Political History and Strategies of Control, 1884-1978
The culture and identity of the Uyghur people of Xinjiang have been shaped by geographic, cultural, and historic interactions with China and surrounding civilizations since the seventh century CE. This chapter focuses on the Uyghurs and to a small extent on the Huis and Kazaks. The identities of Xinjiang's indigenous peoples and the strategies they have adopted in response to Chinese policies. Beijing's policies and soft policies toward Xinjiang foster regional autonomy and promote affirmative action policies in order to ethnic resistance and sustain Chinese power. Soft policies tend to accelerate Uyghur acculturation into the Chinese state, but they also provoke violent resistance by Uyghur militants on preventing China's acculturation policies. China's simultaneous resort to soft and hard policies in Xinjiang causes some indigenous peoples to accept acculturation and others, at the same time, staunchly to resist it. It followed an unprecedented outpouring of nonviolent resistance to China's policies and to the ideas the government used to rationalize them.