Friendship ties remain strong

08:22, July 05, 2010      

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As people mark the first anniversary of the July 5 riot on Monday, some people continue to live in fear of future ethnic unrest in the region. Absalam Kadeer, however, is not one of them.

The handsome 16-year-old Uygur lives with his family in a neighborhood off Xinhua South Road, in southern Urumqi, which is made up of people from no less than 10 ethnic groups.

He said he believes that the bonds of the friendship there are as strong as ever.

Built in the 1980s, the neighborhood has 711 residents across 271 households, according to figures released by the city's Tianshan district government, and includes Han, Uygur, Hui, Kazak and Mongolian people.

Ethnicity has not been an issue in the neighborhood for decades, locals told China Daily, and almost everyone is bilingual in both Mandarin and Uygur.

"Nothing has changed," said Absalam, a wannabe dance star who can often be found showing off his talents on the streets to small audiences.

"I have a Han friend called Zhen Yuetian, for example. His family and my family are good neighbors," explained the Xinjiang Arts College student who will graduate in September. "We grew up together like brothers, so the riot didn't affect our relationship at all."

Both he and Zhen are only children, said Absalam, and "if his parents weren't around to look after him when he was a child, my parents would take care of him".

Absalam said he now wants to continue his studies in Beijing so he can rejoin his "bother" Zhen in the capital.

Source: China Daily


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