The widening gap between the Uighur and the Han Chinese in the Xinjiang region
a literature study on how policy changes, the new economic paradigm and the control over mass media affect social cohesion
This interdisciplinary paper analyses the conflict between the Chinese government and the Uighur minority from the lens of sociology, communication, and political science studies. It answers the research question: “How does the political structure of the autonomous region, the change in economic paradigm and the control over mass media fuel the loss of social cohesion in the Uighur conflict in Xinjiang?”. From the sociological approach a lack of social cohesion and inequality is visible and Weber’s theory on social stratification is being applied. The mass media in China is state-owned, yet uniquely liberalized and it represents Uighurs with negative stereotypes. Xinjiang is given the status as an autonomous region, it has however no autonomy and there are strong ethnic boundaries dividing the minority from the majority. This paper concludes that the mass media, social organization, and the structure of the region contributes to the polarization and inequality between Uighurs and the Chinese government.