In the center of the desert landscapes of Taklamakan, in the northern-west part of China, the land of Xinjiang is a least populated land whereas it covers near to a sixth with the nation's area. Getting resisted while in generations the Han Chinese control, Xinjiang, or Old Eastern Turkistan, fell within the Chinese Han control in 1949. From then, its population is mainly Uyghur People and Turkish - speaking System.
Muslim above all, the Uyghurs have a solid religious identification that, in particular, permitted them to preserve a solid difference towards the Chinese invader. Definitely, the Uyghur Empire of Mongolia knew a great civilization, until its absorption by the Mongolian Empire in the XIIIth century.
While in their own background, the Uyghur People successively adopted Shamanism, Manicheism, Buddhism and the Nestorianism before lastly changing to Islam when the Arab conquerors beat the Chinese in year 751 BC., therefore opening the way to the Islamization of the entire Central Asia.
Under the effect of the religions which they taken on, Uyghur People taken successively, and sometimes in a competing way, a great number of written forms (turco-runic, brahmi, tokharien, soghdien) before developing their own unique graphic system.
The arrival of Islam was a great change mainly because it was accompanied by the assimilation of the Uyghur areas in the enormous Turco-Mongolian and Islamic Empire. Thus, the descendants of Genghis Khan slowly replaced their writing by a Arabo-Persan alphabet, still used these days.
If their writing, their own language and their religion mark a real difference with the culture of Chinese Han, the Uyghurs also differ from their characteristic, so aspect of Central Asia's people. A shiny skin, eyes representing a whole pallet of colors, from black to deep blue, features directing out to the Mongolian, Turkish or Uzbek roots of these men and these women.
For a few years, China has included the proper identity of these remote people, though they represent only 8 million inhabitants - a trifle for this particular immense area. So, Uyghur people are now part of the fifty six racial minority groups having been well known in an official way by the People's Republic of China.
This law will allow these people a few rights in a land 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 Uyghur people and their culture in China, however, seems very illusory. The presence of all natural resources in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, and its proximity with nations recognized as sensitive, highly encouraged 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 jobs.
In response to this true will to assimilate the Uyghurs into the Chinese culture, an independent party like East Turkistan Islamic Movement(ETIM) was born in the early 1990.
Saying more flexibility, but primarily the acceptance of their true identity, this movement was seriously repressed by the power authorities in area Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.
The events 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 continue to keep their identification and their traditions , although they become a minority on their own territory.