When Is a Terrorist Not a Terrorist?: American and Chinese Media Portrayals of the Chinese Uighur Minority Pre and Post 9/11
Over the past sixty years the Uighur population in China has faced a variety of complex issues, both domestically and internationally. In large part due to their geopolitical positioning as inhabitants of Xinjiang Province as well owing to several issues with their Muslim faith, Uighurs have constantly been at odds with the Communist traditions imposed upon them by the central Chinese government. Not only do problems with their religion affect them nationally, but more recently with the trend towards suspicion of Muslim groups by Westerners, the Uighurs are in a seemingly helpless position. This paper hypothesizes however, that this has not always been the case, and that the politics of 9/11 in particular have changed the tone of articles towards Uighurs in a negative way, especially within American media. In terms of Chinese media coverage, it was originally suggested that Uighurs were always negatively portrayed in newspaper coverage, and that post 9/11, media attacks on Uighurs would become even more aggressive due to the increase in fear that Americans felt towards Muslim fundamentalists as opposed to Communists (a fear that may have been felt by the Chinese towards Muslim fundamentalists as well). As the findings of this paper will later reveal however, an almost opposite approach was discovered after careful observation of related Chinese news articles.