The Belt and Road Initiative: A Driver for Securitization in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region?
In recent years, the province of Xinjiang in northwest China has increasingly developed into a 'security state' in which Muslim minorities, especially the Uyghurs, are objects of State arbitrariness, discrimination and violence. Simultaneously, the region is of crucial importance for China's Belt and Road Initiative, which raises the question whether there is a linkage between the securitization of Xinjiang and the mega-project. This paper provides an analysis of the current securitization in Xinjiang and explores the relationship of the process to the Belt and Road Initiative. The author draws on the concept of the Copenhagen school for analyzing securitization and conducts a rapid literature review to collect, analyze and compare information on Chinese policies in Xinjiang. In conclusion, Xinjiang's securitization is not due to the Belt and Road Initiative, but rather reflects the efforts of the People's Republic to construct a unified (Han-)Chinese State.