The Xinjiang Report. An analysis model as a contribution to the reduction of international tensions

Xinjiang. Understanding complexity, building peace Report

Eurispes – BRICS Laboratory, International Diplomatic Institute (IDI), Centre for Eurasia-Mediterranean Studies (CeSEM)

It is in the spirit of knowing the problems well before making judgements and taking responsibility for formulating suggestions, recommendations and proposals that a group of authoritative Italian and foreign researchers, including Prof. Fabio Massimo Parenti, a member of Eurispes BRICS Laboratory, has resorted to a scientific method of analysis to illustrate the terms of a complex international issue such as respect for human rights. In this case, the reference is to a specific area of the world: the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, undoubtedly the most culturally and socially diverse region in China.

The Xinjiang Report is issued at a time when national and international debates and decisions risk being strongly influenced by a lack – or superficial knowledge – of the issues, by misinformation or, even worse, by false or distorted news. Understanding Complexity, Building Peace proposes, particularly to public decision-makers, to recover a way of proceeding based on systemic, in-depth studies capable of providing verified cognitive elements. So essentially, the publication suggests the recovery of a  positive collaboration between the scientific world, the political decision-making system – in the broadest sense of the term – and public opinion, offering a concrete example of how to act in this direction; we are thus dealing with a model of approach to problems that reduce the risk of assessment error, and that can be replicated and applied to many other situations in the world where there are so many widespread tensions.

The Xinjiang Report. Understanding Complexity, Building Peace was promoted on this basis and with these objectives by the Eurispes BRICS Laboratory, the International Diplomatic Institute (IDI), and the Centre for Eurasia-Mediterranean Studies (CeSEM). As specified in the presentation, it aims to: (…) to provide Institutions with a report that is as objective, independent and reliable as possible, in order to contribute to raising the quality of the debate and, consequently, of the related political decisions. The complex situation in Xinjiang is illustrated in its many aspects: historical, geographical, economic, political and social, referring to and expanding a type of systemic analysis initiated by a group of Swedish researchers. With 47 ethnic groups (of which 13 main ones) and numerous active religious communities (Islamic, Buddhist, Taoist, Christian, etc.), Xinjiang is characterised by significant social and cultural pluralism. Within this reality, the Uyghur community – an ethnic group with a Ural-Altaic (Turkish-speaking) language and Islamic religion – currently represents 51.1% of the local population, up from 45.8% in 2010. In light of this very complex situation, which has been the subject of an intense international debate and some specific initiatives – such as the European sanctions against certain Chinese officials deemed to be responsible for anti-humanitarian acts – the political choices of the Beijing government have so far been forms of repression of local diversity and terrorism. But what is the actual reality of this region? What is actually happening within it? How can we help promote peace initiatives, intercultural and interreligious dialogue?

The Report was born precisely out of the need to provide plausible answers to these questions, offering the cognitive elements that can contribute to building forms of peaceful coexistence. Therefore, we are entirely consistent with the line of commitment approved by the G20 States held in 2020 under the chairmanship of Saudi Arabia. In particular, the document of Task Force 7 recalls the value of the contribution that religious communities can make to sustainable development and the construction of a new international order. There is an urgent need to recognise better and integrate the meaningful involvement of faith-based actors in development initiatives through effective policy responses. These responses require new and creative engagement strategies and the development of a coordinated effort (…) The creation of a specific G20 task force focused on religion and politics will facilitate a systematic long-term engagement (…) with several action points that will provide immediate benefits and enrich the G20 process. (G20, Task Force 7: Religious Networks, Their Impact On Sdgs (Sdg17), and the Challenges for the International Legal Order, Recommendations, Riyadh, 2020).

The Xinjiang Report by Eurispes, IDI and CeSEM goes precisely in this direction as indicated by the G20. In the final part, a list of the first signatories who shared the objectives of the research group is presented: the need for a quality and balanced national and international debate, as well as the need to support peace initiatives, centred on mutual understanding and respect.



Full text of the Report – Full English version


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