Is China Really Facing a Terrorist Threat From Uighurs in Xinjiang?

Is China Really Facing a Terrorist Threat From Uighurs in Xinjiang?
Chinese paramilitary force vehicles line up during an oath-taking ceremony, Xinjiang, China, February 17, 2017 (Imaginechina via AP Images).

The Chinese government has long framed its treatment of the ethnic Uighur population in the region of Xinjiang as part of a counterterrorism campaign, even more so recently. In February, the so-called Islamic State released a video purporting to show militants from Xinjiang vowing to bring the fight to China. On April 1, the government began enforcing anti-extremism measures including rules against veils and “abnormal” beards. In an email interview, Sean R. Roberts, a cultural anthropologist at George Washington University currently working on a book about Uighur militancy, discusses how violence in Xinjiang has evolved and whether it can accurately […]

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