Xinjiang Syllabus: Key readings and resources on the repression of Uyghurs and other non-Han indigenous peoples

James A. Millward
3 min readApr 18, 2022


Here is an intentionally short list of key readings, evidence and resources regarding the crisis in Xinjiang / East Turkestan. See the link to the UHRP bibliography at the end for a more complete list of news and academic references.


Raffi Kachidourian, “Surviving the Crackdown in Xinjiang,” The New Yorker 5 April 2021.


General overview edited volume, articles by top specialists emphasize colonialism and global connections. This book, many of whose authors write from the left, answers concerns voiced by some others on the left that the crisis in Xinjiang is made up or manipulated by the US government or other western forces aiming to undermine the PRC.

Darren Byler, Ivan Franceschini, and Nicholas Loubere, eds. Xinjiang Year Zero. Canberra: Australian National University Press, 2022. (Free download)

On security, the terrorism issue and relationship to Global War on Terror (short):

Sean Roberts, The War on the Uyghurs: China’s Internal Campaign against a Muslim Minority. Princeton University Press, 2020.

On digital surveillance, the camps (short):

Darren Byler, In the Camps: China’s High-tech Penal Colony. Columbia Global Reports, 2022.

History of the region since ancient times, though most coverage is of modern period. The last chapter covers 2005 to 2020 and offers my interpretation of why this is happening):

James Millward, Eurasian Crossroads: A History of Xinjiang. Revised and Expanded edition. London: Hurst, Co.; New York: Columbia University Press, 2021.


The Xinjiang Documentation Project (University of British Columbia) (on-going repository of important materials)

The Uyghur Tribunal (includes links to documents and testimony by experts worldwide, up to Dec. 2021)


Articles on the camps, labor and birth suppression:

Zenz, Adrian. ‘Thoroughly reforming them towards a healthy heart attitude’: China’s political re-education campaign in Xinjiang Central Asian Survey 38 (1), 102–128

Zenz, Adrian. “Sterilizations, IUDs, and Coercive Birth Prevention: The CCP’s Campaign to Suppress Uyghur Birth Rates in Xinjiang.” China Brief 20 (12)

Zenz, Adrian. “Beyond the Camps: Beijing’s Long-Term Scheme of Coercive Labor, Poverty Alleviation and Social Control in Xinjiang.” Journal of Political Risk 7 (12)

On forced labor and involvement of Chinese and international firms:

Xu, Vicky Xiuzhong, et al. “Uyghurs for Sale: ‘Re-education,’ Surveillance and Forced Labor beyond Xinjiang.” Australian Strategic Policy Institute, 1 March 2020.

On forced labor and cotton supply chains:

Murphy, Laura T. et al. “Laundering Cotton: How Xinjiang Cotton is Obscured in International Supply Chains.” Sheffield, United Kingdom: Sheffield Hallam University Helena Kennedy Centre, November 2021.

On forced labor and solar equipment supply chains:

Murphy, Laura. and Nyrola Elimä. “In Broad Daylight: Uyghur Forced Labour and Global Solar Supply Chains.” Sheffield, UK: Sheffield Hallam University Helena Kennedy Centre for International Justice, May 2021.

On forced labor and PVC production (used in vinyl flooring):

Murphy, Laura T., Jim Vallette and Nyrola Elimä. “Built on Repression: PVC Building Materials’ Reliance on Labor and Environmental Abuses in the Uyghur Region.” Sheffield, UK: Sheffield Hallam University Helena Kennedy Centre for International Justice, June 2022.

On destruction of mosques, cemeteries and other Uyghur cultural patrimony:

Ruser, Nathan, et al. ‘Cultural erasure Tracing the destruction of Uyghur and Islamic spaces in Xinjiang.” Autstralian Strategic Policy Institute, Policy Brief Report 38, 2020.


The Uyghur Human Rights Project

See the frequently updated UHRP bibliography of news and reports



James A. Millward

James A. Millward 米華健 is professor of history at Georgetown University and mandolinist for By & By.