Notes from the Uyghur Homeland
Photo: Hsiao-Hung Pai / Flaming mountain, Turfan, East Turkistan
EAST TURKISTAN (known as Xinjiang in China), 2019-2020
Uyghurs for sale: 'Re-education', forced labour and surveillance beyond Xinjiang
What makes a Uyghur Muslim "suspicious"? Leaked List of Over 2,000 Detainees Demonstrates Automated Repression
Forced assimilation targeting Uyghurs and other minorities in East Turkistan
Reports & research archive: https://docs.uhrp.org/pdf/China's%20're-education'%20concentration%20camps%20in%20Xinjiang%20-%20BIBLIO.pdf
Notes from time in East Turkistan in 2011
Photo: by Hsiao-Hung / Slogan "Build harmonious Xinjiang", Urumqi; Slogan "Promote Mandarin across the country", Kashgar
Photos: by Hsiao-Hung / First pic: China-Eurasia Exposition, Urumqi; Second pic: Exposition in the eyes of a local photographer
When I arrived, a two-month anti-terrorism crackdown had just been launched, scheduled to last until mid October. The measures involved the deployment of the "Snow Leopard" Unit under People's Armed Police, stationed in Aksu, Xinjiang, since early August.
During this anti-terror campaign, security had been raised particularly in the midst of the China-Eurasia Exposition as well as the National Day celebrations. Flights and even hot-air balloons were banned. This meant full-scale surveillance in the middle of Urumqi: round-the-clock street patrols; increased security in public places; plain-clothes security stationed in major areas. I was told that there was one plain-clothes police officer for every ten people in Urumqi.
The Chinese authorities stepped up using the global War on Terror to expand its anti-terror operations abroad. In late October 2011, the Chinese government expressed an interest in setting up military bases in Pakistan's northern areas, "to counter extremist activities." In the same month, the government drafted a bill defining the "precise meaning" of terrorism, putting new emphasis on acts that are "meant to disrupt social order or cause social panic," thereby widening the scope for the definition of terrorism and terrorist acts and making it easier to criminalise organisations beyond those that had long been blacklisted as terrorist (such as ETIM, the East Turkestan Liberation Organization, the World Uyghur Youth Congress and the East Turkistan Information Center).
What is certain about the new legislation is that it will provide the tools for the state to further blur the distinction between so-called terrorist groups and the pro-democracy or pro-independence organisations - therefore strengthening a process that has already been carried out for decades.
In December 2011, the authorities in Urumqi began a house-to-house "security check", as part of a 100-day "Strike Hard" (yan da) anti-terror campaign in the region. Four Uyghur men were detained for "taking part in illegal religious activities," while many others were fined. The region's CCP party secretary Zhang Chunxian - brought into Xinjiang following the 2009 "Urumqi riots" - said that he would step up measures to preserve social stability during Urumqi's next China-Eurasia Exposition in 2012 and even more importantly, during the Party's 18th Congress.
Photo: by Hsiao-Hung / The polluted Urumqi
Urumqi has developed beyond all recognition in the past decade: the high-rising buildings concentrated in the centre of the city were an immediate give-away. Construction projects are everywhere and developers are profiting massively. The meaning of this "development" can be seen most evidently in the fact that Urumqi has become one of China's most polluted cities.
Pollution has become its well-known characteristic, embracing Urumqi with a grey, thick smog all year long - "And it will get worse in the winter," people kept telling me. The smog is caused by factories and coal-burning energy supply.
East Turkistan, officially known as Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR), takes up one sixth of China. Rich in natural resources - its oil accounts for a third of China's oil production and is a major pipeline route into Central Asia - and significant in its strategic position bordering Russia, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Kyrghizstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India, it is nevertheless seen as both culturally and geographically remote. The Chinese government claimed that the region is "an inalienable part" of the country, but it was only in 1884, during the declining Qing dynasty, that the region fell under Chinese territory and became a province under General Zuo Zongtang's policy of frontier defense.
During the chaotic rule of warlords following the fall of Qing in 1912, East Turkistan went through a period of relative autonomy when rebels declared independence in 1933 and formed the Islamic Republic of East Turkestan. However, the new republic of China regained control of the region in the following year. The Uyghur people sought independence once again, in 1944, and formed the second Islamic Republic of East Turkistan, supported by the Soviet Union, who soon turned against the rebels and helped the People's Republic of China to regain the region in 1949.
The Xinjiang Uyghur Autunomous Region was set up by the Chinese state in 1955. A year prior to that, the Chinese state implanted an institution specifically for the region: the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC), also known as Bingtuan (literally means military corps). Following the tradition of Bintuan (referring to military cultivation) practiced during Qing dynasty, Bingtuan in East Turkistan is responsible for cultivating the region and defending the frontier. It built military agricultural settlements and has introduced waves of migrants from China's interior to settle in its farming villages.
Since the 1990s, Bingtuan has been operating in parallel to the regional government and been granted the same status. Its double-edged functions become even more prominent: It runs the economy of the region and serves as an arm of the PLA in putting down civil unrest. Therefore, in the eyes of many Uyghur people, Bingtuan is a colonial institution that stands above local societies in East Turkistan.
The Uyghur people in East Turkistan have found little outlet for the decades of repression of basic civil rights and endemic poverty. Meanwhile, the re-opening of cross-border trade in the 1980s, the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the independence of the Central Asian states in the 1990s had opened up new channels of communication and revival of religions. Since the early 1990s, many Uyghur people have begun to protest and demand social change.
Their demands for political freedom and economic betterment culminated in the Baren Uprising of 1990 and the Ghulja Uprising (or known as the "Yining riot" in Chinese terms) of 1997. The Chinese authorities responded with further repression, the worst of which was the bloodshed in Ghulja in 1997. It forced the Uyghur people into a long silence. But they revolted once again, throughout 2008, in Urumqi, Khotan and Kashgar.
Nevertheless, the government would not loosen its grip on controlling the Muslim minorities. It would not allow space for civil dissent. All protests by Uyghur people have been put under the blanket of "promoting separatism" and "threatening national security."
Photo: by Hsiao-Hung / Left: residence permit; Right: police station, Urumqi
I finally settled in a twelfth-floor apartment in a housing estate behind People's High Court in northern Urumqi and ten minutes' walk from Xinjiang Normal University. Foreign nationals are required to register with the public security department within three days of arrival in a place. They are certainly required to register when they rent a property and to apply for a temporary residency permit. In Xinjiang, these rules are even tighter, for reasons of national security. The landlords who rent out properties to foreign nationals are required to apply for a registration. Foreigners' movements are strictly managed and controlled.
I don't know how many times I was asked to produce documents for the authorities during my time in Urumqi. Photocopies of my passport. Photocopies of my residency permit. Photocopies of my tenancy agreement. Even the well-guarded estate where I lived asked to have details of my identity. I came to learn that organising your daily life wasn't an easy task here.
"Integration" and racism
Photos: by Hsiao-Hung / faces of East Turkistan
Adel (not his real name) is a graduate in international trade and was teaching Mandarin to Uyghur students at the Science & Information College in Urumqi until the riots in July 2009. He is clearly fluent in Mandarin - more fluent than many Han Chinese people - and one of the most culturally "integrated" Muslims, as he put it. Nevertheless, he has never stopped suffering from racism.
"Work opportunities are scarce for people from
ethnic minority groups, particularly in the public sector," Adel said, "Jobs in
the state sector are seen as iron rice bowls, but they are basically denied to
the ethnic minorities, particularly since the late 1990s when quotas became
minimal - one out of ten posts is filled by ethnic minorities." Yet this is
happening in an autonomous region where ethnic minorities are the majority.
Adel himself was denied an interview when the employer asked his ethnic origin and he replied he was Uyghur. "Without connections, Uyghur graduates find it virtually impossible to get into jobs in the state sector. You'll have to bribe your way in, which would cost you something like 100,000 yuan [£11,000]."
On the 5th of July, 2009, which was a
Sunday, the city was in turmoil. Adel was asked to go into college, to protect
the Uyghur students who were asked to stay inside the college during the riots.
He recalls: "There was bloodshed on the streets. Students were frightened. Only
those picked up by their families were allowed to leave. I stayed with my
students inside the campus for the entire week."
"Only the teachers went out to buy food when it ran
out...During the first three days of the riot, no one dared to go out of campus -
if caught on the street, you would be killed, by either ethnic group. More than
three hundred Chinese were out on the street searching for Uyghurs to
retaliate...Dead bodies were on the streets. People went into hiding."
Despite Adel's efforts in protecting his students, the College blamed him when two of his students who had nothing to do with the riots but happened to be out on the street were arrested. One of them was from Kashgar and was detained for a month. "That student had his ID taken by the police during his first arrest. They never returned it to him. Later, they arrested him again, because he had no ID on him. Such senseless arrests and detention was common."
Adel eventually quit the teaching job as he couldn't tolerate the ill treatment coming from the College anymore.
"And discrimination against ethnic minorities has continued to worsen since the 2009 riot," he said, "Life became even more
difficult for us." It is a vicious circle: Part of the cause of the riot was
Uyghur people's anger at the increasing level of discrimination against them - on an
institutional as well as personal level, reflected in the severe unemployment amongst Uyghur youth.
Then, as a result of the riot, unfortunately, the discrimination intensified.
The Urumqi riot did not seem to have taught the Han
Chinese anything about racism. Many believe that the current level of surveillance in the
region is the only way forward. "The day-to-day
security isn't and shouldn't be a problem," a Han-Chinese trader in his early
thirties said to me, "With this level of policing in Urumqi, it would be hard
to imagine any danger. They [the perceived ethnic minorities] will not stand a
chance in fighting the police or the army. It would be like cracking eggs on a
stone." This trader, from Hubei, said he belonged to the "young urban
middle-class," who have benefited from the government's encouragement of
investment into the region.
State racism and nationalism
The prevalent racism is the ideological framework and justification for the state's ongoing anti-terror, anti-separatist practice in East Turkistan. This racism serves a political-economic purpose for the Chinese ruling class.
The idea of ethnicity and nationality in the post-1949 China had actually followed the tradition established in the Chinese Nationalist past at the beginning of the twentieth century. Assimilationism is at the centre of the conceptualisation of nation and "nationality" (minzu). The founder of the Chinese Nationalist Party (Kuomintang, or the KMT), Sun Yet Sen, theorised the assimilation policy towards ethnic minorities in his idea of "five-group co-existence" (wu zu gonghe), which encompasses Han, Man (Manchurian), Meng (Mongolian), Hui, Zang (Tibetan). His ethnic identification and recognition, which at the same time rules out the possibility of self-determination of ethnic groups, was inherited by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in its theory and practice towards the minorities. The CCP developed it into the classification of 56 ethnic groups in China and ensured the predominance of the ethnic majority by adopting the Chinese Nationalist conceptualisation of the all-encompassing "Chinese nation" (Zhonghua minzu).
Since 1949, China's state policies towards ethnic minorities have had two main sides: limited, superficial autonomy in stated principle (called "paper autonomy" in Binh G. Phan's research on China's regional autonomy) and repression in reality. In 1954, the Constitution formally illegalised secession and introduced the idea of "regional autonomy" (difang zizhi), meaning granting limited autonomy in areas where the ethnic minorities are the majority. Xinjiang, Tibet, Ningxia, Guangxi and Inner Mongolia became designated as autonomous regions.
What "regional autonomy" really means on the ground in East Turkistan is that Han-Chinese migration has been imposed while segregated areas have been created among all ethnic minority groups: the state set up autonomous prefectures, separating ethnic groups from each other and minimising their opportunity to govern. Meanwhile, whilst Han-Chinese culture is represented as modern and monolithic, the ethnic differences of the minorities are highlighted and minority cultures are exoticised and therefore marginalised.
Under gaige kaifang (economic reforms and opening up to the world market), Chinese nationalism has evolved into a much-racialised ideology, particularly since the 1980s. This process contradicted with the idea and assumption that the free flow of capital and commerce would mean the end of a strong state and aggressive nationalism. What has actually happened in East Turkistan is a demonstration of the compatibility between the growth of trade across borders and the intensification of nationalist indoctrination and control. The state institutions, such as the media, have been instrumental in the propagation of this increasingly fierce Chinese nationalism, which forms the essence of the state's deepening assimilationist policies practiced in East Turkistan.
The racialisation that works to the benefit of a unified Chinese nation draws on cultural concepts of Chinese civilisation and "an imaginary boundary of the Chinese state" as Dr Abanti Bhattacharya put it. Within this conceptualisation, Han-ren, synonym of the Chinese people, are set opposed to the culturally "under-developed" yi, literally meaning "barbarian," and had historically assimilated yi and incorporated them into the sphere of Chinese civilisation by leading them to a higher stage of development.
The Chinese Nationalists since the beginning of the twentieth century - and later the CCP since 1949 - had both adopted this cultural notion of the "Chinese" and the "Chinese nation". To be "Chinese" means being incorporated into Chinese culture and adopting Chinese cultural practices. Thus, the common derogatory comments often heard among Han Chinese people about the ethnic minorities are that "they are culturally backward."
The appointment of Wang Lequan as secretary of CCP's Xinjiang Committee between 1994 and 2010 certainly made things a lot worse. Wang was a prominent politician and had also served as a member of the Politburo since 2004. While developing industries and using the region's natural resources to fuel development of eastern China by linking up pipelines from Kazakhstan to the coastal region, he adopted the toughest approach towards the ethnic minorities. In the name of promoting "stability", he introduced the ban on beards and wearing headscarves, fasting and praying among workers in the state sector. As part of the national policy of standardisation of language since the early 1990s, Wang suppressed the need for Uyghur people to learn their own language and culture by strictly substituting Mandarin for ethnic minority languages in primary schools. Adding insult to injury, he made a notorious statement that "minority languages contain only limited amount of information."
However, it was only when the Han Chinese population began to feel frustrated with Wang's rule (because they believed he was incompetent in restoring social order after the 2009 Urumqi riot), that he was finally removed from his position. He was replaced by the new secretary Zhang Chunxian in April 2010.
Zhang continued with the emphasis on stability and has carried out a series of anti-terrorist campaigns since he came into office, from the anti-terror crackdown between August and October 2011, to the 100-day Strike Hard campaign in late 2011. According to the Xinjiang Daily, Zhang called on regional officials to "make a watchful security stance the norm rather than the exception." He said: "Officials at all levels must harden their stance on opposing splittism and stepping up their crackdown on extremist religious forces and their activities."
Photos: by Hsiao-Hung / Han-ized Urumqi
Photo (below): Children playing, old town of Kashgar
Photos: Top: People of Khotan; Bottom: Preparing for New Year, Khotan
Photos: Top: Sadir Palwan, Uyghur rebel against Qing rule, in Ghulja; Bottom picture: Ghulja street
Daily lives in Khotan, Kashgar and Ghulja
All photos by Hsiao-Hung Pai
Photos (top, bottom, left): People of Gaotai old town, Kashgar
Photos (above & left): Livestock market, Kashgar
Photos: Top & Bottom: Market and bakery, Kashgar
Photo: Children playing, New Year, Khotan
Photo: Afternoon snacks at a friend's place, Ghulja
Deprivation of basic civil rights in the name of War on Terror
All photos by Hsiao-Hung Pai
Photos: Locked-up mosques in the old town in the middle of forced demolition, Kashgar, 2011
Photo: Top: A widely-used image representing national unity, Gaotai old town, Kashgar; Bottom picture: Official National Day celebration, central Kashgar
Photo: "Be patriotic, be grateful, be hardworking; Help one another, be open and make progress," says government slogan, Kashgar
During my time there, the permanent question I had in my head was: How do you remain sane when the public speech is dominated by the state loudspeaker?
I often liked having conversations with cab drivers as they were usually full of colourful local information and clues to what goes on day-to-day. Here in Urumqi, like in most cities in China, cab drivers don't make a good living as the vehicle hire fee is too high - 160 yuan per day. As the number of cabs in Urumqi doesn't seem able to meet the demand, there are numerous unlicensed cabs (hei che) around - basically they are people who stop their cars anytime, anywhere, to get customers. Some are doing it on their way back home from a day's work, in order to boost their income a little.
One day, I got into one of these unlicensed cabs when trying to get away from a street packed with armed police who were guarding a job fare. "My friends are among those," the driver said, pointing to the police carrying pistols, "Special force police are deployed every time there is a major event in town." His line of work means constant contact - mostly hide and chase - with the public security authorities. "The cops searching us are all armed," he said, shaking his head. "Sometimes they find their own colleagues among us...I have two friends in the special police force and they take up the work as unlicensed cab drivers, while going on the streets penalising other unlicensed cab drivers for 10,000 to 30,000 yuan each time. It's their way of making extra cash." He laughed, shaking his head again.
Another day, when chatting with a Uyghur cab driver on my way to town centre, he pointed to a small camera at the right top corner of the cab, which I'd never noticed. He said: "Don't talk too much - it's all being recorded." He said that public security department takes care of these recordings and this is one of the ways they monitor suspicious activities. I asked him what "suspicious" meant. He replied, without a doubt, "separatist and terrorist."
The conscious linkage of "separatist" and "terrorist"- and the disappearance of a distinction between the two -- is a steadily growing phenomenon. The two terms began to surface jointly in the official Chinese political discourse in the 1990s.
After September 11, 2001, the Chinese government began to internationalise its anti-separatist campaigns by publicising them outside China and linking them with the War on Terror of the Bush administration.
In late 2008 and early 2009, Chinese authorities have intensified its implementation of harsh security controls throughout the region, before the Olympics Games. A White Paper on national defence was announced in January 2009, declaring a war on "the three threats (separatism, terrorism, religious extremism) to China's unity and security."
As Dr Abanti Bhattacharya, Associate Professor at the Department of East Asian studies, University of Delhi, points out, in the post-9-11 era, the war against international terrorism has influenced the region, and effectively allowed the Chinese state to blur the distinction between separatism and terrorism. Campaigns were fervently launched, particularly over the past two decades, and anti-separatism became part and parcel of anti-terrorist campaigns. Under the anti-terror banner, the Chinese authorities were able to restrict religious freedom of Muslims (particularly the Uyghur Muslims) in East Turkistan by banning certain religious practices during Ramadan, closing down mosques and exercising strict control over Islamic clergy. The anti-terror banner helped the state to justify the suppression of Uyghur people's right to assemble, associate and organise. It has legitimised criminalisation of Uyghur civil and religious groups.
Dr C. Gladney, author of Dislocating China: Muslims, Minorities and Other Subaltern Subjects and Ethnic Identity in China: The Making of a Muslim Minority Nationality, observes that many of the "terrorist" incidents that the Chinese government has attributed to "terrorist" organisations are actually "spontaneous and rather disorganised forms of civil unrest."
According to Amnesty International, "Separatism in fact covers a broad range of activities, most of which amount to no more than peaceful opposition or dissent." However, as Amnesty International recognises, in China, "preaching or teaching Islam outside government controls is also considered subversive." Amnesty International said in its report in 2008 that, Chinese government is using the War on Terror to justify repression of the Uyghur ethnic minority.
The walls have ears...
In Urumqi, I became acquainted with a man in his mid-twenties from the Kyrgyz ethnic minority group. He chose not to use his Chinese name (except in public) - he said it sounds too much like a car brand. To not to reveal his identity, I will call him by the Kyrgyz name of Kylych. He comes from the city of Atushi near the area bordering Kygyrstan, and has come to Urumqi to study business management in Xinjiang University.
On one occasion, I invited him to dinner in my flat, and prepared the popular Uyghur dishes, paulaw (rice with carrots and lamb dices, originated from Uzbekistan) and dapanji (stewed chicken with potatoes) for him.
I asked him whether
he has been visiting the mosque during his time in Urumqi. "Not much," he said, looking as if he felt
After a pause, he explained: "I
don't go to pray often because there are rules that forbid us to practice
religion. People are not permitted to visit the mosque if they happen to work
in state institutions and state-run companies and if they are students, of all
levels, from high school to university. It is the state policy to curb
religious practice among ethnic minorities and to stop the influence and growth
of religions." (Private companies would determine individually, on their own
terms, whether Muslim employees can go to the mosque.) [This was in 2011.]
"Under these rules, if caught by the police, we'll face a penalty. I've heard of people getting arrested as well," he said. His sister, currently a student at Xinjiang University, has also stopped practising religion and doing prayers during her time as a student here.
Kylych is clearly angry when talking about this. He
said: "Despite these rules, people tend to carry on practicing their
religion, quietly and secretly, outside of college and work...They defy the rules
in their private life. In southern Xinjiang, particularly, people always defy
the rules and practice Islam."
But obviously, the rules have created much fear among the Muslim population. "And that's why you'll see that most of the Muslims you'll find regularly in the mosques are jobless people. They're the only ones with nothing to lose..."
Kylych smiled bitterly and nicknamed the repression of religious practice as "Islam with Chinese characteristics."
"This personal level of repression of religious freedom must lead to revolt and uprising in the end," I said to him.
"It did already," he responded, "the last time, in 2009."
More than once, Kylych said to me: "In law, it says everyone is equal [according to China's Constitution], but the reality is different. You have to look beneath the surface." He said that his parents' generation tends to identify more with the Chinese rule. But as repression has deepened as a result of development in the past three decades, youth like him don't think the same anymore.
"Since the 1980s, the Han Chinese began to dominate the top ranks of officialdom here... Among the five autonomous states (Yili, Bole, Changji, Artux and Korla) in Xinjiang, the Han Chinese have dominated all positions of top officials..."
"Their dominance penetrates, down to the level of
townships and villages... In a township in Kashgar, there are 9,000 people among
whom there are only two Han Chinese - one of them is general secretary, the
other one is the head of the township. That's the way it is."
He said that the inflow of Chinese population since the 1980s has exacerbated the existing severe situation of inequality. "The unequal opportunities between the Han Chinese and ethnic minorities is the cause of unrest and uprising in recent years, culminating, again, in the riot of 2009. The cause of the riot lies in the inequality and injustice in Xinjiang."
During the 2009 riot, two of his friends from Kashgar and Khotan were shot dead without trial on the street of Urumqi on the 7th of July. They were Xinjiang University students and were protesting because they were angry with the state-imposed inflow of Han Chinese migration in poverty-stricken southern East Turkistan. Kylych tried to get in contact with them, but their mobile phones were switched off for a while. He only realised ten days later that they were killed. Not only was he very upset about their death, but he became very frightened for his own safety.
"I had a rail ticket to return home on the 7th of July, but I couldn't get on the train as all transportation was halted. I couldn't get in touch with my family in Atushi and couldn't send any emails as internet access was stopped."
A month later, when he finally got home, his family told him that during those days of the Urumqi riot, fear permeated the air in Atushi. Villagers were distributed a bag of flour per household and all shops were closed for business. No one was allowed to go out.
Kylych would never forget the feeling of being treated as the "enemy within". I think it must have taken a great deal of political repression to make someone of his age so politically aware. He said with sarcasm: "The real meaning of autonomy [he refers to the official title of the region, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region], if you'd like to know, is that in this multi-ethnic region, only one group [Han Chinese] dominates and makes decisions."
Then he paused, refrained himself from saying
more, and looked around. "Back in Atushi, my relatives and friends always said
'the walls have ears.' They would avoid talking about their political views,
even at home."
Breaking apart communities with the aim to achieve stability
The "New Frontier", a name acquired since the Qing dynasty's conquest of the region, is at the top of China's national security agenda. Military settlements have been deliberately enlarged over the years, and the armed forces are heavily deployed throughout the region. A series of anti-terrorist campaigns have been launched here as part of the US-led war on terror, while investment has been poured into a number of targeted cities in order to secure stability and maintain a "harmonious society".
Ten months after the 2009 Urumqi riot, Kashgar was designated by the central government as a new Special Economic Zone. Since then, this Uyghur-majority city near the border to Tajikistan has seen trade and investment come in from the much more developed eastern coast of China.
The strategic importance of Kashgar, and East Turkistan as a whole, increased with the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) launched in 2015. This region is China's bridge to Central Asian, Middle Eastern and European markets, making it the heart of the BRI. East Turkistan is the largest logistical centre among the BRI countries. Of the six planned BRI economic corridors, three will pass through the region, including the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor linking Kashgar to Port Gwadar in Pakistan. A distribution hub is also being developed in Khorgos on the Xinjiang-Kazakhstan border.
As Wei Shan, NUS East Asia Institute, points out, in 2017 around US$66 billion was invested in infrastructure in this region - a 50% increase year-on-year. "The government has promoted trade and financial cooperation between Xinjiang and BRI countries. Trade with BRI countries accounts for over 80% of Xinjiang's total trade. In terms of financial development, the region is expected to become a cross-border renminbi settlement centre."
Photos: by Hsiao-Hung / Old town, Kashgar