Over the past roughy six months, major international newspapers, scholars, and advocacy organizations have documented a campaign by China’s government to “transform” local ethnic Muslim populations in the far western region of Xinjiang. The campaign, which builds off of long-standing policies of policing and control of the local Uighur population, has escalated dramatically to now include surveillance of unprecedented scope and scale, a program of forced home visits for millions of the region’s Muslim residents, the almost complete prohibition of Islamic religious practice and Uighur cultural activity, as well as the incarceration of up to a million people in prison camps.
What is the latest reporting on the subject? Why is the campaign happening? How do Chinese officials explain these policies and what they seek to accomplish? And what is the international community doing in response—especially as it becomes increasingly clear that Beijing’s pressure tactics and threats don’t stop at China’s borders, but are levied against foreign citizens living in other countries?
ChinaFile’s Jessica Batke will moderate a discussion with journalist Gulchehra Hoja of Radio Free Asia and historian Rian Thum of Loyola University.