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Abstract

Since the beginning of the War on Terror in 2001, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has convinced its own populace as well as foreign countries that increasing security measures in the Xinjiang region are necessary. In 2014, in response to terror attacks, the Chinese Government announced the “Strike Hard Campaign Against Violent Terrorism” aimed at the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, and more specifically the Uyghur ethnic minority. This paper will analyze the oppression of the Uyghurs in China through securitization theory and the political and ethnic theories to construct a better understanding of how large multi-ethnic states legitimize oppressing minority groups within their own country. The findings are that through a combination of Han-ethnocentrism, internal political control and the redefinition of Uyghur resistance to cultural assimilation as a security issue of “Islamic extremism” the CCP can justify the incarceration and indoctrination of the Uyghurs. The international Community despite its acknowledgement of human rights abuses is ill equipped to confront ethnic oppression by big states such as China due to a lack of appropriate legal structures, concepts and definitions on the international level.

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