Security situation in Xinjiang - leave your thoughts

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globetraveler
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Re: Security situation in Xinjiang - leave your thoughts

Postby globetraveler » Thu Aug 22, 2019 12:18 pm

That night I arrived to Kashgar, found a hostel. Took a walk around. Really liked the atmosphere so planned to stay for two nights. But after all that hassle in the previous two days I wasn't sure I really wanted. Tomorrow morning visited Kashgar attractions quickly, took my backpack and hitched all the way to Tashkurgan (7h, 300km). Thr scenery was excellent on the way. There were 3 checkpoints, the first one after 100km. If you don't have Tajik/Pakistani visa or some permit, you won't be allowed to go any further. At least, this is what policeman told me. I had Tajik evisa,so didn't have big problem. Tashkurgan was nice and small, a bit more expensive than other cities as it is high in the clouds (3600m). Visited the old fort on quick and hitched back to Kalasu border (more about that kn Qolma pass part). Two hours Xray, checking photos, camera and phone, crossed the border. Directly from the Hell to Heaven. After 4 days, finally feel like no one is hunting me. Freedom.
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StephParis
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Re: Security situation in Xinjiang - leave your thoughts

Postby StephParis » Thu Sep 12, 2019 6:30 pm

I'm back from Xinjiang, where I've spent two weeks in august. Here is what I can say about it.
First, I could visit all the cities I wanted : Urumqi, Turpan, Korla, Kuqa, Hotan, Kashgar and Tashkurgan. Second : the situation was less tense than expected.
I had decided to enter Xinjiang by plane from a neighboor country to avoid overland hassle. It had worked : entry process was very smooth with barely 2 or 3 questions, no search in my bagage or in my phone.
Clearly, Kuqa resulted as the most sensitive city. My arrival was quite "normal" (intercepted at train station by police for questions and verifications), but inside the city I've been stopped twice (police is everywhere) : first when I was taking photos in the old city, second when I took a useless photo in the center. Second time they let me go after usual checkings. First time they deleted all the photos of the old city and asked me strongly to leave. One police car even followed me on my way back to the hotel. Same thing happened the day after when I went to visit the old mosque (nothing to visit there by the way as there's absolutely no life left) : one guy followed me as I was walking through the old city.
I was expecting more or less same situation in Hotan, but none of this happened : it took me half an hour to go through police control, but after that they didn't bother me during my stay.
Generally speaking, one thing shocked me in Xinjiang : faces of Uyghur people. 6 years ago, when I already visited the region, people smiled to me, talked with me, even about politics. This time, nothing. They don't try to create contact, they don't respond to your tries. They really look frightened. Only children don't care about this, but parents don't seem very confortable when their children laugh and smile with foreigners.
I exited Xinjiang overland. All my photos and films have been checked, but nothing about vpn (that I had and worked pretty well).
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rhinomaxil
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Re: Security situation in Xinjiang - leave your thoughts

Postby rhinomaxil » Sun Sep 15, 2019 2:42 pm

Hi,

I’ve just spent two weeks in Xinjiang beginning of September. Like the message above I didn’t find the security situation as bas as I read, except maybe for Kuqa indeed.

I crossed the border from Mongolia to China (Bulgan border) and from China to Kyrgyzstan (Irkeshtam) and both crossings went pretty smoothly - my phone and camera weren’t checked.

There are a few checkpoints on the road between cities (never inside a city) and they all went pretty fast (~5 mins, no questions asked, except the one before Wuqia before reaching the Kyrgyz border).

I only stayed one night in Urumqi so I cannot comment much but it is such a big city that you mostly go unnoticed. Stayed at Bestay Hostel which can be booked online and is okay. One thing I should mention here: it is quite hard to get a SIM card in Xinjiang as most places ask for a Chinese ID. I was able to get one at a big China Telecom office near the Xin Mei Hotel on maps.me (43°48′28.51″N 87°35′21.66″E). They told me at first that I would need to come back to the same store to deactivate it when I leave China but after a short discussion on Google Translate they told me I wouldn’t need to do that in fact. Also I was able to use a VPN with my SIM card during my time in Xinjiang.

Next city was Turpan - my favorite in Xinjiang. Dap Youth Hostel is the place to stay - very nice place with a beautiful patio, English-speaking staff, conveniently located... I found that in Turpan people were more relaxed, the atmosphere is nice and there are very few tourists (foreigners or Han Chinese) unlike Kashgar. One of the best things to do is to go visit the Emin Minaret at the end of the day (the mosque looks closed but it is not, go inside!), then wander in the vineyards around the mosque (workers harvesting are very friendly and they will offer you grapes) and then go up the street that goes straight into the city center - this is the Uighur neighborhood and people are incredibly friendly.

Next was Kuqa. Kuqa Hotel (41°43′11.34″N 82°57′28.39″E) accepts foreigners but it is a big hotel (200¥ a double room for 1 person). This is the city where I felt the most uncomfortable but still it was not difficult to travel. I had an undercover police escort following me the whole time (6 guys in a white car, dressed as civilians who would take turn following me in the streets, mosque, etc.). Also it was obvious there that the Uighurs were scared compared to other cities in Xinjiang. The Reste Mosque was closed but I was able to visit the Great Mosque (pictures here: https://www.instagram.com/p/B2ZVu3IJ4hB ... pd7hgfp49k) with my police escort. The Sunday Bazaar is also a really nice place to visit, more lively and authentic than the Kashgar one - the main reason for me to visit Kuqa actually. Its location is not in the Uighur neighborhood anymore but a bit outside of town, northwest (41°43′54.85″N 82°54′20.23″E). Trust the maps.me location. Bus 1 will get you there from city center.

Finally I went to Kashgar. It has become a Uighur Disneyland. The old district has been completely destroyed and rebuilt a new. Some Uighurs are paid to entertain the Han Chinese tourists. But I have to admit that the new old district was beautifully rebuilt and as it is still inhabited by Uighurs, it is very lively and nice to walk around. Overall I’d still recommend visiting Kashgar. Two additional tips: the famous animal bazaar is located here now (39°31′22.01″N 75°55′55.98″E) - careful with the maps.me location, one is not correct. Last but not least: there is still one real old district still standing in Kashgar and waiting to be destroyed. It is closed to the public but I was able to climb my way in. Do it at your own risk if you’re interested (otherwise I put pictures here: https://www.instagram.com/p/B2RQj_oJJ2o ... 6r7h6naq38).

I also went to Tashkurgan on the Karakoram Highway with a Tajik e-visa using public transportation (see separate post).

Overall I don’t think the situation is as bad as presented in Xinjiang (for foreigners, not for Uighurs). I’d recommend it, maybe more as part of a longer trip in the region.

Enjoy
4 x

Greentravelbug
Posts: 10
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Re: Security situation in Xinjiang - leave your thoughts

Postby Greentravelbug » Sun Sep 15, 2019 5:26 pm

Can anyone fill me in on how safe and possible it currently is to enter China from Pakistan (Karakoram) and then going to Tajikistan or another Stan country. I would do this overland by bicycle. Possibly take my bike on a train
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rhinomaxil
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Re: Security situation in Xinjiang - leave your thoughts

Postby rhinomaxil » Mon Sep 16, 2019 3:41 am

I met a JP guy who did Pakistan-Kashgar-Kyrgyztan, not by bike though. Also let several cyclists doing China-Kyrgyzstan. You will need to take a taxi between Wuqia and the Kyrgyz border (they wait for you after the border post in Wuqia - they paid 1,000¥/pers + 1,000 for the bike)
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cztt346
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Sep 15, 2019 3:16 pm

Re: Security situation in Xinjiang - leave your thoughts

Postby cztt346 » Wed Sep 18, 2019 2:40 pm

" even babies are frisked, i dont know how they can bare it; its just relentless, over and over..."is much exaggerated. I don't know how can you fabricating such stories.
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cztt346
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Sep 15, 2019 3:16 pm

Re: Security situation in Xinjiang - leave your thoughts

Postby cztt346 » Wed Sep 18, 2019 3:18 pm

A Chinese motorcycle rider wrote in 2017 claim that foreign motorcycle riders should be registered at the People's Armed Police(PAP) (also called Chinese Armed Police Force, CAPF) XJ Border Defence Bureau (Wujing XJ Bianfang Zongdui in Chinese Pinyin) at Urumqi to let their vehicle pass the Irkeshtam border crossing to Kyrgyzstan.

source: https://www.sohu.com/a/167380632_657255
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Blindcapitals
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Re: Security situation in Xinjiang - leave your thoughts

Postby Blindcapitals » Tue Oct 01, 2019 7:19 am

StephParis wrote:I'm back from Xinjiang, where I've spent two weeks in august. Here is what I can say about it.
First, I could visit all the cities I wanted : Urumqi, Turpan, Korla, Kuqa, Hotan, Kashgar and Tashkurgan. Second : the situation was less tense than expected.
I had decided to enter Xinjiang by plane from a neighboor country to avoid overland hassle. It had worked : entry process was very smooth with barely 2 or 3 questions, no search in my bagage or in my phone.
Clearly, Kuqa resulted as the most sensitive city. My arrival was quite "normal" (intercepted at train station by police for questions and verifications), but inside the city I've been stopped twice (police is everywhere) : first when I was taking photos in the old city, second when I took a useless photo in the center. Second time they let me go after usual checkings. First time they deleted all the photos of the old city and asked me strongly to leave. One police car even followed me on my way back to the hotel. Same thing happened the day after when I went to visit the old mosque (nothing to visit there by the way as there's absolutely no life left) : one guy followed me as I was walking through the old city.
I was expecting more or less same situation in Hotan, but none of this happened : it took me half an hour to go through police control, but after that they didn't bother me during my stay.
Generally speaking, one thing shocked me in Xinjiang : faces of Uyghur people. 6 years ago, when I already visited the region, people smiled to me, talked with me, even about politics. This time, nothing. They don't try to create contact, they don't respond to your tries. They really look frightened. Only children don't care about this, but parents don't seem very confortable when their children laugh and smile with foreigners.
I exited Xinjiang overland. All my photos and films have been checked, but nothing about vpn (that I had and worked pretty well).


I'm really interested in hearing more from People who've been here more than once ... I was here five years ago and I had many happy interactions with Uyghurs, but to be honest my memory is just so bad... This time around, nothing, and anytime I try (in Mandarin Chinese) there is this weird grin they all have. I read it as sort of anxious, awkward fake smile, but maybe it is just a grin of non comprehension? I said a salam to a woman who sat down opposite me. She moved away. Is she scared or just sick of tourists? I suspect the former, but it's difficult to know for certain. Just now, literally while writing this, I heard a terrible scream. I went to the balcony and saw a police van pull away... Obviously knowing what's going on here it's easy to make assumptions, but with this terrible silence, you can never know what the truth is...

In general though, I concur that the security situation for tourists even on national day, is much better than expected. I was even having lunch with this Uyghur woman (she very deliberately approached me and asked me to go with her so I decided I should see it through), who turned out to have mental health issues and had a huge mental breakdown in the restaurant, the police took her away but didn't even ask to see my ID...
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AreWeThereYet?
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Re: Security situation in Xinjiang - leave your thoughts

Postby AreWeThereYet? » Tue Nov 26, 2019 6:38 am

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