Outbursts of Violence: Reaction to Oppression or Acts of Terrorism? An Analytical Study of Han Chinese and Uighur Muslims Relations

Elizabeth LeFavour


The Uighur, a group of Chinese Muslims residing in the Xianjiang province, are a minority in communist China. For centuries Muslims have suffered persecution from the central government through policies, economic disadvantages, and geopolitical isolation. The Han have begun to show greater interest in the region due to the natural oil resources. Therefore, tension between the Uighurs and the Han government has amplified significantly and violent Uighur attacks are common.Terrorism remains a primary concern in the United States, especially for policy makers shifting their focus to Asian politics. This paper questions whether the outbursts of violence are a result of ethnic oppression or acts of terrorism.  Through analysis of fieldwork, and interpretation of the media, the issue is comprehensively evaluated. The results found that though terrorist in nature, the outbursts should be considered expressions of resentment for years of subjugation by the Han Chinese.  The situation is complex and history plays an important role in being able to grasp the political situation for the Uighur going forward.  These results are helpful in understanding the situation for Muslims in China. This understanding can be applied to gaining a deeper appreciation for the cultural complexities that exist in East Asia as well and the difficulty for future politics in the region.


China; Uighurs; Terrorism


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