On the tenth anniversary of China’s policy to develop the western regions, Al Jazeera reports from Xinjiang on the impact of this policy:
Meanwhile, the New York Times reports from Kashgar on preparations for the celebration of Id al-Fitr to mark the end of the Muslim holy month Ramadan:
At dawn on Friday, the first day of Id, a convoy of military trucks and police cars with flashing lights rolled past the public plaza outside the Id Kah Mosque, where thousands of men and boys were congregating outdoors for morning prayers. Police officers blocked foreigners trying to go to the rooftop of the Orda Hotel, which overlooks the distinctive yellow mosque, the largest in China, to watch the prayer ceremony.
“It’s not as tense as last year, but the police are still worried about problems,” said one ethnic Uighur man who, like many in this city, spoke only on the condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal.
The remote city of Kashgar, at the crossroads of Central Asia, has existed under a pall since Chinese security forces tightened their grip here after deadly ethnic rioting in July 2009 in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang. But there was a respite over the weekend, as the religious festivities around Id reinforced for the Uighurs their sense of tradition and culture.
“This is a time when we are supposed to be happy and think of God,” the Uighur man said.
In recent months, the authorities in Xinjiang have let up on some of the harsh security measures they took after the rioting — Internet services have been restored, for example — but officials here still believe they have plenty of reasons to be anxious.