The Predatory State and Coercive Assimilation: The Case of the Uyghurs in Xinjiang

30 Pages Posted: 8 Jul 2021 Last revised: 15 Feb 2022

See all articles by Gregory W. Caskey

Gregory W. Caskey

The Citadel

Ilia Murtazashvili

University of Pittsburgh - Graduate School of Public and International Affairs

Date Written: February 8th, 2022

Abstract

We use the predatory theory of the state to explain China’s violent assimilationist campaign targeting the Uyghurs, a predominantly Muslim minority group in China that constitutes a population majority in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Our analysis suggests that growing political centralization under the leadership of President Xi Jinping, combined with technological changes that reduced the costs of implementing predatory policing in Xinjiang and elevated the perceived economic benefits from integration, contributed to the choice of destructive cultural assimilation rather than respect for the rights and autonomy of Uyghurs in Xinjiang. While the economics literature sometimes describes the political economy of China’s growth miracle as the byproduct of a constrained Leviathan, the present paper shows that a predatory theory of the state is more useful for understanding how a cultural genocide can occur alongside economic growth.

Keywords: China, Xinjiang, Predatory Theory of the State, Uyghurs, Repression, Assimilation, Wealth-destroying states

JEL Classification: H11, P26, B52

Suggested Citation

Caskey, Gregory W. and Murtazashvili, Ilia, The Predatory State and Coercive Assimilation: The Case of the Uyghurs in Xinjiang (February 8th, 2022). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3878514 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3878514

Gregory W. Caskey (Contact Author)

The Citadel ( email )

171 Moultrie St.
Charleston, SC 29409
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.gregcaskey.com

Ilia Murtazashvili

University of Pittsburgh - Graduate School of Public and International Affairs ( email )

Pittsburgh, PA 15260-0001
United States

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