URUMQI: Two weeks after the deadly riot in Xinjiang's capital Urumqi, residents in the far western region seem to have shaken off the shadow of the incident as a beauty contest kicked off on Sunday.
The contestants take to the stage at the preliminary contest for the 2009 Miss Tourism International in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region July 19, 2009. [Xinhua]
With heart-throbbing music, 45 models from different ethnic groups such as Han, Uygur, Kazak and Hui, presented their beauty and energy on the red carpet-covered platform.
"We miss the people dead (in the riot), but we also should cast off the shadow as early as possible," said Zhang Tiantian, hostess of the preliminary contest for the 2009 Miss Tourism International in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.
"We should make our lives more beautiful with a more positive attitude, and this is the special significance of today's contest, " she said.
The 45 beauties come from different places in Xinjiang, winners will attend the final for the Xinjiang region to be held in Hami at the end of the month.
Alna, No. 20 contestant, has just graduated from Xinjiang University with a major in English.
"Xinjiang is a good place to live. Here there are 47 ethnic groups and you can see the energy of diversified cultures," the Kazak girl introduced Xinjiang in English during her performance.
"The nightmarish scene that happened not long ago will not tarnish the beautiful image of Xinjiang and truehearted friendship of all ethnic groups," she said.
Six Uygur models participated in the competition. Merhaba, No. 8 contestant, said she was waiting for the university admission advice note.
She said the contest helped her kill time before the arrival of the advice note.
Merhaba's clothes designer, Ma Lei, a Han, also came to cheer for her.
"After the July 5 incident, we all stayed at home and we are bored," Ma said.
"Whatever happens, our friendship will never be hurt," Merbaba said. She and Ma Lei became friends ten years ago.
The July 5 incident brought panic and anxiety to residents in Urumqi, said Hou Zhirong, teacher of Alna. "Many stayed home for seven to eight days. I myself also suspended model training work."
Hou said she felt quite glad for Alna's participation in the event. "This small venue is full of enthusiasm and innervation. No one will have a slight feeling of shadow. This is the best remedy for Urumqi."