China's Outer Lands

CompanyNewsweek and The Daily Beast
PhotographerQ. Sakamaki
Prize2nd Place in Book (Series Only)
Entry Description

China’s northeast, west, and southwest outer regions have been home to many different ethnic groups: the Manchus, Uighurs, Bais, and Naxis, for example. Their languages and religions were, and are, very different from those of the Han Chinese. Many of the people in these outer regions, like the Uighurs and other peoples of Turkic ancestry, celebrate Islam. These groups have historically been located at significant crossroads, and changes in the balance of power over time have created waves of migrants looking for better lives. Today, they face the phenomenon of China’s massive economic development. Millions of ethnic Han Chinese have migrated into these regions, and this has created enormous economic disparity as well as conflicts between the old guard and the newcomers. In this modern context, the people in China’s outer provinces must struggle, whether consciously or not, to redefine their identity.