Location: Kashgar , Xinjiang, China (39° 45' 26 N 78° 24' 18 E)
Date: 2 October 2008; 10.30am
Camera: Canon 400D with Sigma 17-70/f2.8-4.5
I have not been to China for more than a year now. I used to travel to China a few times a year but lately I have been disgusted by the repressive reaction of the Chinese government towards the ethnic minorities in Xinjiang and Tibet- places that I enjoyed and loved. The major minorities of these 2 provinces, the Uighurs’ and Tibetans’ have been suffocating under the weight of Han migration, diluting their numbers in their homeland as well as the slow destruction of their culture and traditions- sometimes intentionally- in the name of national identity. In some cases, centuries-old heritage were destroyed in the name of development, in the hands of Han Chinese. Both these minorities had pleaded in vain for the Chinese government to listen to their grievances, but instead the government only lectures in return. Hence it is unsurprising that some section of these population felt that the only way to be heard is through non-violence or protest actions such as the Tibetan self-immolation. Instead of attempting to understand and seek to redress such concerns, the government replied with more crackdowns, including granting police right to detention in “black jails” without trial. This is really sad. I just hope that the happy smiles of Uighur and Tibetan children are not lost forever.