Xinjiang internet celebrities share stories on local tourism, cultural heritage, refute West’s claims on forced labor
Published: May 29, 2021 01:24 PM
Salamat  Kari(L). Photo: Zhu Xiaolei

Salamat Kari (L). Photo: Zhu Xiaolei

Three internet celebrities from Northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region talked with international reporters from nine countries on tourism, cultural heritage preservation and rituals of ethnic groups in Xinjiang at a video meeting on Friday.

In Kashi, a local inn named “House of Guli” has become an internet hit recently for its ethnic-style decorations and many tourists come to Kashi for a visit and enjoy a cup of tea. Salamat Kari, who runs the inn attended the Friday online activity and showed international reporters her house. 

Salamat told reporters how she developed her inn by expanding its services, from having dancing shows to selling souvenirs as well as accommodation.

“There are 15 locals working in my inn and most of them are women. Aside from earning money, we can also help tourists to learn more about our culture, which is the part I am proud of the most,” Salamat said. 

Photo of Ayituna  Ablikim. Photo: Zhu Xiaolei

Ayituna Ablikim. Photo: Zhu Xiaolei

 Ayituna Ablikim from Hotan told international reporters how she has used short videos to record her daily life and share them with netizens. 

“The life of a village girl in Xinjiang has drawn netizens’ attention and I am also happy,” Ayituna said. “But in August 2020, I found that one video I took about my mother sewing a dress had been used by the Western media, which said she had been ‘forced to work.’”

“I am very sad and shocked to see my video being distorted like this. I have released more than 300 videos online and every of them shows we live a happy life. I don’t know why the foreign media wants to label us as ‘victims,’” Ayituna said.

Zaituna Karimova. Photo: Zhu Xiaolei

Zaituna Karimova. Photo: Zhu Xiaolei

Zaituna Karimova, a 56-year-old woman from the Tatar ethnic group in Tacheng showed reporters her yard and items her family has kept from the old days. She also showed traditional snacks and invited international friends to visit her house.

A total of 15 reporters from nine countries, including Kyrgyzstan, Cambodia, Turkey and Kazakhstan participated in the online activity themed “Seeing the real Xinjiang online,” which was one of the events celebrating 20 years of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.