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I am from Xinjiang

By Guo Yali ( chinadaily.com.cn ) Updated: 2014-04-28 17:14:17

I am from Xinjiang

Kurbanjan Samat, a native of the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, works on his project of photographing 120 Xinjiang people who live elsewhere in the country and getting their stories. Xiao Wei / for China Daily

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A Uygur photographer wants to tell the stories of the Xinjiang people, who he says simply want to live, survive and hopefully thrive, just like everybody else. Guo Yali reports.

Kurbanjan Samat started working on his photography project "I am from Xinjiang", late last year, documenting the everyday lives of the people from the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region who are living elsewhere in the country. He hoped to capture their hopes, dreams and ambitions, proving that this often maligned group are no different from anyone else.

But after the terrorist attack at Kunming Railway Station on March 1, in which 29 people were killed and more than 130 were injured, Kurbanjan’s project has taken on a new urgency.

There has been a fear and distrust of people from Xinjiang ever since the terrorist attack, which police say was orchestrated by Xinjiang separatists.

The community police in Beijing called Kurbanjan 12 hours after the attack, asking him when he was leaving.

"Why should I leave? This is my home!" he says, still irritated and angry when recounting the incident.

His plan is to photograph 120 people from the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region and get their stories and then publish them in a book and stage an exhibition, as early as in June, if possible.

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