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Explaining the Chinese Framing of the “Terrorist” Violence in Xinjiang: Insights from Securitization Theory

Trédaniel, Marie, Lee, Pak K. (2017) Explaining the Chinese Framing of the “Terrorist” Violence in Xinjiang: Insights from Securitization Theory. Nationalities Papers, 46 (1). pp. 177-195. ISSN 0090-5992. E-ISSN 1465-3923. (doi:10.1080/00905992.2017.1351427)

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This paper critically examines the Chinese framing of the “terrorist” violence in Xinjiang. Drawing on the Copenhagen school of securitization theory, it examines how the historical perception of the region as a primary source of security threats to inner China has led today’s China to continue with representing the Han Chinese-Uyghur discord as an existential threat. In framing the ethnic conflict as a security issue, China has capitalized on the global “war on terror” of the early 2000s to transform the unrest into acts of Islamist terrorism to legitimize its counter-insurgency policies in Xinjiang. However, both the 2009 Urumqi riots and the 2014 Kunming attack lead us to conclude that the securitization strategy fails to quell the unrest. Not only have the Strike-Hard campaigns served to radicalize Uyghur nationalists, but also Han Chinese are not convinced that the Chinese government can contain the “terrorist” threat. Yet securitization blinds the leadership to the dysfunctional ethnic policy.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1080/00905992.2017.1351427
Uncontrolled keywords: framing, securitization, Sinicization, Uyghur terrorism, Xinjiang
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DS Asia
J Political Science
J Political Science > JQ Political institutions and public administrations (Asia, Africa, Australia, Pacific Area, etc.)
J Political Science > JZ International relations
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Politics and International Relations
Depositing User: Pak K Lee
Date Deposited: 14 Dec 2016 17:57 UTC
Last Modified: 29 May 2019 18:29 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Lee, Pak K.:
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