Economic Diplomacy and Genocide in Xinjiang


Cullen Hendrix and Marcus Noland

Asia Pacific Issues, No. 150


Honolulu, HI: East-West Center

Publication Date: November 2021
Binding: Electronic
Pages: 8
Free Download: PDF
Cover of publication with title, authorʻs bio note, and the summary that appears on this webpage


The government of China is engaged in a systematic campaign to eradicate culturally, if not physically, the Uyghur Muslim minority of Xinjiang Autonomous Region. The US State Department characterizes this policy as “genocide,” documenting an extensive list of continuing abuses against Uyghurs and members of other religious and ethnic minority groups. Having made this assessment, the issue is how best to respond. How can economic diplomacy be brought to bear to ensure foreign consumers are not unwitting accomplices to these abuses, including the use of forced labor, and how can those same policy tools be used to name, shame, and try to change behavior of the world’s largest exporter? A multifaceted response is required, combining targeted economic sanctions, coordinated responses to refugees fleeing Xinjiang, private industry-led initiatives, and more symbolic acts including a boycott of the 2022 Olympic Games in Beijing.