February 2019 Guest Speaker, Ben Hillman

We welcomed Ben Hillman for a talk on “The Trouble in China’s West

Ben works at the Crawford School of Public Policy, ANU, on institutional change. He specialises in Chinese and ethnic policies, China’s efforts to build a national identity out of empire, and how to integrate ethnic communities.

There have been reports in the press on the response by the Chinese Communist Party to Muslims, especially the largest group in China, the Uighurs in Xinjiang, in the country’s north-west. Reports have focused on efforts to forcibly assimilate Uighurs by coercive mechanisms such as internment in camps which hold upwards of a million Uighurs. The government has used the term “re-education” and “vocational training”, to legitimize the camps.

This belongs in the wider historical context of Xi Jinping’s “China Dream” project of 2012. There are two concrete targets for this “great rejuvenation”. One is to become a modern and wealthy society by 2021, the hundredth anniversary of the formation of the CCP. The second is to become a “developed” nation by 2049. Thus, the vision is of a country “restored” to an international status which it lost as a result of Western imperialism. Continue reading