centers in China and are said to provide vocational training for the poor and education in the Chinese language. What emerges is a fusion of the policy logic of "anti-terrorism" and "poverty eradication" (elimination of poverty), in which social stability is achieved by promoting employment among the poor through vocational training.