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Jakarta Post

What the West has gotten wrong about Xinjiang

This photo taken on June 4, 2019 shows Uighur men resing in front of a coffee bar in the restored old city area of Kashgar, in China's western Xinjiang region. In China's Xinjiang, a northwest region tightly controlled by police, authorities have created a parallel universe for tourists and locals -- a place where travellers sightsee just a stone's throw from internment camps. (AFP/Greg Baker)
Yi Fan
Beijing   ●   Fri, April 23 2021

Since the ancient Silk Road was opened in the 2nd century BC, Xinjiang – China’s westernmost region bordering Central Asia – has mesmerized visitors with its landscape, culture and folklore. In recent months, stories of Xinjiang have again made headlines, yet the true ones are often left untold or perhaps, mistold.

Xinjiang and its periphery are home to China’s largest Muslim population, known as the Uyghur. As with Indonesia, they have been influenced mostly by the moderate strand of Islam, one that espouses religious tolerance and communal peace.

Xinjiang was made an autonomous region in 1955 out of respect for its unique ethnic mix. Islam has been respected and practiced, as evidenced by the high concentration of mosques, higher than in most Muslim countries. Yet the growth of moderate Islam was chal...

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