We show you our most important and recent visitors news details 35 hours of flight won’t suffice to discover magnificent treasures of even a single Chinese region in the following article
Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - By Abdullah Obian
URUMQI, XINJIANG — Anyone who visits the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, located in northwest China, realizes that China’s strength is not limited only to its commercial and industrial weight in its capacity as the second largest economic power in the world.
Rather, the Chinese culture, featuring its multiple intersections and social, political and religious dimensions, represents another qualitative addition that manifests distinctly in the Xinjiang region, which is inhabited mainly by the Uighur Muslims. The Uighur represent the majority of the region’s population, in addition to other nationalities such as the Han, Kazakhs, Hui, Kyrgyz, and other nationalities and minorities. The city of Kashgar in Xinjiang combines the civilization of the ancient past with dreams of a bright future.
While considering cultural diversity as a driving force for development, these nationalities constitute an added value to China through their cultural diversity, religious affiliation, and social stability emanating from adhering to strict Chinese regulations, coupled with a major development renaissance.
During the last weeks, my tour of China, which took more than 35 hours of flight, was not simply a traditional visit. Rather, it was a qualitative visit. My media colleagues and writers from about 15 countries around the world were able to learn about the bright cultural and civilizational aspects that would not have been discovered had we not visited the Xinjiang region at the invitation of the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China.
I thought that by accepting this invitation, I can enjoy a great deal of relaxation like similar invitations from some other countries, and I would be satisfied with meeting the participants and having the rich discussions that often take place on the sidelines of such occasions. But I discovered from the very first day of the visit to the city of Urumqi, the capital of the Xinjiang region, that we had a difficult program schedule. It was hectic and featured the dynamism and vibrancy of the Chinese, as the daily program began at seven in the morning and extended until nine in the evening, and the program included many long overland and flight trips.
In the Xinjiang region, we moved between the cities of Urumqi, Kashgar, and the Emin County in Ili province, and then back to Urumqi again. The tour covered many museums, historical places, mosques, and schools, as well as the charming landscapes, music villages, major companies, ports, stations for transporting goods via trains, and free trade zones. There are many commercial centers overlooking the ancient Silk Road, which was considered as a stop for caravans and thriving commercial and cultural centers in the ancient period.
In every city, we find that the Arab and Islamic civilizations still showcase their beauty, starting from the Arabic letters used in the Uyghur language, all the way to the ancient buildings, inscriptions, and mosques. Indeed, the impact of Islamic culture has clearly stretched to some customs, traditions, traditional costumes, and the ancient method of construction using clay and wood, as well as to the similarity in some popular cuisine, especially in the cities of Kashgar and Emin.
This was following the entry of Islam into the Xinjiang region in the period between the end of the 9th century and the beginning of the 10th century, in addition to the movement of some people from the Xinjiang region to Makkah and Madinah, to learn through them many new customs, traditions, and popular cuisine, including mantu, yaghmush, and others.
During the visit to the city of Kashgar, an old popular traditional song of the Xinjiang region caught my attention. I listened to it from one of the artists, and I continued listening to the song for a long time as it was identical in melody to one of the couplets of the late Saudi maestro Tariq Abdul Hakim in his song “Ya Reem Wadi Thaqif,” specifically the couplet that begins with “You are the hope and aspiration... In my heart, there is a place for you.”
Although I sought the help of the well-known composer Muhammad Al-Mughais and the creative artist Abdul Hadi Hussein, who agreed with me on the identicalness of the two melodies, I still do not know which of them preceded the other in its composition. However, I considered that it was just a flow of ideas as I prefer to treat it that way. I don’t mind whether a quote was extracted by one of the either two in an early period that preceded the Internet revolution.
Also, I am not in favor of exaggerating the phenomenon of quoting and reaching the point of accusing artists of plagiary as the musical maestros such as Beethoven, Mozart, Bach, Tchaikovsky and others, borrowed explicitly from the European heritage, and they also quoted from each other. Therefore, I do not see the exaggeration of this phenomenon as much as I see that it requires an independent study that goes beyond melody and music to customs, traditions, types of food, dances, and the way they are transmitted between distant regions, coupled with time and social and political circumstances.
At another stop on our tour in the Xinjiang region, I happened to come across a specialized Chinese professor delivering a lecture about arts and music, during which he was exclaiming: Are singing and music forbidden in Islam? The professor stressed at the same time that he has an ambiguous concept about this content.
While some people from the audience confirmed to him that singing and music are forbidden in Islam, he drew attention to his experience of participating in arts and music festivals in some Arab and Islamic countries, saying that this is something that refutes their assertions. A clarification was made in the symposium to resolve the confusion on this topic, saying that music in Islam is a controversial topic among jurists, and there is no evidence from the Qur’an that it is forbidden. Therefore, many Islamic countries, including Saudi Arabia, teach music to male and female students in schools, but singing in Islam is considered by jurists to be permissible with restrictions.
One of the most prominent features of the Xinjiang region, which is rich in natural resources, in addition to its economic, cultural and geographical importance, is the enchanting and picturesque beauty of nature, where green spaces embrace the snow-covered mountain peaks. The lofty heads of the Uighurs are covered with white hats when they work in their farms full of fruits and fragrant flowers, which give the place a romantic and embracing element replete with perfume and rain to create an imagery where colors and ideas come from the imaginations of creative artists, poets and musicians in those regions.
Frankly, I was not very much surprised by the beauty of nature in the Xinjiang region, as this was expected in advance, but what was surprising to me was the presence of deserts that are very much identical to the deserts of Saudi Arabia.
When the plane was flying with us on its way from the city of Kashgar to the city of Emin in Ili governorate, I opened the window to enjoy it. With stunning natural scenery, I was surprised to see golden deserts stretching over vast terrain. Upon research and investigation, I found that China embraces many deserts with a nature that attracts many tourists and visitors, including the Taklamakan desert, which comes in second place in the world in terms of geographical area after the Sahara desert, as well as Kumtaq, Korban Tangut and other luscious golden deserts
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