Women at the Ili River

The Relics of Empire: Resource Extraction and the Making of Modern Xinjiang

Women at the Ili River

Two Uyghur women wade in the Ili River at twilight in the town of Yining, in western Xinjiang. In summer, the bridge and riverbanks are packed with tourists and locals visiting the nearby waterpark or waiting in line to ride in careening speedboats. Since the nineteenth century, Yining and the larger region of Ili have had strong connections to the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union.