Este reportaje fotográfico se hizo en Abril de 2007. Ahora está de plena actulidad, ahora lo descubrimos. Gracias a este desfase de tiempo entre las imágenes y las noticias de actulidad podemos apreciar, de manera más objetiva, la naturaleza de las historias humanas.
Workers string electric lines across Taklamakan Desert, part of the Chinese government's effort to develop the West.
CHINA Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous region An elderly woman performs namas (prayers) in her home in Hotan while her granddaughter waits in the doorway.
CHINA Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous region Uighur workers shape metal by hand in the Old Town area of Kashgar.
Restaurant in a Uighur oasis town between Yarkand and Hotan. Historically, the bazaars of Uighur oasis towns are what allowed the region to maintain its autonomous economy, but the Chinese effort to develop the West of the country is severely disrupting this system, particularly in urban areas.
A Uighur market just outside Kashgar. Historically, the bazaars of Uighur oasis towns are what allowed the region to maintain its autonomous economy, but the Chinese effort to develop the West of the country is severely disrupting this system, particularly in urban areas.
CHINA Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous region A Uighur family attempts to irrigate dusty land in the Taklamakan Desert between Kashgar and Yarkand. Most of this region is desert and arid plain, and it is one of the world's driest spots, receiving almost no rainfall. The water that does feed these oases starts as snowmelt in the surrounding mountain ranges and the region is hit by frequent sand-dust storms that threaten crops.
A woman negotiates the price for mending a man's clothes in an oasis town between Yarkand and Hotan.
A mud brick home in a small oasis town between Kashgar and Yarkand.
Retratos de Karl Marx y Portraits of Karl Marx and Chairman Mao hang above the blackboard in a mixed classroom of Han Chinese and Uighur students in the city of Kashgar. Teaching of the Uighur language is now banned from schools in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region and over the past 50 years, the Chinese government has sent large numbers of Han Chinese to the cities of Xinjiang to increase its control over the predominantly Turkic western frontier.
How do the Uighur people negotiate ways of being under the Chinese government's strict anti-Uighur policies? Uighurs are Muslim, speak a Turkic language closely related to Uzbek, and live primarily in rural, subsistence communities. About 10 million Uighurs live in China’s Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region; another 300,000 in neighbouring Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. "Xinjiang was briefly an independent state prior to World War II before collapsing into Mao’s China, and Uighurs continue to aspire to cultural and political autonomy, and at times to independence," write Drake and Greenberg. "Since the late 1980s, however, China has sent millions of migrants into Xinjiang in an effort to populate the country's west with loyal Chinese. Uighurs are now a minority in Xinjiang; expressions of Uighur culture such as Uighur-language media and repositories of Uighur ethnic identity such as the mosque are severely constrained. Uighurs are under intensive pressure to shed their ethnic identity and assimilate into the larger Han culture."Greenberg and Drake propose "to document the nodes of the Uighur network: the truck stops, livestock markets, secondary schools, and county offices where Uighurs connect with each other, sometimes furtively." Through their characters, they "will tell a story of Uighurs negotiating a path forward, those who obstruct, circumgyrate, or submit to the state's program of Uighur cultural disappearance."As a team they will work almost entirely in tandem, spending their time in the "same tea houses, classrooms, Uighur-language bookshops, back-store card games, profiling the same characters - the interviews, conversations, and images informing each other’s work." They will also cross the border into Kazakhstan, where "Uighurs enjoy a greater degree of cultural autonomy (although not a political one). This contrast will be part of the story.