Michael Clarke
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‘Round-the-clock, three-dimensional control’
The evolution and implications of the ‘Xinjiang mode’ of counterterrorism
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This chapter examines the intersection of counterterrorism and surveillance in the current repression in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR). It begins by noting that Xinjiang has been subjected to a dense network of hi-tech surveillance systems, checkpoints, and interpersonal monitoring which severely limit all forms of personal freedom penetrating society to the granular level. The objective, as XUAR Chinese Communist Party (CCP) deputy leader Zhu Hailun asserted in 2017, is to ensure that there are ‘no cracks, no blind spots, no gaps’ in the state’s surveillance of the region. The chapter argues that the CCP has sought this ambitious and dystopian objective through the imposition of the ‘Xinjiang mode’ of counterterrorism which combines the counter-insurgency (COIN) models adopted by the West (primarily the United States) in its ‘War on Terrorism’ with China’s own ‘public security’ and ‘governance’ models to create a counterterrorism strategy defined by militarization, surveillance, and ideological ‘remoulding’. The central objective of the ‘Xinjiang mode’, the chapter concludes, is to not only prevent ‘terrorism’ before it occurs but rather to pre-empt its very possibility by identifying and ‘remoulding’ individuals who display ‘abnormal’ behaviours.

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The Xinjiang emergency

Exploring the causes and consequences of China’s mass detention of Uyghurs

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