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Uygur women sign up for life on the ocean wave

(China Daily)

08:22, April 01, 2013

Aliya Arkin, a female Uygur, stands guard on the Jinggangshan, a PLA navy South Sea Fleet landing craft. (China Daily /Wang Qi)

Having three sisters from a Uygur household serving in the People's Liberation Army navy is a source of pride for the family of Aytulun Xukrat from Turpan, Xinjiang.

"It is an honor that I am among the first 20 Uygur women to serve our country in the navy," said the 19 year old, who works in the communications section on the Jinggangshan, one of the Chinese navy's most advanced landing craft.

"After I was recruited in 2011 and later joined the navy's South Sea Fleet, two of my younger sisters followed suit and are now serving in the North Sea Fleet and East Sea Fleet. We are the pride of our family."

The Chinese navy has three fleets and began to enlist Uygur women in 2011. The move has triggered the enthusiasm of a large number of these women who harbor dreams of becoming sailors.

Aliya Arkin, 20, from Aksu, also in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, operates navigation radar on the ship. "I grew up with my grandparents, and my grandpa is a PLA veteran. He always told me about his life in the army and the brotherliness between him and his comrades.

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