ABSTRACT

The argument that motivates and informs this book, as set out in the Introduction, is that the ongoing violence in Xinjiang, beginning with the 2009 disturbances in Urumqi, is only the most recent phase of a protracted conflict that has deep historical roots. It is not simply a clash between contemporary Muslim Uyghurs and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP); neither is it a conflict created or stimulated purely by hostile external forces in an otherwise peaceful Xinjiang, which is how it is portrayed by the government in Beijing. From this it must follow that the twenty-first century conflict can only be understood in the context of its antecedents, a context that is firmly fixed in the memory of Uyghurs and to a lesser extent of those Han Chinese who have been involved in Xinjiang. To support this reasoning more historical detail is necessary.