State-Society Interaction In Xinjiang, China: Relationships between Uyghur and Hui Muslims
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The roots of Uyghur-government tensions in Xinjiang have been misdiagnosed by the Chinese government. In this thesis, I explore the roots of unrest from the perspective mostly of Uyghurs, but also the Hui. I found that there is a big gap between what policies the government is implementing and what the Uyghur people are expecting. The government is putting all the blame on the radicalization of youth, on Wahhabism, and on outside Uyghur organizations and anti-Chinese foreign forces, but my study shows that the unrest is mainly caused by the strict religious policy implemented by the government, a policy that seems to be biased against the Uyghurs. On their side, Uyghurs are interpreting this as proof that their faith, culture and language are threatened by the government. So, when they react, they do this in the belief that they are protecting their identity. As for the situation of the Hui, I discuss this in the final parts of the thesis, and I compare the reactions of the two Muslim groups to the policies from the authorities. I found that Hui people have a totally different view and understanding of the root of the problems and also of the policies themselves. Most of my Hui informants agreed fully with what the government is implementing in the region, and see it as reasonable in order to preserve stability. Such totally different views can be understood when we see the different relationships the two groups have to the government. And these different relationships and the different interpretations also feedback to the mutual relations between Uyghur and Hui people. But it is not only the government that affects relations. I found that mistrust was also caused by the shadows of a tense history, by the lack of communication because of language barriers, and mutually held stereotypes. All these factors act in ways that prevent members of the two groups to strengthen ties and friendship. However, and perhaps surprisingly, I find that Sufism and Salafism are two religious factors that are playing a positive role in relations between these two ethnic groups.
PublisherThe University of Bergen
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