Living on the Margins:The Chinese State’s Demolition of Uyghur Communities


Executive Summary
This report documents the Chinese state’s top-down destruction of Uyghur communities in
Kashgar and throughout East Turkestan, in a targeted and highly politicized push that
Chinese officials have accelerated in the wake of turbulent unrest in the region in 2009. The
destruction of Uyghur neighborhoods has resulted in the loss of both physical structures,
including Uyghur homes, shops and religious sites, and patterns of traditional Uyghur life
that cannot be replicated in the new, heavily-monitored apartment blocks where many have
been forcibly relocated. This report does not discount the importance of providing modern
structural amenities to Uyghurs. However, it asserts a failure on the part of Chinese
authorities to engage in meaningful consultation with Uyghurs regarding how they wish to
transform their own communities. The report details the international and domestic legal
instruments to which the Chinese government is bound that are designed to protect residents
from forcible eviction from their homes and ensure that indigenous populations, such as the
Uyghurs, have the right to develop according to their own principles.