All posts filed under: Social Analysis

How Kyrgyzstan abandoned its own in Xinjiang while Kazakhstan didn’t

While not exactly an odyssey, the trip from Kyrgyzstan’s capital of Bishkek to Kazakhstan’s “southern capital” of Almaty still makes for a day-long hassle. For many, it starts with climbing into a van at Bishkek’s western bus terminal, waiting up to an hour for the car to fill up, and then making a forty-minute drive to the border, where you get out, take all your things, and prepare for potentially grueling and chaotic lines – the depressing, lose-faith-in-humanity kind where people shove and curse, fighting to get inside and escape the weather, some with small children and others with push carts stacked overly high with goods. There, the border control guards – first the Kyrgyz and then, one river later, the Kazakh – check your things and documents and, depending on their mood and personality, decide whether or not to give you a hard time. Making it past them, you wait another thirty minutes to an hour for the van to get through its own inspection channel, after which you get back on and continue …

Uyghur Stories Need To Be Mainstreamed

Over the past several months, state culture workers in the Uyghur region have produced a series of twisted, psychologically violent videos. These short films center on the transformation of Uyghurs as a way of justifying the “reeducation” camp system that has taken away the freedom of as many as 1.5 million Uyghurs. In one of the videos, a young woman discusses how she was forced into an arranged marriage and how the camp system saved her from her misogynist husband, exposed her to Chinese culture and the joys of hip-hop. Another tells the story of a young Uyghur man who, prior to his reeducation, said he saw his wife as his “property” and would not allow her to work outside the home. He said that he sometimes beat her. Now, he said, through his “reeducation,” he had come to truly love his wife and recognize that she deserves to be free; together they are embracing a new “reeducated” life. Uyghurs in the diaspora who have watched these short films tell me they come away deeply sad and angry. One Uyghur woman …

Making the Xinjiang authorities dance: 40 examples of publicized cases

For the past half-year and probably longer, I’ve admittedly been a broken record in replaying the same mantra when talking of what works in getting the oh-so-scary Xinjiang authorities to somehow curb their seemingly unbridled madness. China’s Achilles heel, I’ve continued to say, is its image, and as an insidious system that pretends to do everything “by the law” what it fears more than anything is loud, outspoken transparency. Speak out, document, and bring as much attention to the issues they want to keep hidden even when they threaten the worst and you will see results… I’ve said over and over and over. And the louder they threaten, the stronger the sign that you’re doing something correctly. That belief came to me on an instinctive level from my first-hand experience of being kicked out without ever officially being kicked out, and would for many months remain an instinct, coupled with some abstract theory and probably some wishful thinking – as a grassroots person, I needed to believe that I was not powerless against this behemoth, …

Streaming Mainstreaming Stories: A Day of Solidarity with Uyghurs

On April 26, scholars will hold a series of events called “Mainstreaming Stories: A Day of Solidarity with Uyghurs” at locations around the world. In twelve locations they will discuss the ongoing state of emergency in the Uyghur and Kazakh homelands. Timothy Grose (Rose-Hulman Institute, Indiana); Sandrine Catris (Augusta University, Georgia) Magnus Fiskesjö (Cornell University, New York) James Liebold (LaTrobe University, Australia) June Dreyer (University of Miami, Florida) Kristian Petersen (Old Dominion University, Virgina) Vanessa Frangville (Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium Sophie Richardson (Human Rights Watch) Rian Thum (Loyola University, New Orleans, Louisiana) Rachel Harris (University of London, United Kingdom) Mustafa Kérim (Indiana University, Indiana) Hannah Theaker (University of Oxford, United Kingdom) A guest speaker at the University of Denver, Colorado These events on three continents will offer students and communities members a chance to hear and discuss the evidence of the mass internment of as many as 1.5 million Uyghurs and Kazakhs and the effects and implications of this mass trauma. It will also give audiences a chance to get involved in actively opposing these processes. For all of you who won’t …