(新疆, officially the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region). The “autonomous” region of China whose largest ethnic group is Uyghurs, with another 7% of Ethnic Kazakhs, and Islam as the majority religion. The World Uyghur Congress and other Uyghur organizations do not accept the name Xinjiang, which means “New Frontier” or “New Borderland” and was imposed by Imperial China in 1884, after it conquered or rather reconquered the region, that it had already occupied between 1760 and 1860. Uyghurs prefer the name “East Turkestan,” which was also used by two ephemeral independent states, known as the First (1933) and the Second (1944–49) East Turkestan Republics. In order to avoid the choice between “Xinjiang” and “East Turkestan,” both problematic designations, American scholar Rian Thum suggested to adopt the ancient name of the region, Altishahr (“Six Cities”), which is however rarely used outside of scholarly circles.
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