Urumqi South Train Station: History in Pictures

June 11 | 1 Comment

Urumqi train station has played a key role in Xinjiang’s development. It still does as a matter of fact…for every 100 people that enter Xinjiang through the airport, there are 400 more that enter through the train station.

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Making Sense of the New Xinjiang Development Plan

May 24 | 10 Comments

News about Xinjiang’s new development plan dominated the China news cycle last Friday, covering the front pages of many major China newspapers. What exactly is the goal of this package and how does it affect a regular Xinjiang citizen?

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Xinjiang Highway Rest Stop: Pic of the Week

May 14 | 1 Comment

Rest Stop by 老百姓 Seeing this picture me want to hop on my motorcycle and start exploring again!  Rest stops like the one you see above are scattered all along the Xinjiang highway system and despite their crude appearance they really have grown on me.

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A Kuqa Motorcycle Taxi: Picture of the Week

May 7 | 10 Comments

Although it is becoming less and less common in Xinjiang, three-wheeled motorcycles are a popular taxi service for Uyghurs. In certain parts of Urumqi you can still take one but you’re more likely to find them in smaller, Uyghur-dominated cities like Kuqa on the northern edge of the Taklamakan Desert.

Wee Ling, who took this photograph, describes the scene…

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What’s with the name “Xinjiang”?

May 5 | 86 Comments

What would you think if I told you that parts of Yunan and Sichuan used to be called “Xinjiang”? According to the Chinese history article I’ve translated below, the Xinjiang region is one of 5 regions that have used the name “New Frontier”. This short article was written as a propaganda piece following the Urumqi riots, which make it an even more interesting read:

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Pictorial History of Urumqi’s South Gate 南门

April 30 | 25 Comments

It’s always amusing when city locations are named after landmarks that no longer exist.  For many years Urumqi, capital of Xinjiang, used to be a walled city, but this didn’t last too long after the regime change in 1949. Like most cities in China now, the walls have been torn down and replaced with wide […]

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Discussion: Language in Xinjiang Education, Uyghur or Mandarin?

April 14 | 103 Comments

Ever since reading Blaine Kaltman’s Under the Heel of the Dragon, my views about language in education have been challenged.  In my city of 200,000 there is only one Uyghur-language high school and judging from the rumors I’ve heard recently they may soon switch to Mandarin. Why is that?  Or rather, why is that important?

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Billiards in Kashgar: Picture of the Week

April 8 | 8 Comments

Billiards near Kashgar’s Old City by Mipo If I didn’t know any better, I would be tempted to say that billiards is as much a part of Uyghur culture as eating lamb kebabs.  Many of the pool halls are indoors, but as the weather begins to warm up there are also a few that take […]

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The Story of Mutual Prejudice | Book Review

April 6 | 24 Comments

More than four years before the deadly riots in Urumqi, an American named Blaine Kaltman working on his PhD thesis, traveled all over China interviewing Uyghur and Han alike to find out the answer to one simple question: are you guys ever going to get along?

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Pictorial History of Urumqi’s Hong Shan Park 红山

March 19 | 1 Comment

In the middle of Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang, a hill sticks out of the ground that seems out of place. Legend says that both this hill and the nearby Yamalik Hill were two dragons that kept watch over the city. Even now it serves as a symbol of a city that doesn’t have much else to offer…

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