Since the People’s Republic of China (PRC) embarked on its mammoth state-making project in 1949, Beijing’s power projections have only grown in scope and strength. One of the key aspects of this territorial-nationalistic endeavour was to swallow non-Han regions like Tibet and Xinjiang.

Today, both the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) and Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) remain under the Chinese government’s iron fist, with Beijing directly moulding most of their political and economic lives. But it is also something more.

According to China observers, academics and activists, the Communist Part of China is forcibly Sinicizing Tibet and Xinjiang through an unprecedented and far-reaching process of social and cultural transformation. This seems to be happening at many levels, across many domains – from controlling the Tibetan reincarnate system to destroying Uyghur Muslim mosques.

Under the premiership of President Xi Jingping, who has emerged as a particularly strong leader in modern Chinese history, this process of Sinicizing Tibet and Xinjiang has only intensified. He has not only doubled down on troop deployments to these regions, but also put in place an elaborate architecture of surveillance and control.

In the second episode of #HeyWeNeedToTalk, Angshuman Choudhury speaks to researcher and analyst, Palden Sonam Gangchenpa, to find out more about what Beijing is up to in China’s most sensitive autonomous regions.

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