Scenes From Xinjiang

ALAN TAYLOR

MAY 8, 2017

In northwestern China, the vast Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region is home to nearly 22 million residents. Xinjiang, roughly half the size of India, is a historic crossroads, sharing a border with Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Russia, and Tajikistan. The region is also home to about 10 million Uighurs—making up roughly half of China’s 22 million Muslims. Resource-rich Xinjiang has become a center of sporadic violent protests, as the Chinese Communist Party encourages development, unofficial Han Chinese resettlement, and the imposition of cultural and religious restrictions on the Uighur ethnic group. Tensions in Xinjiang are building once more, as the government has stepped up security, warning of terrorist threats, and claiming the region as an essential part of China’s One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative that will link China to Asia, the Middle East, and more.


In the mountains of Qinghe County, Xinjiang, northwestern China, a Chinese Kazakh horseman watches an eagle hunting competition on January 31, 2015. The festival, organized by the local hunting community, is part of an effort to promote and grow traditional hunting practices for new generations in the mountainous region of western China that borders Kazakhstan, Russia and Mongolia
Kevin Frayer / Getty


A boy rides a horse at Qiong Ku Shi Tai Village in Yili, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, on June 8, 2015.
Jie Zhao / Corbis via Getty


Goats, Opal village market, Xinjiang, on September 24, 2012, in Opal, China.
Eric Lafforgue / Art in All of Us / Corbis via Getty


Uighurs wait at a bus stop on July 27, 2014 in old Kashgar, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region
Kevin Frayer / Getty


An ethnic Uighur man walks down the path leading to the tomb of Imam Asim in the Taklamakan Desert outside the village of Jiya near Hotan, Xinjiang, on March 21, 2017.
Thomas Peter / Reuters


A new town seen from the old town Kashgar, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, on September 22, 2012.
Eric Lafforgue / Art in All of Us / Corbis via Getty


A daughter of a worker plays on the newly-built railway track on the Kumul-Lop Nor line's railway bed in Lop Nor, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, on July 18, 2012.
Rooney Chen / Reuters


A long-eared Jerboa eats steamed bread near Huoyanshan, also known as the Mountain of Flames, in Turpan, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, on May 13, 2009.
China Daily / Reuters


A local farmer leads a row of camels at a tourism resort of the Kumtag Desert in Shanshan county, northwest China's Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, on October 4, 2007. Kumtag desert has been developed as a tourist resort where visitors can have a full view of the magnificence of the desert without actually venturing out into it, local media reported.
China Daily / Reuters


PetroChina's Karamay oil field in northwestern China's Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, photographed on November 4, 2007.
Reuters


This photo taken on April 18, 2015 shows a Uighur woman at a night market in Kashgar, in China's western Xinjiang region. Chinese authorities have restricted expressions of religion in Xinjiang in recent years such as wearing veils, fasting during Ramadan and young men growing beards.
Greg Baker / AFP / Getty


Border police take part in an anti-terrorism drill near Baketu border in Tacheng, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, on April 28, 2016.
China Daily / Reuters


Shopkeepers line up with wooden clubs to perform their daily anti-terror drill outside the bazaar in Kashgar, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, on March 24, 2017. Three times a day, alarms ring out through the streets of China's ancient Silk Road city of Kashgar, and shopkeepers rush out of their stores swinging government-issued wooden clubs. In mandatory anti-terror drills conducted under police supervision and witnessed by Reuters on a recent visit, they fight off imaginary knife-wielding assailants. Armoured paramilitary and police vehicles circle with sirens blaring.
Thomas Peter / Reuters


Dancers of Uighur rehearse an ethnic minority dance at Xinjiang Art Theatre on August 19, 2010 in Urumqi, the capital of the Xinjiang.
Feng Li / Getty


A Kazakh herdsman in the Gobi Desert on June 8, 2014, in Altay, China. During the winter to summer migration, the Kazakh herdsmen will travel along a nature pathway for almost 1000 km through the Gobi Desert, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.
Xiao Lu Chu / Getty


Karakul lake, Xinjiang, photographed on September 21, 2012.
Eric Lafforgue / Art in All of Us / Corbis via Getty


A Uighur family ride past a camel on a road during the Corban Festival on September 12, 2016, in Turpan County, in the far western Xinjiang province. The Corban festival, known to Muslims worldwide as Eid al-Adha or 'feast of the sacrifice', is celebrated by ethnic Uighurs across Xinjiang. The festival, considered the most important of the year, involves religious rites and visits to the graves of relatives, as well as sharing meals with family.
Kevin Frayer / Getty


A view shows newly harvested red chili being spread out to dry in the sun in Bayingolin Mongol Autonomous Prefecture, Xinjiang, on October 11, 2016.
China Daily / Reuters


A laborer works in a residential building that is under construction in Aksu, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, on June 17, 2012.
Reuters


Wang Yirong of Hebei province rides his motorcycle in a desert during the China Taklimakan Rally and CCR Xinjiang Station, in Shanshan, Xinjiang, on May 31, 2014.
China Daily / Reuters


A young Uighur woman, in a Serik Buya market in Yarkand, Xinjiang, on September 20, 2012.
Eric Lafforgue / Art in All of Us / Corbis via Getty


A Uighur man rides a scooter as he pulls his camel and horse on August 2, 2014 in Kashgar, Xinjiang.
Kevin Frayer / Getty


A wind farm in Hejing County, Xinjiang, on June 10, 2015.
Jie Zhao / Corbis via Getty


A snow-covered statue, seen before a mountain in Tulufan, Xinjiang province, on December 23, 2012.
AFP / Getty


Students from ethnic minorities give the Young Pioneer's salute to their teacher (right) at a primary school in Uqturpan county, Xinjiang on May 3, 2012. The Chinese characters above the blackboard on the wall read, "Always be prepared to strive for the cause of communism".
Reuters


The landscape view of Kalajun Prairie in Yili, Xinjiang, on June 7, 2015.
Jie Zhao / Corbis via Getty


A man stands in an alley in the old town in Kashgar, Xinjiang, on March 23, 2017. For Uighurs like the owner of an online multimedia company facing one of Kashgar's main streets it is not about security, but mass surveillance. "We have no privacy," said the business owner who, like almost everyone Reuters spoke to in Kashgar, did not want to give his name. "They want to see what you're up to." A Chinese security source, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters the new security measures in Xinjiang were not politically motivated, but based on fresh developments and intelligence. He declined to elaborate. The Xinjiang government and the State Council Information Office, which doubles as the Communist Party spokesman's office, did not respond to requests for comment.
Thomas Peter / Reuters


Residents wearing masks pose for a photograph near a statue of late Chinese Chairman Mao Zedong, as a sandstorm hits Kashgar, Xinjiang, on May 10, 2015.
Reuters


A man leaves the Emin Mosque in Turpan, Xinjiang region, on June 27, 2013.
Mark Ralston / AFP / Getty


A combination picture shows the locked doors of neighborhood mosques in Kashgar, Xinjiang, on March 23-24, 2017. Many smaller neighborhood mosques have been closed by the authorities in favor of larger more centralized places of worship, locals and an analyst said.
Thomas Peter / Reuters


A Uighur woman wearing a gown for the Eid holiday walks from her house on July 30, 2014 in old Kashgar, Xinjiang.
Kevin Frayer / Getty


A farmer harvests in a crop field in Yili, Xinjiang, on October 3, 2015.
China Daily / Reuters


A herdsman sits near Sayram Lake in Xinjiang, on June 4, 2015.
Jie Zhao / Corbis via Getty


Flag-festooned poles stand over a grave in the cemetery surrounding the tomb of Imam Asim in the Taklamakan Desert outside the village of Jiya near Hotan, Xinjiang, on March 21, 2017.
Thomas Peter / Reuters


A landscape view of Kalajun Prairie in Yili, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, China, on June 7, 2015.
Jie Zhao / Corbis via Getty

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