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Discovering Xinjiang: A closer look at Kazakh ethnic minority

08-27-2012 14:54 BJT

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This is final instalment of three part series on life, economy and culture in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous region. Today we’re taking a look at the Kazakh minority, who are making a big push to promote cultural tourism around the city of Urumqi. New performances are showcasing the ethnic group’s signature horse riding skills, while providing a real boost to the local economy. CCTV reporter Fintan Monaghan reports from Urumqi.

Eyes on the prize...

Two teams of Kazakh horsemen battle over a fake goat... returning it to the goal.. and dunking it to score a point!

Two teams of Kazakh horsemen battle over a fake goat...

The game has its origins in old hunting rituals.. and it certainly seems to be going down well with the tourists.

Chen Xiawei, Tourist from Zhejiang Province, said, "It’s so much fun! I’d only ever seen this kind of thing on TV or in school textbooks, but now here we are in Xinjiang seeing it for real! The natural scenery and the mountains are also really breath-taking! I’m really enjoying it here."

Another game sees a horseman trying to win the object of his affection.

When she waves the riding crop in the air.. that means a ’YES’.

These performances only started up this year, but they’re already having a big impact.

They’re expected to bring in as much as 5 million yuan to the local economy.

And this tour company alone directly employs over 120 people.

Aijarkin, Performer, Kazakh Tour Company, said, We’ve started up a lot of performances, including the traditional horse riding. More tourists have been coming here. That means more money for the community! It’s good for everyone!

Visitors also get the chance to see how the Kazakhs live their lives. They can explore a traditional Yurt... and even try out the local food.

As many as 120,000 tourists are expected this year, and there are already big plans in the works to improve facilities and expand the range of performances.

Fintan Monaghan, CCTV reporter, said, This big tourism push isn’t just helping the local economy. It’s also a chance for the Kazakhs to share their traditions with the wider world. It’s been a hit so far, and they look set to build on this success in the years to come.



Editor:Du Xiaodan |Source:

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