The author spent nearly two years, from 2002 to 2005, in the capital of Xinjiang, Urumchi [Urumqi], where she taught English.  (It seems that she could speak rather fluently Chinese, but not Uighur.)  Contrary to the usual way of delimiting the political and economical divisions of Xinjiang population along ethnic lines, she detects another crucial cut, according to the language of schooling and communication.  She investigates the group of the Min kao Han, that is the Uighurs who have studied since childhood in Chinese language and graduated in the Chinese teaching system.  She singles out three different situations, depending on the generation:

The impact of Western influence doubling the cultural destruction owed to Chinese presence, the Uighurs turn their resentment against the Min kao Han taken as scapegoats. The Min kao Han begin to form a third community, along the native and Chinese ones.  Future will show how it might evolve.  (The author was not able to assert the use of their mother tongue when out of school by Uighur children taught in Chinese, nor their respect of religious restrictions and observances.  And, following the Chinese ethnic classification counting the Muslim Chinese, the “Hui”, as a separate ethnic group, she looks surprised to find them scattered among the Han.)

Françoise Aubin, National Centre for Scientific Research, Paris
CER: I-7.4.G-686