Islamic China

In recent days I’ve been seeing images and television footage from Xinjiang Provence in western China where tensions are running high between different ethnic groups.   China is not as racially and culturally homogenous as some outsiders may believe.   Officially there are 56 different “national minorities” in China including about 13 in Xinjiang Provence.

Historically the region was scene to numerous struggles between different ethnic groups with “Chinese” influence alternately waxing and waning from the 1st century AD onwards.   The most numerous of these “minorities” in Xinjiang Provence is the Uighur numbering around 7 to 8 million.   In the mid-1950s, they represented about 90% of the provence’s population, however since that time there has been a determined effort by the government in Beijing to develop the region with the building of rail links and so on,  and with it an influx of new residents from the eastern seaboard of China.   The result is that today the population of Xinjiang is in excess of 15 million with the Uighur now representing less than 50% of the total.

I am not going to enter into any debate about rights and wrongs here,  simply provide this as a very brief historical background to what’s going on there.

The Uighur,  and several other groups in the region follow the Islamic faith.   One of the things that surprised me when I visited China was how widespread the Islamic influence was,  extending through central Asia (including western China) and being obvious as far east as Xian where today’s photo was taken.

Islamic China
Islamic China

Original capture on colour negative film with Pentax SF7 and 28-80mm lens.

Website update.

I have recently updated my main site,  with a new homepage image and a linked explanation of it.   I’ve also included some links on my homepage to some of my other internet activities,  Facebook,  Twitter, etc for those who may wish to find me there,  exchange ideas, and so on.   Whilst on the subject of my main site,  if you haven’t visited for a while and are interested in the photographic process and the thinking and technique behind some of the images,  you’ll find that my “past homepage images explained” page has steadily grown.    Together with the essays, I’ve got online,  it’s developed into a pretty good resource,  even if I do say so myself…(grin).

Preview,  the month ahead.

My next blog entry,  early next week,  is likely to be my last for several weeks.   I’ve dusted off the passport,  booked some flights,  cleaned my lenses,  and am now counting down the days till I leave on another adventure.    That China slideshow I’ve been meaning to put together might have to wait a little longer.   I’m going back to Africa,  Botswana, and South Africa to be exact,  it should be fantastic.   The focus of the trip will be,  as you may have already guessed,  photography and plenty of it.   I anticipate that the Botswana leg of the trip will be very much wildlife intensive whilst the South Africa leg will be a little more landscape oriented.

I need to make some decisions shortly about just what I’m going to take with me in terms of equipment.    I’ll be limited to 20 kilograms of check-in luggage and 7 kilograms of carry-on luggage.   I will of course be taking two digital SLRs,  several lenses, and at least one, and possibly two,  tripods.    Obviously, I’ll take still images galore but I need to consider if,  and to what extent,  I pursue video footage as well.    I readily admit to being a novice with video,   (I always had trouble setting the clock on my VCR!) but the opportunity may be unrepeatable.

Whilst travelling I expect to have limited if any,  access to the internet,  so the blogging will be on hold.   The upside is that when I get back I should have some great new content to post.  ….. KD.

This image is part of my China 1999 image gallery.   ~KD.