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Majlis Podcast: China’s Policies In Xinjiang Straining Ties With Central Asian Neighbors

by September 9, 2018 Market

This week’s Majlis Podcast discussed China’s heavy-handed campaign in the western Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR).

Beijing’s concerns about terrorism getting even a toehold in China have led to an unprecedented campaign of cultural and religious eradication in Xinjiang aimed at Muslim groups, mainly the traditional inhabitants of the area, the Uyghurs, but increasingly targeting other Muslim groups such as Kazakhs and Kyrgyz.

Some ethnic Kazakhs and Kyrgyz who were once Chinese citizens, who in recent years have become citizens of neighboring Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, have disappeared while visiting Xinjiang and turned up in reeducation camps that are sprouting up throughout the region and, by some accounts, where more than 1 million of Xinjiang’s Muslims might now be interned.

It is having an effect on the way some in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan view their eastern neighbor.

RFE/RL’s media-relations manager, Muhammad Tahir, moderated a discussion on what Chinese authorities are doing in Xinjiang and what the effect is on relations with neighbors Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.

From Washington, Alim Seytoff, the head of Radio Free Asia’s Uyghur Service, joined the talk. From Almaty, Kazakhstan, Gene Bunin, an independent researcher on both sides of the Chinese-Central Asian border, took part in the discussion. From Prague, Galym Bokash of RFE/RL’s Kazakh Service, known locally as Azattyq, participated. And I said some things as well.

Copyright (c) 2015. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.