Author Biography

Tong Zhao is a Ph.D. student in the Program of International Security, Technology, and Policy in the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs at Georgia Tech. He holds a B.S. in Physics and an M.A. in International Affairs, and has worked in the Office of Foreign Affairs in the People's Government of Beijing Municipality. He joined the Sam Nunn Fellowship Group on Science, Technology and International Security, and was a fellow of the Public Policy and Nuclear Threats (PPNT) Summer Program. Currently he is a member of the Nuclear Scholars Initiative at CSIS, a participant of the Program on Strategic Stability Evaluation (POSSE) at Georgia Tech, and a Young Leader at Pacific Forum CSIS. He has worked on issues and published papers relating to regional strategic stability, China's security policy, the Sino-U.S. strategic relationship, and WMD proliferation.



Subject Area Keywords

Central Asia, China, Ethnic conflict, History, Radicalization, Sociocultural dynamics in security


This article starts with a critical review of the current literature on the Islamic radicalization and Uighur insurgency in Xinjiang, pointing out that existing literature focuses too narrowly on certain aspects of the Uighur insurgency, and is insufficient to explain the causal mechanism of the insurgency and Islamic radicalization. Built upon historical evidence, this article uses sociological analysis to explore the structural changes in the Uighur community over the past decades, and demonstrates the importance and effectiveness of social cohesion theory in identifying the key causal variables which underlie and determine the course of Uighur insurgency and Islamic radicalization. The last section of the article offers policy implications on Islamic radicalization prevention at both international and domestic levels, and on how to reduce the negative impact of Islamic radicalism on national security and stability.