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State Capacity in Dilemma: China’s anti-terrorist War in Xinjiang

Tue, June 23, 4:05 to 6:00pm, South Building, Floor: 5th Floor, S519


As state-defined violent attacks in Xinjiang have been mounting, Chinese government began to step up efforts towards this so-called “anti-terrorism” war. Despite of traditional methods of fiscal transfer, Beijing ordered the other 19 provinces to aid Xinjiang in various fields from economy to human resources. The authority believes that the roots of terrorism lies in regional poverty and inequality. Yet the efforts are not paid off. According to twice fieldworks in 2013 and 2014, the author finds that many resources are grasped by local level Uyghur carders, who are the actual rulers in the name of state. Conventionally, scholars measure state capacity by per capita GDP. But this cannot explain the upsurging violent attacks on one hand and the enormous resources input on the other hand. Therefore, I apply a micro approach to observe state capacity in ethnic Xinjiang. In this paper, I first argue that the current situation would only lead to the increase of despotic power. Second, the corruption and the penchant of crony of local carders are significant contributors to the violent attacks.