The Council on Foreign Relations interviews Dru Gladney, President, Pacific Basin Institute at Pomona College, about the recent unrest in Xinjiang. LIsten to the interview here:
Recent ethnic clashes between Han Chinese and ethnically Turkic Uighurs in western China’s Xinjiang Province left a reported 156 people dead and prompted authorities to send thousands of troops to restore order. The violence, following major riots in Tibet last spring between ethnic Tibetans and Han Chinese, has highlighted “deep ethnic and racial differences” in the country, says Dru C. Gladney, an expert on China’s ethnic minorities. He says the protests, which devolved into what he called almost “an ethnic war,” had started off peacefully and were really about social justice. They had “nothing to do with Islam, or separatism, or independence.” Gladney fears the protests may also spark greater Chinese nationalism across the country, similar to anti-Tibetan sentiment after riots in Tibet last year.