EASSC Publications

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Conference Paper


For the most part, the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) and its peoples are an uncomfortable fit in both the Chinese state and the China Dream. However, XUAR is an integral part of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Therefore, the success of this initiative, and the China Dream, has increased the importance of this frontier region. No longer just a comfortable buffer zone between China and its neighbours, XUAR is now an important zone in China’s new Silk Road Economic Belt. However, alongside these developments instability within XUAR has been heightened. Terrorist incidents linked to the region have occurred in other parts of China, including Beijing, and the region has even attracted the attention of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). One key element in the rise of unrest across the region has been the disempowered development that occurred as a result of the former Great Western Development Scheme (GWDS), which was an earlier component of China’s ‘turn west’ strategy. Given the BRI in XUAR is currently following a similar economic development pattern to the GWDS, the stage is set for the BRI to further deepen human insecurity and economic disadvantage along ethnic lines across the region. This paper cautions that the increase of human insecurity and regional unrest poses serious challenges to the People’s Republic of China’s continental frontier and ultimately the ‘China Dream’.


Journal, Book or Conference Title

East Asia Security Symposium and Conference 东亚安全座谈谈论会

Publication Details

Author Information:

Anna Hayes is a Senior Lecturer in Political Science in the College of Arts, Society and Education at James Cook University. Anna is co-editor of three recent books: Inside Xinjiang: Space, place and power in China’s Muslim Far Northwest (Routledge 2016) with Michael Clarke; Migration and Insecurity: Citizenship and social inclusion in a transnational era (Routledge 2013) with Niklaus Steiner and Robert Mason; and Cultures in Refuge: Seeking Sanctuary in Modern Australia (Ashgate 2012) with Robert Mason. Her most recent research examines human insecurity and contested histories in Xinjiang, as well as the Uyghur-Australian community.



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This document has been peer reviewed.