Darren Byler is an anthropologist and Assistant Professor in the School for International Studies at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, British Columbia. He is the author of Terror Capitalism: Uyghur Dispossession and Masculinity in a Chinese City (Duke University Press, 2021) and In the Camps: China’s High-Tech Penal Colony (Columbia Global Reports, 2021), as well as the co-editor of Xinjiang Year Zero (ANU Press, 2022). His current research is focused on state power, policing and carceral theory, infrastructure development, and Global China.

China’s Soft Power, Counter-Localisation, and the Role of Stateless Uyghurs in Turkey

[Some people are saying that they cannot contact their relatives in Xinjiang. They are demonstrating in front of our embassy. They also spread fake news on social media. Several Turkish Ministers of Parliament and the Vice-President of the World Uyghur Congress were also involved in endorsing this fake news. It seems it was an organised […]

Primo Levi, Camp Power, and Terror Capitalism: A Conversation with Darren Byler

What does Italian writer and Holocaust survivor Primo Levi have to tell us about life in reeducation camps in Xinjiang today? What role does labour play in these facilities? What is terror capitalism and how does it relate to other frontiers of global capitalism? Can there be such a thing as ‘benign’ surveillance? These and […]

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Securing China’s Northwest Frontier: A Conversation with David Tobin

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Over the past two decades, a rhetoric of terrorism has been used to conflate the criminal actions of a relatively small number of people with the religious and cultural practices of more than 12 million Uyghurs who call the southern part of the Uyghur Autonomous Region (Xinjiang) their ancestral home. This has had a dramatic […]

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Preventative Policing as Community Detention in Northwest China

A preventative policing system in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region has detained as many as 1.5 million Turkic Muslims deemed ‘pre-terrorists’ or ‘extremists’. This essay shows how a counterinsurgency mode of militarism that emerged in the United States, Israel, and Europe, has been adapted as a ‘Xinjiang mode’ of community policing in China. It argues that the scale of detentions and the use of surveillance technology make the ‘Xinjiang mode’ of counterinsurgency unprecedented.

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