Xinjiang: ‘The darkness only deepens.’

For many Uyghurs in Xinjiang, 2019 was characterized by fear and trauma, which has often turned to despair and hopelessness. But as Darren Byler writes in this month’s Xinjiang Column for SupChina, they have learned that sharing the pain of others means listening to their stories and finding ways to help them tell their stories.

“For most of the past decade I have thought about the stories Ablikim told me,” Byler writes about his friend, who disappeared in 2017. “My friendship with him, more than anything else, is what motivates me to keep telling difficult Xinjiang stories. It is what he would do for me if our positions were reversed. I do not know if Ablikim is alive or dead, but his stories will live on.”


In a brief, recent video interview with SupChina, Georgetown University professor James Millward discusses China’s policy toward the Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in Xinjiang.

“In a months’ long investigation, working with sources in the Uyghur community and analyzing hundreds of satellite images, CNN has found more than 100 cemeteries that have been destroyed, most in just the last two years.”

“The recent leak of secret Chinese Communist Party (CCP) documents in Xinjiang provides irrefutable evidence of the CCP’s radical plan to fundamentally remake Xinjiang society and transform the thoughts and behaviour of its Muslim minorities,” writes scholar James Leibold in the Jamestown Foundation’s China Brief.

Less well known, however, is the role that Xi and his supporters have played in reorienting People’s Republic of China (PRC) policy away from a previous tolerance of ethnocultural heterogeneity, and towards a virulent form of cultural nationalism that pathologizes dissent and diversity as an existential threat to the Party and the nation.

The tiny Jewish community of Kaifeng, Henan province — never officially recognized as a minority — are once again being targeted. Bitter Winter reports: “Under the pretext of ‘religious infiltration,’ the CCP’s crackdown against religious groups has hit again the oldest community of Jews in the country.”

—Anthony Tao