Migration, Modernisation and Ethnic Estrangement: Uyghur migration to Urumqi, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, PRC

In: Inner Asia
Ben Hopper
Search for other papers by Ben Hopper in
Current site
Google Scholar
Michael Webber
Search for other papers by Michael Webber in
Current site
Google Scholar
Download Citation Get Permissions

Access options

Get access to the full article by using one of the access options below.

Institutional Login

Log in with Open Athens, Shibboleth, or your institutional credentials

Login via Institution


Buy instant access (PDF download and unlimited online access):



In the People's Republic of China, minority nationality peoples have the same formal rights as Han Chinese. However, in Xinjiang, the modernisation project is taking precedence over ethnic harmony as recruitment practices are increasingly disadvantaging the Uyghurs, despite earlier affirmative action policies. Ethnographic and survey research among Urumqi's floating population indicates that Uyghurs are excluded from certain sectors, earn lower incomes and reside in poorer accommodation than Han Chinese, from whom they remain spatially and socially segregated. As the state increasingly relies on the invisible hand of the market, so the commodification of labour relations and property is amplifying social rifts between nationalities. Uneven regional development prompts Han people to migrate into Xinjiang and Uyghurs to migrate to the cities within Xinjiang, bringing these two ethnic groups into competition within a labour market. This has resulted in an ethnic division of labour that exacerbates inter- and intra-ethnic tensions.

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 1559 172 24
Full Text Views 334 10 0
PDF Views & Downloads 317 18 0