A Uighur guide walks home after taking tourists on a camel tour through the Dawakun Desert in Xinjiang, China. Tourism in Xinjiang suffered a severe blow after political violence rocked the province during the 2008 Olympic Games. A Turkic ethnic minority, Uighurs make up close to half of Xinjiang’s population of 20 million people and are scattered throughout China’s northwest Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.  A small group of Uighur militants that is frustrated with the Han Chinese domination of the regional economy and the government’s routine persecution of Muslims has taken up arms to fight for an independent East Turkistan state.

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