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The Uyghur Diaspora in Cyberspace: Identity and Homeland Cause

Since the 1950s, the Uyghur diaspora communities have engaged in a wide array of activities to transnationalize the case of Uyghurs in the homeland. Uyghur diaspora have traditionally organized around associations and worked towards transnationalizing the homeland cause through conferences, press releases, printed materials such as books and journals as well as booklets and pamphlets. For the last decade or so though, Uyghur diaspora groups are benefiting from a new means of communication, the Internet. By analyzing different Uyghur diaspora websites and forums, this article aims to examine how the Internet has helped this community to create awareness about the condition of Uyghurs in the homeland. This article also attempts to analyze how the Internet has contributed to a unified national identity as well as to a greater cohesion within the diaspora. At the same time, I compare this recent Internet activity with the actions and discourse of the earlier Uyghur diaspora in order to find out about the parallels between the two discourses.