Radiant sunshine and warm spring winds greeted journalists on Monday as they attended the opening ceremony of a photo exhibition titled "The Four Seasons in Xinjiang" at the Beijing China Millennium Monument.
The program, an effort to capture images of Xinjiang through the eyes of both Chinese and foreign photographers, was jointly sponsored by the State Council Information Office, the China Photographers Association and the Information Office of the Government of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region
A total of 59 photographers from 22 foreign countries, including the US, Canada, Britain, France, Australia, Germany, Italy and Spain, were invited to take part in the program, along with over 40 photographers from Chinese mainland and Taiwan.
Ismail Amat, vice chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), Abdulahat Abdurixit, vice chairman of the 10th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), and Wang Guoqing, vice minister of the State Council Information Office, attended the opening ceremony.
Ismail Amat told China.org.cn that Xinjiang has made tremendous achievements in social and economic development over the past five decades.
"During the tour, photographers from home and abroad captured Xinjiang's social life, folk customs and natural scenery in spring, summer, autumn and winter," he added.
"This is a great opportunity to introduce Xinjiang to the whole world. The program was created to showcase Xinjiang's stunning natural beauty, colorful ethnic and religious cultures, and the life of its various ethnic groups from the different perspectives of photographers, thus fostering a comprehensive image of Xinjiang featuring development, stability, and harmony," he said.
He went on to explain how "photographers witnessed Xinjiang's rapid development in its modern cities and flourishing rural areas alike. They experienced the colorful lives of local residents. All these inspired them to record the different natural views and folk customs in the four seasons, its progress, as well as the solidarity of different ethnic groups, harmony and stability evident in the region from unique angles in the 300,000 photos they took."
According to the organizer, the photographers traveled over 200,000 km during their 57 days in Xinjiang's 15 prefectures and cities, visiting from January 9 to 21, June 5 to 18, August 4 to 19 and September 25 to October 8 in four groups.
The region was established on October 1, 1955, and covers an area of 1.66 million square kilometers -- one-sixth of China's landmass. It is home to 13 ethnic minorities who have lived there for centuries.
It is centrally located on the Eurasian continent, on the northwest frontier of China. Once an important link on the ancient Silk Road, Xinjiang continues to attract millions of domestic and foreign visitors with its dramatic scenery and diverse customs. It shares borders with eight countries, and 16 class-A land ports are located along its 5,600-kilometer boundary.
Six of the neighboring countries -- Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan -- are also members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), an intergovernmental organization that focuses on regional security.
50th Anniversary of the Establishment of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region
(China.org.cn by staff reporter Wang Ke, March 26, 2007)