Ideological extremism, political violence, and terrorism are among the major national security challenges that the People’s Republic of China is confronted with. As the events in Tibet and Xinjiang have demonstrated, Beijing’s failure to manage its ethnic and religious minorities is likely to make it vulnerable to a campaign of political unrest breaking out into violence and terrorism. This book deals with the threat to China, particularly from Islamist extremism and terrorism. Attempts by scholars to explain ethnic and religious conflicts around the world have often involved the study of root causes. They range from poverty and unemployment, discrimination, and governance issues. Contemporary discourses implicate religion as a causal factor involving arguments such as “clash of civilizations” or, as with Islam, its inherent “incompatibility with modernity.”2 While not discounting the potency of the radical interpretation of Islamic religious discourse in fuelling the contemporary wave of terrorism, this book makes an attempt to explain terrorism in China primarily as an ethno-nationalist or politico-religious conflict rooted in issues involving minority identity. The book examines the prevailing scholarship on minority issues and armed conflicts and argues that the root cause of the conflict in China, especially in Xinjiang province, is not only about religious extremism, but also about the systematic violation of basic rights and insensitivity toward minority identities by the state.
KeywordsEthnic Identity Political Violence Religious Minority Terrorist Threat Minority Identity
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