Published online by Cambridge University Press: 18 September 2020
The final chapter uses semi-structured interviews with Han and Uyghurs in Ürümchi to analyse their responses to official security narratives. The first section analyses how Han use official discourses of danger to securitise their own identities, defined through ethnicity, lineage, and language. Working-class and getihu Han deployed party-state discourses to articulate China as an ethnic Han nation under threat from Turkic-Islamic Uyghurs. Han intellectuals emphasise Uyghur inclusion in Chinese civilisation represents the real Zhonghua Minzu but without addressing the Han-centrism of this inclusion. The second section analyses how Uyghurs securitise identities and articulate China as an existential threat by re-performing official and unofficial Chinese narratives on Uyghur-ness. Uyghurs invert party-state discourses, articulating Han as part of a state-led cultural assimilation project through demographic and linguistic transformation. The Han-Uyghur ethnic boundary is redirected inwards between Uyghurs educated in Uyghur (minkaomin 民考民) and those ‘Sinicised’ by Mandarin-medium education (minkaohan 民考汉). Han and Uyghurs use tensions between inclusion and exclusion in official Zhonghua Minzu narratives to understand daily experiences of ethnic boundaries and articulate competing identity-security narratives. The chapter shows the party-state’s attempt to increase security by identifying China’s friends and eliminating enemies produces perpetual insecurity.