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Life in restive Xinjiang, through the eyes of a Russian traveller

Xinjiang is home to 10 million Uygurs. This week the community has become the focus of political debate in the wake of the Tiananmen terror attack. Here, we take a look at life along the Karakorum Highway through the lens of Russian photographer Mikhail Perfilov.

PUBLISHED : Friday, 01 November, 2013, 11:15am
UPDATED : Friday, 01 November, 2013, 11:57am


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After the Tiananmen terror attack on Monday, Xinjiang has returned to the centre of political debate in China. The Chinese Minister for State Security has singled out the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, active in the region, as the organziation that orchestrated the attack, which left 5 people dead and 42 injured.

News quickly transpired that the three people in the car that rammed through barricades and exploded in flames on Beijing's Tiananmen Square were Uygurs, prompting concerns over a backlash against the ethnic group. Japanese media said on Firday that parts of the region have since been closed off. 

As almost half of Xinjiang's 22 million residents of the restive Western region are Uygurs, they are the biggest ethnic group in the region bordering Afghanistan and Kazachstan.  

Xinjiang is China's largest administrative division and larger than Iran or Mongolia, with stunning scenery of imposing mountain ranges and relics of a unique cultural legacy. Russian photographer Mikhail Perfilov is travelling along the Karakorum Highway, the world's highest connecting Kashgar with Islamabad, Pakistan.

He has shared some impressions with the South China Morning Post