Xinjiang Safety
January 23, 2010 1:00 AM   Subscribe

Is Xinjiang, China a safe place for unsupported bicycle touring right now?

I'm planning a bicycle tour through China for this summer. Part of the route will be along the northern Silk Road through Xinjiang, with the destination being Kashgar.

I've been in Beijing and Shanghai for the past two weeks and everything I've heard over here indicates that I should avoid southwestern Xinjiang due to the current unrest and possibility of racially targeted violence.

I am a Han Chinese male. My touring partner is a white male. We will be camping and staying at road houses.

Is the stuff I'm hearing in east China mere hysteria or should I be replanning my route to Tibet?
posted by BeaverTerror to Travel & Transportation around China (3 answers total)
Dude anyone with a western passport will have the greatest difficultly - legally - getting in there at the moment. The chinese govt is knocking back visa-or-whatever-you-call-its to Xin Jiang faster than Hemingway and daiquiris. Forget about it.

Secondly, even if you do get a legal permit, or - god help you - risk it it's bad (fyi if you can't get around blockage from where you are, it's a nat geo article talking about how bad it it.

Make a new itinerary.
posted by smoke at 4:35 AM on January 23, 2010

Two years ago I was one of three whitebread Americans in Tibet. We were mostly in Lhasa, but it was only a hassle getting in. We were required to have a guide. I have no idea how much taht's changed.

You don't say if anyone speaks at least Mandarin, but if so I'd definitely try. That's me, though, not reason speaking. That said, I'd try even without a some-kind-of Chinese/Tibetan speaker.
posted by cmoj at 9:16 AM on January 23, 2010

I think it's a bad idea, particularly if you're Chinese and if neither you nor your touring partner is familiar with Xinjiang or Uyghur culture.

A lot of Chinese discomfort about Uyghurs is overblown hysteria, but in this case I think you should plan on touring some other place in China that doesn't have a lot of ethnic tension.
posted by pecknpah at 11:07 AM on January 23, 2010

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