The Other Orientalism: China's Islamist Problem

Three years ago, China was exporting revolution; now it faces a rising tide of Islamism, both without and within. Xinjiang may become China's Chechnya.

Issue: Spring 2002

A generation ago, men of divergent personal appearance, political experience, and cultural inheritance ascended to political leadership in the Third World and decided to embrace a transcendent secular radicalism. Whatever their inherited differences, they hoped to construct a united front against the First World and all its evil works, and thereby gain standing for themselves and power for their countries. This was an ambitious project, for as partisans of a broadly-conceived Third World they would need to submerge intramural rivalries of religion, race, culture and conquest into a vocabulary of left-wing solidarity that had been devised by and intended for Europeans.

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