This paper is based on field research on spatial interactions between Uyghur and Han workers at the Kashgar Cotton Mill [in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region]. According to the research, the form taken by working and living spaces has had a role in shaping systemic change and transitional practices. The mill has shifted from being state owned to being privately owned and managed and the formation and disruption of the cultural space in which Uyghur and Han workers interact in work and life are inextricably linked to this transition. In particular, the unbalanced recruitment of Uyghur and Han workers has disrupted an important mentoring relationship between members of the two ethnic groups. In short, an ethnic spatial perspective allows us to better understand the economic and social changes in the transitional period, especially with regard to ethnic and labor relations.
China has become a land of social protests. Yet the Chinese state possesses considerable capacity and is rising on the world stage day by day. Why and how do Chinese people take to the streets? Where does their activism lead? This paper draws on a rich body of existing literature to provide an overview of the broad landscape of Chinese contentious politics and to dig deeper into a few common or emerging forms of social conflict. It then explores the various structural and political opportunity-based explanations for why protest occurs in China, before describing the ways in which different organizations and different framings of issues by citizens affect how protests play out. Shifting to where protests lead, the paper briefly surveys a variety of coercive and conciliatory institutions China possesses for social control and then documents distinct patterns in the state’s handling of different types of resistance—repressive, tolerant, concessionary, and mixed approaches—followed by an examination of the multifaceted impact of unrest. The conclusion offers suggestions for future researchers. Reviewing major concepts, debates, perspectives, and emerging research directions in studies of contentious politics in the world’s most populous country, this paper contributes to a more nuanced understanding of authoritarian politics and authoritarian resilience more generally.