Xinjiang has almost become synonymous with terrorism, violence and unrest thanks to the one-sided media reports. “Restive” is the most commonly used word by Western media to describe the region. However, the proof is in the pudding. The region’s unique culture, landscape and people defy your preconceptions. Sino-US.com reporter witnessed an amazing mix of Xinjiang elements during a week-long visit to Urumqi, Kashgar and Taxkorgan county.
An Uyghur term for “imam” in English and “阿訇” in Chinese. Imam is the prayer leader of a mosque. One of the reasons behind the social unrest in Xinjiang is that some uneducated and unofficial imams exploit teenagers’ loyalty to Islam and mislead them to go to extremes, local Uyghurs told the Sino-US.com.
Xinjiang International Grand Bazaar
Marketplace in Xinjiang where vendors sold fruits, nuts, clothes and meat. The Xinjiang International Grand Bazaar is an Islamic bazaar in Urumqi. It is the largest bazaar in the world by scale, combining Islamic culture, architecture, ethnic commerce, tourism and entertainment. It is also one of the landmarks in Urumqi. But the number of tourists has slumped recently due to the terrorist attacks.
Mainland urban residents often associate Xinjiang with impoverishment and wilderness. A Uyghur man Muhammad Tursun poked fun at the stereotype when his college teacher asked him how he managed to trek from his home in Kashgar to the school in Beijing.
Tursun: “The odyssey consists of a three-day camel ride to Kashgar, five-day coach ride to Urumqi and a week-long train trip to Beijing.”
Teacher: “What a long way to go! You deserve a longer holiday.”
Tursun: “Absolutely right. It’s not easy to book a camel nowadays.”