Some people might call it an “inferiority complex”, but when you’re dealing with the sensitive ethnic issues that China’s far west province of Xinjiang faces, it’s best to call it what it really is. Xinjiang suffers from a “minority complex”.
Noun: a feeling that the public’s perception of your treatment of minorities is inadequate, sometimes resulting in excessive overcompensation
How can we be for sure that officials in Xinjiang suffer from this minority complex? All it takes is a quick look at the headlines over the past 2 years.
If you’ve been following the FarWestChina Facebook fanpage (why aren’t you a fan?) you’ll recognize that these are real headlines from Xinjiang. It is a list of publicity stunts that turn simple Xinjiang minority symbols into a comical farce.
The World’s Largest Wooden Plate
At 2.4 meters in diameter, China claims that this is the largest wooden plate in the world. It was built as part of a festival in Shawan county in Xinjiang to celebrate the famous DaPanJi (which literally means “big plate chicken”…hence the big plate) and actually broke a Guinness World Record.
The World’s Longest Tablecloth
Chinese officials describe this as the world’s longest embroidered tablecloth. With a total length of 90 meters of Kazakh handiwork, this is yet another Xinjiang record that has been recorded by the Guinness Book of Records.
Missing from this record book? The world’s longest table. Kinda seems pointless, doesn’t it?
China’s Oldest Man
At the ripe old age of 123, a Uyghur man named Sadiq Sawut who lives in Kashgar, Xinjiang is considered to be China’s oldest living man. No doubt everybody is clamoring to find their way onto this annually published list by the Gerontological Society of China.
The World’s Largest Naan Flatbread
30kg of mutton (lamb meat). 125kg of flour. 16kg of onions. 90kg of water. Combine those together and you’ll get the world’s largest Uyghur naan flatbread. It took 12 men a total of 10 hours to get this thing mixed and baked. Wish I could have seen the oven!
Reports claim that this could feed 10,000 people, but one Facebook fan correctly noted that it obviously wouldn’t be 10,000 Uyghur people. They can pound Uyghur naan down!
The World’s Longest Horse Sausage
Ok, so this one doesn’t claim to break any records, but I can’t imagine this happens too often. At least I hope not.
It required a total of 38 horses for these Xinjiang chefs to make a 213-meter sausage that weighs 1,256kg. Appetizing, don’t you think?
The World’s Largest Minority Dance Group
During the same event where the longest tablecloth was unveiled (see above), organizers also decided to break another coveted record – the world’s largest group dance.
17,000 dancers – both professional and amateur, filled the fields of Altay during the kickoff for Xinjiang’s Ethnic Culture Tourism Festival. The effort was not in vain, as again yet another Guinness record was achieved.
The World’s Largest National Park
Finally, in 2007 China vowed to make the Kanas Lake Reserve in Xinjiang into the world’s largest national park. At the time the park only covered 1,000 sq km, but should soon cover over 9,000 sq km.
Why make this distinction in an autonomous region in Xinjiang? There’s no other explanation than the fact that Xinjiang has a minority complex.
Plain. And. Simple.