THE INVISIBLE WALL
Urumqi, Xinjiang, China
Located in the historical Silk Road, in the last decades Urumqi became the hub of the new Silk Road Economic Belt. Chinese’s raising influence and interest in Central Asia makes the capital of Xinjiang extremely strategic. Massive infrastructure and transportation projects have developed, shopping malls have mushroomed to appeal local costumers and the city traffic have doubled in the last two years. Flocks of Han (ethnic chinese) – both migrants from the poorest regions of China and specialized professionals – have moved to Urumqi to work on well-paid government jobs. As a result to this impressive migration, which appears as a de facto colonization, the Uyghur people became a minority, and were slowly relegated to the role of second-class citizens. The North of the city have rapidly developed, while the Uyghur started to move south, into the mainly Uyghur-inhabited district of Erdiaqiao, where the most of the Han are even afraid to set a foot in. Two different Urumqi emerged. An invisible wall was erected amongst the two.