FDI Associate Paper – China’s Uighur Strategy and South Asian Risk

In this paper, FDI associate Samah Ibrahim assesses the possible security implications of the crackdown on the minority Uighur population in north-western China. She finds that it could undermine aspects of the Belt and Road Initiative, especially if regional militants use it as a cause to rally support.

Key Points

  • China’s policies that target the Uighur minority and their Islamic faith continue amid limited international response.
  • While Xinjiang’s geographic location is beneficial to China’s Belt Road Initiative, the Uighur repression could trigger militant groups on the adjoining Pakistani and Afghan borders.
  • The Islamic State in Khurasan group could utilise the situation to entice other militant groups to overcome their ideological differences and join it in its fight against Chinese repression.
  • China’s crackdown on the Uighurs could backfire against its Han population in Xinjiang and possibly elsewhere in China.

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Future Directions International


China, Islamic State, strategy, Uighur community