Urumqi is a unique city. Located in northwest China in Xinjiang, it has the largest population of minority cultures. In 2004, I had an opportunity to spend a month there teaching English and I loved it. People are friendly, food is delicious, beautiful lake in the mountains and also desert land with camels roaming.
There has been a lot of political tensions in the region in the recent years with rioting between the Han and Uyghur ethnic groups. The situation is still tense as of today. There are people who are jailed for their beliefs that is not in line with the government.
The people in Xinjiang love arts and culture which should be celebrated. Their love for dance, music and their exquisite traditional costumes should be the sound we hear in the streets, not the sound of war.
We hope someday to partner up with fair trade artisans in Xinjiang as they have beautiful silk scarves, handmade bags and tapestries.