Natives Feel Left Out of China’s New West – Peter S. Goodman

From the Washington Post:

Before the highway arrived last year, threading a strip of black pavement across a moonscape of pale sand, this town in central Xinjiang province was among the lonelier places on earth.

Yet just off the highway in Mazha village, life is little changed. Most people spend their days under the tyranny of sun and windblown dust, tending trellises of green grapes. Nearly all the villagers are Uighur, the Muslim ethnic minority that was the majority in Xinjiang before the arrival of Han Chinese, the dominant group in China. The highways funded by the government’s Develop the West initiative have brought little benefit here, the villagers complain.

“We Uighur people are all farmers,” said Gulijanat Tayir, a 17-year-old student. “The Han people are running all the businesses.” [full text]

See also Xinhua’s “China’s west takes off following ‘Go West’ initiative” via People’s Daily Online


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