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Comparing China's contested borderland regions: Xinjiang and Tibet

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>04/2015
<mark>Journal</mark>Millennial Asia
Issue number1
Number of pages20
Pages (from-to)61-80
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This article looks at the political situation in China’s contested borderland regions with a special focus on Xinjiang and Tibet from 1949, which is when the People’s Republic of China (PRC) came into existence, till more recent times. The article looks at the nature of the conflict in these two disputed borderland regions of China, how the conflicts have changed their identity with the passage of time and the state policies that have been directed at these two regions to deal with the conflict. The article makes use of the ‘new war’ thesis as a theoretical framework. To understand the political situation in these remote peripheral regions of China, one needs to pay close attention to the interaction or more correctly to the clash between religious identity and Chinese high handedness and brutality. Both regions are deeply religious: Xinjiang has a strong Muslim presence and Tibet has a strong Buddhist presence, which the Chinese state has always found threatening and difficult to deal with, since religious elements in Chinese society are perceived as subversive. Finally, the article takes a comparative approach and looks at areas of similarity and differences between Xinjiang and Tibet.