Genocide in East Turkestan: Exploring the Perspectives of Uyghurs in the Diaspora and their Resistance to Chinese State Violence
Date of Graduation
Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
School of Education
International and Multicultural Education
International & Multicultural Education EdD
The Uyghurs of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region—or East Turkestan, as many Uyghurs call their Indigenous homeland in northwestern China, are a Muslim ethnic group whose culture and identity are being systematically destroyed by the Chinese state. Since 2016, Uyghurs have been imprisoned in China’s “re-education camps” on an enormous scale, numbering up to three million. Uyghurs have experienced discrimination and marginalization in China for many years, yet relatively little attention has been given to what has now become a set of gross human rights violations amounting to crimes against humanity and genocide. The purpose of this study was twofold. First, by working in collaboration with Uyghur diaspora members, this study aims to share and amplify their perspectives on the atrocities in their homeland. Five themes and 16 sub themes emerged from data collected through interviews, observations, field notes, document analysis, and archival research. These include 1) intense repression starting in 2014, 2) numerous illegitimate reasons for imprisonment, 3) severed contact with family members since 2017, and 4) exploitation of Uyghur land, property, and culture. The second purpose of this study is to highlight how Uyghurs in diaspora communities around the world have been speaking out in resistance to Chinese hegemony at great risk to themselves and their family members. I examined the efforts of local and international Uyghur organizations, high profile Uyghur individuals, and San Francisco Bay Area Uyghur activism. In this dissertation, I seek to honor the stories of Uyghur diaspora members, describe their resistance in the face of tremendous struggle, and present data to raise awareness of the magnitude of this human rights issue in the hope of calling people to action and holding governments and international human rights mechanisms accountable to stop the Uyghur genocide.
Lenberg, L. S. (2022). Genocide in East Turkestan: Exploring the Perspectives of Uyghurs in the Diaspora and their Resistance to Chinese State Violence. Retrieved from https://repository.usfca.edu/diss/604