Full Terms & Conditions of access and use can be found atCritical Asian StudiesISSN: 1467-2715 (Print) 1472-6033 (Online) Journal homepage: The biopolitics of China’s “war on terror” and theexclusion of the UyghursSean R. RobertsTo cite this article:Sean R. Roberts (2018) The biopolitics of China’s “war onterror” and the exclusion of the Uyghurs, Critical Asian Studies, 50:2, 232-258, DOI:10.1080/14672715.2018.1454111To link to this article: Published online: 22 Mar 2018.Submit your article to this journal Article views: 538View Crossmark dataCiting articles: 2 View citing articles
The biopolitics of China’s“war on terror”and the exclusion ofthe UyghursSean R. RobertsInternational Development Studies Program, The George Washington University, Washington, DC, USAABSTRACTThis article provides an overview of People’s Republic of China (PRC)counter-terrorism policies targeting Uyghurs since 2001 when thestatefirstassertedthatitfacedaterroristthreatfromthispopulation.Inreviewingthesepoliciesandtheirimpact,itsuggeststhatthestatehasgraduallyisolatedandexcludedUyghurs from PRC society. Drawing on the writings of MichaelFoucault, it articulates this gradual exclusion of Uyghurs as anexpression of biopolitics where the Uyghur people as a wholehave come to symbolize an almost biological threat to societythat must be quarantined through surveillance, punishment, anddetention. Rather than suggesting that these impacts of China’s“war on terror”coincide with the intent of state policy, the articleargues that they are inevitable outcomes of labeling a givenethnic population as a terrorist threat in the age of the Global Waron Terror.ARTICLE HISTORYReceived 6 December 2017Accepted 13 March 2018KEYWORDSUyghurs; terrorism; China;Islam; biopoliticsIntroductionOn November 29, 2001, just over two months after the September 11th attacks on theUnited States, the government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) released a docu-ment entitled“Terrorist Activities Perpetrated by‘Eastern Turkistan’Organizations andtheir Ties with Osama bin Laden and the Taliban,”which asserted that there existed abroad network of Uyghur terrorists which enjoyed international support and posed animminent threat to the security of China and the world. The document argued that thisnetwork involved the participation of virtually every Uyghur human rights and self-deter-mination advocacy group in the world and was financed by Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaida. Additionally, it sought to explain the largest incidences of unrest or random vio-lence in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) of China during the 1990sas being premeditated terrorist attacks carried out by this previously unknown network.
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