staged development in xinjiang

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Staged Development in Xinjiang Author(s): Nicolas Becquelin Reviewed work(s): Source: The China Quarterly, No. 178, China's Campaign to "Open Up the West": National, Provincial and Local Perspectives (Jun., 2004), pp. 358-378 Published by: Cambridge University Press on behalf of the School of Oriental and African Studies Stable URL: . Accessed: 18/11/2011 00:02Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at . JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact

Cambridge University Press and School of Oriental and African Studies are collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to The China Quarterly.

Staged Nicolas

Development Becquelin

in Xinjiang

Abstract moved decade from of


the a phase 1990s,

turn of




the Xinjiang by of

accelerated of


to a phase

integration consolidation

Autonomous Uighur Region the centre, which the typified the advances made this during the

period. The intertwined dimensions of state building and nation building embeddedlong-term goal of strategic of Xin development" "staged a classic in essence of peripheral territorial process integration by the state. Yet, the dynamics of penetration and resistance central between the centre and an indigenous can be expected to generate at the same what still remains periphery unrest. time both increased sinicization and increased ethno-national campaign the placating reflects jiang threat in the to Open the West Up of ethno-nationalist to respond unrest. This


of the 21st century the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous the beginning from a phase of accelerated assimilation and (XUAR) has moved Region national territorial integration by the centre, which typified the decade of the 1990s,1 to a phase essentially of consolidation of the advances made

to Open Up the West the campaign during this period. For Xinjiang, less of a paradigm shift in terms of the precepts of political represents than a convergence economy implemented by the central authorities between the stated and unstated goals of the centre. Since most of the that are part of the Open Up the West campaign with regard to policies areas were already pioneered in the 1990s - in essence revolving minority of economic and social incentives around the comprehensive engineering to increase Han migration to Xinjiang in order further to alter the ethnic balance - the critical difference lies in the fact that these strategies and stated and articulated.2 aims are now more explicitly Indeed, it would seem likely that the successful of Xinjiang integration during the 1990s of some of the policies and measures contributed to the later development now associated1. Nicolas pp. 65-90. 2. Among (guest eds.),

more widely"Xinjiang


the campaign

to Open UpJournal, No.




in the nineties,"

The China

44 (July 2000),

studies see in particular Dru C. Gladney and Gardner Xinjiang Bovington Inner Asia Issue: Xinjiang), Vol. 2 (2000). On territorial 2, No. (Special see Clifton W. Pannell and Laurence "Urban transition and interstate J.C. Ma, integration relations in a dynamic borderland: the Xinjiang of post-soviet Uygur Autonomous Region Vol. 38, No. 4 (1997), pp. 206-229; Witz and Economics, China," Post-Soviet Geography and its Central Asia borderlands," Central Asian Survey, Vol. Rafka, 17, No. 3 "Xinjiang see Ildiko For an anthropological of change in Xinjiang, (1998), pp. 373-407. approach in conflict. in China "Locked Parameters of Uyghur and in the Beller-Hann, identity, Ildiko Beller-Hann, (Halle), No. 2 (2001), pp. 53-66; Hefte diaspora," Orientwissenshaftliche "Temperamental G?nther Schlee in Xinjiang, in relations northwest China" neighbours; Uyghur-Han Hatred and the Construction (ed.), Imagined of Identity Differences: of Uyghurs. The shift Joanne N. Smith, "Four generations (Hamburg: Lit, 2002), pp. 57-81; towards ethno-political among Xinjiang's ideologies youth," Inner Asia, Vol. 2, No. 2 (2000), pp. 195-224. The China Quarterly, 2004


Staged Development for example, nationality The goals methods areas. designed to encourage migration

in Xinjiang into minority

of increased Han migrations into borderland national min areas, resolution of the "nationality problem" and homogenization ority whereas of the Chinese nation are now directly acknowledged, they were treated as absolute political anathema before - perhaps unsurpris always ingly since they in essence negate the whole nationality autonomy system on which as a "multi-ethnic the PRC is conceptualized country" (duo Other dimensions of the campaign to Open Up theWest, minzu guojia).3 in infrastructure, industrial and state investments the massive especially are also of prime significance to analysing how Xin environmentalism, jiang is going to be shaped in the future, not least because of the high the centre, and supervision of Xinjiang vis-?-vis degree of dependence This close relationship with central and the structure of its economy. is due to traditional strategic considerations, reinforced by the projected three main elements: increased dependence of the country on the XUAR's oil and gas resources; at the its geopolitical position crossroads with Central Asia; and the context of looming ethnic unrest authorities nurtured by the perceived threat of Islamic fundamentalism.4 a vast territory The Han population is still a minority in Xinjiang, one-sixth of China's total land area, and 5,600 kilometres of representing international frontiers with India, Afghanistan, three Central Pakistan, Asian Russia and Mongolia. Even though the proportion of the states, reached 40.6 per cent in 2000 (against 6 per cent in population is still 90 per cent populated by 1949), the southern part of Xinjiang Sunni Muslim population with a long history Uighurs, a Turkish-speaking is also of uprising against Chinese domination. The Autonomous Region home to 1.2 million Kazakhs; of other 840,000 Hui; and half a million Han most of them of Central Asian kinship.5 From an national minorities, is highly atypical among the interior and economic standpoint, Xinjiang as the only province with a GDP per capita above the western provinces, national average (at the 12th position in provincial rankings).6

the PRC's official translation for the term minzu 3. Significantly, (when designating to "ethnic" shaoshu minzu) in lieu of "national." Hence, has recently the former changed now the "Ethnic Affairs Commission," "Nationalities Affairs Commission" is and the PRC one. is now a "multi-ethnic" country and not a "multi-national" 21 January 2002 the Chinese in an apparent attempt on the US-led government, a report on the alleged released of activities September global war on terrorism, in view of legitimating terrorists groups," obviously its crack-down purported "East Turkestan on "separatist activities" in Xinjiang. The report officially put at 200 the number of incidents between 162 deaths and 440 injuries. Information 1990 and 2001, allegedly having caused cannot get away with of China's Office State Council, "East Turkistan terrorist forces 21 January and Amnesty International 2002. Human have impunity," Rights Watch on multiple of civil, political documented occasions the broad violations and religious rights from "anti-separatism" in Xinjiang. stemming campaigns 4. On post-11

5. Xinjiang Statistical Yearbook 2002 (Beijing: China Statistical Publishing House,tables 3-5, p. 109. Hoppe Thomas, Die ethnischen Kulturunter 2002), Gruppen Xinjiangs: schiede und interethnische Vol. 290 (Hamburg: Institut f?r Asienkunde, 1998 Bezieungen, (2nd edition). 6. Wen Jun and Hu Angang, "Shaoshu minzu diqu jiakuai fazhan xin silu" ("The new the development of national minorities areas"), in Hu Angang thinking in accelerating (ed.),

The China Quarterly to Open Up the West presents an apparent paradox in campaign On the one hand, it does not portend significant changes of the Xinjiang. that it announces for other predominantly non-Han areas, such magnitude The as the Tibet Autonomous Region.7 At the same time, it does suggest that come to Xinjiang change will during the next decade from the central to im authorities' and actual capacity, strong strategic commitment, this appar plement the development projected by the strategy. However, ent paradox disappears if Xinjiang is seen in recent historical context. The to Open Up theWest of, not a represent a continuation policies designed those of the 1990s. the 1990s had seen the gradual opening of its borders with Central Asia; a halt and reversal in the decline of the share of the Han of measures population through the comprehensive engineering spurring rupture with, In Xinjiang into urban and rural areas; the take-off of exploitation settler colonization in the oil-rich Tarim basin; and the building of key transportation a north-south infrastructure Southern Xinjiang penetrating (including a railway and link to Kashgar).8 through the Tarim Basin highway seems that the overriding it of the authorities consideration Moreover, and is to consolidate the gains of the 1990s, in order physically nowadays to "ram into the ground" these advances and mitigate their institutionally overall There different degrees in this consolidation