Emily Upson: “Influencing Governance in Xinjiang: How to Understand and Utilise Correlations between Global Discourses and Post-2016 CCP Policy Changes”

In Students by General Account

Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, and other ethnically Turkic people face repressive treatment in Xinjiang, determined to be a genocide by the Uyghur Tribunal in London (9 December 2021). This people’s tribunal, set up by Geoffrey Nice QC, saw testimony from victims, academics, lawyers, and human rights practitioners. All of these actors have unique perceptions of the priorities for advocates, both in terms of identifying the most pressing problems, and pursuing the most effective solutions for change-making.

My PhD thesis investigates transnational advocacy networks for human rights in Xinjiang. This research fundamentally asks, how can we prevent atrocities in Xinjiang? Which approaches would be most effective? Within professional spheres, many actors have their own speculations about potential causation between advocacy outputs and policy change on the ground, yet these theories are by necessity inductive. This research adopts a creative, inductive methodology, that begins with problem-centred expert interviews of key stakeholders across sectors and countries. How do advocacy efforts strategize together on the most effective tools for influencing PRC oppression, and how might we know if their attempts to change PRC policy is successful?