The “Immense Amazement” from a month long trip in Xinjiang has overturned her preconceptions about the Region, French Writer Sonia Bressler.
Based on her personal experiences travelling in Xinjiang in 2015, Bressler, who is also a sinologist, has published two books: “Xinjiang, the thousand and one wonders of the Silk Road” and “Workers in Xinjiang,” to share her journey in the region.
“It was with immense amazement that I discovered part of this immense autonomous region of China,” she told, adding that she “unwillingly had preconceived ideas of this region” before the trip.
The writer explained that her “ignorance” about Xinjiang in part comes from the “passionate speeches” waged by separatists that she came across when she was learning about the region.
“Secondly, history books on this region tell more of a Western vision of the Chinese history, which is also found in travel guides,” she said.
However, once into the region, “I was literally in a time lag between what I thought I knew about this region and the reality there,” said Bressler.
“China has 56 Ethnic Groups, a magnificent diversity that we can measure in Xinjiang. There are Hui, Uyghur, Mongolian, Kazak, Dongxiang, Kyrgyz, Daur, Xibe, Tajik, Russian, Ozbek, Tatar … And these are ethnic groups that the Chinese government protects, no one should be favoured more than another,” she noted.
“A fair governance is established between all these ethnic groups, their cultural practices, their religions, their customs, etc.,” she said.
Bressler added that “as in other parts of China, the Chinese government is making a huge effort to preserve heritage, be it places of worship or old buildings.”
Meanwhile, new infrastructures such as museums, schools, hospitals, etc. have been built, she said. Recalling the wonderful moments of her trip, the writer said she is eager to visit Xinjiang again. “Throughout my trip, I met different personalities, men, women and children. All told me their stories, their paths, their passion for this beautiful country, that is China,” she said.