The mysterious Tarim mummies in the Urumqi museum are 4000 year
old. Some feature red hair. They are now believed to be isolated ancestors to Holocene Ancient North
Eurasian hunter gatherers.
Around 140 BC envoy Zhang Qian explored the region for his emperor Wu. His reports helped the
Han dynasty to establish control over the Northern Silk Road.
Over the next centuries Turks, Tang, Tibetans, Uyghurs and Mongols
ruled the area until in 1884 the Qing Empire re-established firm Chinese control.
Xinjiang forms the ethnic
border between Caucasoid and Mongoloid people. Apart from Han Chinese, some 55 officially recognized minorities live here.
Most of them
are Muslim, and like everywhere else also here the Islam has bloody borders.
Uyghur attacks on Han Chinese in 2009 triggered severe
repressive actions from the Chinese government that continue today.
In 2003 we toured a then quiet Xinjiang with