Han Migration to Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region: Between State Schemes and Migrants’ Strategies

Joniak, Agnieszka (2013). Han Migration to Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region: Between State Schemes and Migrants’ Strategies. Zeitschrift für Ethnologie, 138, pp. 155-174. Reimer

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Post-1949 Han migration to Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in northwest China is a hotly debated issue among the Xinjiang scholars and within the region itself. While it is often discussed using statistical data as a large-scale historical process, I argue in this article for a more differentiated view of Han migrants. I demonstrate that in the popular discourse migrants are distinguished into numerous categories like Bingtuaners , Profit-Driven Migrants, Border Supporters, Qualified Personnel, Educated Youth, and others. Accordingly, I argue that Han migrants to Xinjiang should not be understood as a homogeneous category of participants in a singular state project intended to establish state control over the region. High return rates demonstrate that state attempts to make Han settle in Xinjiang are only partly successful, and that migrants follow their own strategies when situation permits, rather than fulfill the government’s plans. Individuals who have migrated since the 1980s are especially careful in their assessment of the economic incentives of settlement, and many decide to remain mobile.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Art and Cultural Studies > Institute of Social Anthropology

UniBE Contributor:

Joniak, Agnieszka


300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology








Agnieszka Joniak

Date Deposited:

19 Mar 2015 11:55

Last Modified:

19 Mar 2015 11:55



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