The year 2020, more than any other previous year, posed serious questions about the nature of the Chinese state and society and their relations with the world. China was the first global epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic and, in fighting it, demonstrated a highly effective management of the health emergency crisis. Differently from what happened in Europe or the United States, during the period under review daily life in China went back to normal. Nonetheless, this did not translate into a more positive view of China world-wide as, in the same period, international newspapers, magazines and international organizations dealt extensively with Beijing’s repressive politics in Xinjiang and the establishment of «re-education camps» there. This article, then, firstly analyzes the strengths and weaknesses of Beijing’s pandemic management, without overlooking its strategy of control and repression of public opinion. Secondly, it provides a synthetic overview of Beijing’s policies towards the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. In doing this an analysis of the latest reports on «re-education camps» and the Chinese government’s reaction to them is offered.
Keywords – COVID-19’s containment; Xinjiang conflict; China domestic politics.
Francesca Congiu | University of Cagliari | email@example.com