The Other Tibet - China's Uygurs, 2009
Each May hundreds of Uygurs, a mostly Muslim people, travel through the Taklimakan Desert to pray at the mazar, or shrine, of Imam Asim. It is located near where Muslim forces are said to have defeated Buddhists in the 10th century. Barely visible through the sandstorm, telephone lines stretch across desert, part of the government’s efforts to develop this far western province.
This concerted government economic development effort in the region has brought social and religious oppression. Though remote gathering places such as the one pictured here can evade government control to an extent, other forms of religious expression have been repressed. Restrictions are placed on observing Ramadan and men wearing beards or women wearing veils.