Call for Papers “The Seamy Side of the New Silk Road: Documenting Repression in the Uyghur Region”

Monde Chinois Nouvelle Asie n° 63
Deadline: 30th Apr 2020

The Uyghur region has a pivotal role in Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a gigantic infrastructure project that seeks to connect China to Russia, the Middle East and Europe. Regarded as “unstable” by the Chinese regime, the Uyghur region constitutes both an opportunity and an obstacle to this ambitious economic plan. As a consequence, a vast Orwellian surveillance system supported by AI technology has been implemented to control the local populations, of which the internment or disappearance of at least one million people according to various reports published by international organisations is the paroxysm.

Far from being a “domestic matter” as claimed by Chinese authorities, this crisis intensified globally as Uyghurs from the diaspora or forced into exile, who were brutally cut off from their families while being continually harassed and threatened in their countries of asylum, started to mobilise. Early activists or improvised campaigners to respond to the urgency, Uyghurs have largely contributed to gather documentation and testimonies of the extent of China’s abuses against their relatives. Journalists and international organisations alike have also carried out investigative actions that revealed the extent of the tragedy Uyghurs are facing inside and outside their region. Moreover, the international scientific community was prompt to reframe research questions and strategies to apprehend the origins, challenges and consequences of the crisis.

This special issue of Monde Chinois Nouvelle Asie is devoted to the crisis the Uyghur region is facing since Chen Quanguo became Communist Party Secretary of Xinjiang in 2016. The objective is
to provide the keys to understanding the origins and the acceleration of this crisis on the one hand; and on the other, to look at the processes that affect the fundamental pillars of Uyghurs societies (family nucleus, place of worship and social gathering, language and cultural practices) and their intellectual and economic elites. This special issue will thus gather papers in French or English that offer scientific analyses based on testimonies, Chinese official texts or in-depth examination of the ideologies at work. Scholars from literature, history, economics, anthropology, sociology, political sciences or international relations are welcome to contribute.

Proposals (CV and an abstract of 500 words max. in French or in English) should be sent to this special issue’s editors, Vanessa Frangville ( and Jean-Yves
Heurtebise (, by 30 April 2020. Full papers are expected by 30 July 2020 (max. 8000 words).

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