Terror & tourism: Xinjiang eases its grip, but fear remainsOctober 10, 2021
Uyghurs live trapped in an invisible system that restricts their every move. It’s near impossible for them to get passports, and on planes to and from Xinjiang, most passengers are from China’s Han Chinese majority.
Uyghurs who live outside Xinjiang must register with local police and report to an officer on a regular basis, their moves tracked and monitored. Many Uyghurs living in Xinjiang aren’t allowed to leave the region.
Information on Xinjiang within China is heavily censored, and state media now promotes the region as a safe, exotic tourist destination. As a result, Han Chinese outside Xinjiang remain largely unaware of the restrictions that Uyghurs face, one of a number of reasons why many in China are supportive of Beijing’s crackdown.
Within Xinjiang, Han Chinese and Uyghurs live side by side, an unspoken but palpable gulf between them. In the suburbs of Kashgar, a Han woman at a tailor shop tells my colleague that most Uyghurs weren’t allowed to go far from their homes.
“Isn’t that so? You can’t leave this shop?” the woman said to a Uyghur seamstress.