A Kyrgyz woman near Karakul Lake on the Sino-Pakistan border, 2004

Reimagining the Silk Road

A Kyrgyz woman near Karakul Lake on the Sino-Pakistan border, 2004

The Kyrgyz are another minority that have traditionally practiced herding and pastoralism. There are slightly more Kyrgyz than Salars, a total of 186,708 in 2010. This woman lived in a yurt with her family along Karakul Lake, which rests at the junction of several mountain ranges. To heat the yurt at night, the family members tossed plastic bottles onto the fire. The externalities of so-called ecotourism reach even this remote mountain lake. As with China’s other Muslim minorities, Kyrgyz face both limitations and opportunities with the expansion of commercial activities within the nation-state and China’s evolving relations with its neighbors along the revived Silk Road.