tirsdag 5. februar 2019

A Holiday in Xinjiang: What it’s like being a tourist inside a police state.

We survived the metal detector and emerged with ourselves and our bags intact on the other side of the X-ray machine. Yet an alarm somewhere must have sounded within a couple of seconds of us entering the bus station. Out of nowhere the home guard surrounded us, their medieval pole-arms at the ready. Scary though this was, the idea that 21st century China was protecting its people with relics from the 10th century was, once my heart beat had returned to normal, somewhat comical. One of the guards surreally brandished his boat-hook-tipped staff with a broad smile on his face. 

The others were made of sterner stuff; they glared at us, brandishing variously a body restrainer, a metal pole decorated with two feet of jagged nails at right angles to each other, a red-tipped spear, and the usual clubs and riot shields. We were surrounded and trapped.