5 Top Reads

Our Top Weekend Reads

The international community responds to the detention of Uighurs in Xinjiang, Pope Francis's visit to indigenous communities angers right-wing Bolivians, and Russian mercenaries are on the ground in Libya.

Supporters of China's Muslim Uighur minority and Turkish nationalists wave the flag of East Turkestan during an anti-China protest.
Supporters of China's Muslim Uighur minority and Turkish nationalists wave the flag of East Turkestan Yasin Akgul/AFP/Getty Images

In the wake of the release of leaked documents that shed light on the internal mechanics of the Chinese Communist Party’s crackdown on Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang, the conversation around the issue has shifted. The only question that remains is what the international community is prepared to do about it, Azeem Ibrahim writes.

Meanwhile, as the Roman Catholic Church grapples with a growing divide among its followers, Pope Francis’s attempts to make inroads into Bolivia’s indigenous community has rankled the country’s Catholic right.

And the recent deployment of Russian mercenaries and technology in Libya poses a major threat to the Tripoli government, raising questions about how the United States should respond.

Here are Foreign Policy’s top weekend reads.

Protesters take part in a rally in support of Uighurs in Brussels on Oct. 1.

Protesters take part in a rally in opposition to the Chinese crackdown on Uighurs in Brussels on Oct. 1.Aris Oikonomou/AFP via Getty Images

1. China Must Answer for Cultural Genocide in Court

Leaked documents show that the ideological origins of the Chinese Communist Party’s crackdown on Uighurs lie in the leadership’s belief that ethnic homogeneity underpins social harmony, a clear case of systematic cultural genocide. With this evidence in hand, the international community is now obligated to act, Azeem Ibrahim writes.


Pope Francis receives a plant offered by an indigenous woman from the Amazon as he celebrates the closing mass of the Synod on the Amazon on October 27, 2019 at Saint Peter's Basilica in the Vatican.

Pope Francis receives a plant offered by an indigenous woman from the Amazon as he celebrates the closing mass of the Synod on the Amazon at Saint Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican on Oct. 27. Andreas Solaro/AFP via Getty Images

2. Catholicism’s Civil War Spills Into Bolivia

Francis’s papacy has opened a debate within the Catholic Church between its reformist and traditionalist wings. In Bolivia, the Vatican is trying to repair a damaged relationship with the country’s indigenous community, angering the Catholic right, which just recently secured a major victory against now-former President Evo Morales, Sharon Kuruvilla writes.


Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks to reporters.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks at a press briefing in the State Department in Washington on Feb. 1. Eric Baradat/AFP via Getty Images

3. State Clamps Down on Officials Joining Pompeo’s Calls

The U.S. State Department recently issued a directive limiting the number of officials who listen in on calls between senior department leaders and their foreign counterparts, breaking with long-standing practice in the midst of the impeachment investigation into U.S. President Donald Trump, Foreign Policy’s Robbie Gramer reports.


A pedestrian walks in a residential neighborhood in front of a view of the Grand Lisboa casino resort in Macao on Aug. 29, 2017.

A pedestrian walks in a residential neighborhood in front of a view of the Grand Lisboa casino resort in Macao on Aug. 29, 2017. Anthony Wallace/AFP via Getty Images

4. Thank Lisbon for Macao’s Peacefulness

China is increasingly leaning on Macao to buttress its “one country, two systems” approach. Unlike in neighboring Hong Kong, residents are not mounting widespread resistance to Beijing’s rule—due more to centuries of underdevelopment under the Portuguese colonial administration, Ricardo Barrios writes.


A fighter loyal to the internationally recognized Libyan Government of National Accord fires his gun during clashes with forces loyal to strongman Khalifa Haftar in Tripoli on Sept. 7.

A fighter loyal to the internationally recognized Libyan Government of National Accord fires his gun during clashes with forces loyal to strongman Khalifa Haftar in Tripoli on Sept. 7.Mahmud Turkia/AFP/Getty Images

5. With the Help of Russian Fighters, Libya’s Haftar Could Take Tripoli

The Libyan civil war has ground to a stalemate between the United Arab Emirates-backed Gen. Khalifa Haftar and the Turkish-backed (and internationally recognized) Government of National Accord. As Haftar launches an ambitious assault to take Tripoli, the recent arrival of Russian mercenaries may tip the scales in his favor, Frederic Wehrey writes.

Dan Haverty is an editorial fellow at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @dan_haverty

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