Nuisance Value: Uyghur activism in Germany and Beijing–Berlin relations

Journal of Contemporary China, 1 March 2013

Journal of Contemporary China — While a small number of Uyghur communities had begun to settle in Germany already in the 1950s and 1960s, since the 1990s they have chosen Munich as their center of national and political activism in Europe and worldwide. By that time the Chinese had begun to apply pressure on the German government to restrict Uyghur activities and to monitor and intimidate them and their German supporters, also by using spies and collaborators. As a democratic country Germany rejected the Chinese demands, although refusing to admit former Uyghur Guantanamo inmates. Despite occasional tension, Sino–German relations have not been affected by the presence of Uyghurs, some of them labeled as ‘terrorists’ by Beijing. My conclusion is that the Uyghur ‘threat’ has been deliberately inflated by China as a tool in its relations with other governments and that economic relations and technology import are far too important to spoil by persecuting Uyghurs.

Read the report here.