In the middle of the desert landscapes of Taklamakan, in the northern-west part of China, the land of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region is a very least populated land whereas it covers close to a sixth from the country's area. Getting resisted while in hundreds of years the Han Chinese domination, Xinjiang, or Old Eastern Turkistan, fell under the Chinese Han domination in 1949. From then, its population is generally Uyghur People and Turkish - speaking System.
Islamic most importantly, the Uyghur people have a solid religious identification that, in specific, enabled them to protect a strong difference in opposition to the Chinese invader. Certainly, the Uyghur Empire of Mongolia knew a great civilization, until its absorption by the Mongolian Empire in the XIIIth century.
While in their own historical past, the Uyghurs successively taken on Shamanism, Manicheism, Buddhism and the Nestorianism before lastly changing to Islam when the Arab conquerors beat the Chinese in year 751 BC., thus starting the way to the Islamization of the complete Central Asia.
Under the effect of the religions which they adopted, the Uyghurs taken successively, and at times in a competing way, a large number of written forms (turco-runic, brahmi, tokharien, soghdien) before developing their own graphic system.
The coming of Islam was a great modification because it was supported by the assimilation of the Uyghur land in the enormous Turco-Mongolian and Islamic Empire. Thus, the descendants of Genghis Khan progressively replaced their writing by a Arabo-Persan alphabet, still used presently.
If their own writing, their own language and their religion mark a real big difference with the culture of Chinese Han, Uyghur People also are different from their aspect, so aspect of Central Asia's people. A matt skin, eyes representing a whole pallet of colors, from black to deep blue, features directing out to the Mongolian, Turkish or Uzbek origins of these men and these women.
For a few years, China has integrated the proper identity of these remote people, though they represent only nine million population - a trifle for this particular great region. Thus, the Uyghurs are now part of the 56 ethnic minority groups having been well known in an official way by the People's Republic of China.
This particular statute allows them a few rights in a country exactly where their big difference is very often repressed. Therefore, Uyghur people escape the "single child policy" and their language is accepted as the second official language in Xinjiang.
The integration of the Uyghurs and their culture in China, however, looks really illusory. The presence of all-natural resources in Xinjiang, and its area with nations acknowledged as very sensitive, highly motivated the government to accelerate the sinicization of this area. Million of Han thus came to settle in this new Chinese eldorado, monopolizing the greater responsibility job opportunities.
In response to this true will to assimilate the Uyghur people into the Chinese culture, an independent party like East Turkistan Islamic Movement(ETIM) was born in the early 1990.
Saying more flexibility, but specially the recognition of their true identity, this movement was seriously repressed by the power authorities in location Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.
The situations of September 11, 2001, were the perfect occasion for the Chinese government to justify true reprisals: they declared the "Uyghur freedom fighters" as dangerous terrorists linked to Al Quaida because of their Muslim origins and their proximity with Pakistan and Afghanistan... However, the terrible repression which followed did not calm down the anger. The Uyghur population continues today to proudly hold their identity and their ethnic heritage , even though they become a minority on their own land.