Uyghurs' Suffocating Cycle of Silence: The Effect of China’s Transnational Repression through Coercion-by-Proxy that Targets the Securitized Uyghur Community in the Netherlands Today
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This thesis looks at how securitization affects the Uyghur community targeted in the Netherlands today by China’s policy of coercion-by-proxy that was reinforced by the shift in China’s domestic security strategy from selective to collective repression, between 2017 and 2018. The Uyghurs are an indigenous Turkic-speaking, predominantly Muslim, ethno-religious minority who are being repressed and have to face severe human rights violations in their homeland East Turkestan: the officially termed Xinjiang province, situated in the People's Republic of China. Since the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States, China has framed the Uyghur situation as their own legitimate “war on terror” by labelling Uyghurs terrorists, with the aim to legitimize its repressive actions. By labelling Uyghurs as a terrorist threat, Uyghurs are being securitized. This securitization has transcended to other places in the world where Uyghurs live. One of these p laces is the Netherlands, where Uyghurs today are still being harassed and intimidated by China, despite having fled their homeland. This is done through a variety of “extraordinary” transnational repressive measures, among which coercion-by-proxy. Since 2017, these “extraordinary measures” have intensified, following China’s domestic security strategy shift. During this shift, China changed its repression approach from selective to collective. This has affected the Uyghur community in the Netherlands by creating an atmosphere of fear and control. This thesis has found self-censorship being the most crucial effect, supported by feelings of anxiety, suspicion, and alienation.