Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Ryan Pyle: Chinese Turkestan

Here's a feature by photographer Ryan Pyle on Chinese Turkestan, which touches on the Uyghur people and their efforts to preserve their cultural and religious practices in China.

Chinese Turkestan is now known as Xinjiang, and is an autonomous region of mainland China. It is the largest Chinese administrative division and borders Russia, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India, has abundant oil reserves and is China's largest natural gas-producing region.

Its major ethnic groups include Uyghur, Han, Kazakh, Hui, Kyrgyz and Mongol.It also has a documented history of at least 2,500 years, and a succession of different peoples and empires vying for control over the territory.

Ryan Pyle obtained a degree in International Politics from the University of Toronto, moved to China permanently in 2002 and began taking freelance assignments in 2003. He became a regular contributor to The New York Times covering China, where he documented issues such as rural health care, illegal land seizures, bird flu and environmental degradation. He also has published magazine work, such as the Sunday Times Magazine, Der Spiegel, Fortune, TIME, Outside, Forbes and Newsweek.

Normally, the Muslim call to prayer is melodious but the one chosen for this piece's soundtrack is not, so perhaps you may want to turn the audio off.