chapter  5
From Uncle Kurban to Brother Alim
The politics of Uyghur representations in Chinese state media
WithYangbin Chen
Pages 22

This chapter examines two party state media representations of ordinary Uyghur: 'Uncle Kurban', an old Uyghur peasant from Hotan in Xinjiang, and 'Brother Alim', a Uyghur kebab peddler in Bijie, Guizhou. It argues that the politics of representing muslim Uyghur minority images demonstrates the state's relentless efforts in shaping Uyghurs from an unfamiliar ethnic minority 'otherness' to the friendly part of national self. Adopting Hall's work as a theoretical reference, the chapter suggests that, in China's state media, there is a parallel idea of purposely 'ethnicized regime of representation' of Uyghur and other ethnic minorities. It implies a strategy of internal and external soft power exerted by the Chinese communist party (CCP) regime, which functions as an instrument for curbing the Uyghur independence movement. The chapter suggests that although Uyghurs often appear as the key target group for positive representations by the state media, they are also vulnerable to the single-sided and stereotyped representations of their ethnic group by others.