Eurasian Crossroads: A History of Xinji…

In many ways the history of Xinjiang is in exile like its many dissidents, such as Rebiya Kadeer. The People’s Republic of China, in whose uneasy embrace it lies, has enforced a strictly patriotic historical narrative that disallows the complexity suggested by the province’s various identities throughout history: Buddhists, Zoroastrians, Nestorian Christians, Sufis, Shiites and Sunnis have all worshipped there. It has been occupied in turn by the obscure and the mysterious, such as the Qarakhanids and Hephthalites, and the mighty and powerful, including Mongols, Soviets, the Tibetan Empire and several Chinese dynasties. Xinjiang has had so many languages, peoples and cultures that towns, mountains and rivers have multiple names, creating a geographic Babel.

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