Separatism and Bubble Gum Pop in Xinjiang

Music has been my bridge for friendship with Chinese people and the proximity of the music shop to the local “Nationalities University” has exposed me to traditional music from Xinjiang. I am constantly amazed at the skill and beauty of the traditional music. The article, From Resistance to Adaptation: Uyghur Popular Music and Changing Attitudes among Uyghur Youth, focuses on how Uighur popular music has changed from the grinding heavy metal of the 90s separatist movement championed by Askar to the fluffy love songs of Arken both minkaohan (educated in Chinese) living in Beijing. I have heard neither of these artists and the article is a little out of date but outlines how the central government has manipulated the media to silence protest and homogenize the Uighur people. The article was published before the eruption of violence and protests in July of 2009 but it concludes a change in Uighur youth ideology from separatism and isolation of the Uighur nation to one of working within the current system to heighten the status of Uighurs in modern China.

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