The Olympic Irons: Legal and Psychological Qualifiers of the Uyghur Cultural Genocide in China




Boley, Robert

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The 2022 Olympic Games torch ceremony as well as other international events, such as the War in Ukraine, have contributed to concealing or obscuring a serious cultural genocide against the Uyghur ethnic group that has been ongoing since 2017. The Uyghurs are a Turkic minority group that predominantly practices Islam and have historically resided in the Xinjiang or Uyghur region for centuries in Northwestern China. Counterterrorism and ‘de-extremism’ regulations by the CCP escalated to the origin of the cultural genocide in 2017 which began with a high-tech surveillance state and the subsequent creation of hundreds of internment and incarceration camps where Uyghurs are separated from family members indefinitely and under-go political and linguistic ‘re-education’. Through this process, severe human rights atrocities have occurred including those that violate international customary law on the prevention of genocide, such as intentional destruction of cultural markers and forcible separation of children from families. The Chinese state argues in a fashion of transparency that they’re attempting to integrate Uyghurs into an overall Chinese culture. However, psychologically and culturally they are harmfully assimilating and enacting a policy of ‘erasing and replacing’ rather than integrating. The Discussion summarizes the qualifiers while reflecting on current international and domestic policies either proposed or should be proposed to combat the continuance of the crisis faced by the Uyghurs.



cultural genocide, Uyghur, internment, ‘re-education’, incarceration, China, Honors College


Boley, R. (2022). The Olympic irons: Legal and psychological qualifiers of the Uyghur cultural genocide in China (Unpublished thesis). Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.


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