In China's West, Muslims Keep Their Own Time

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 31, 2009 2:24 PM CDT
An Uighur family rest in the shade near the train station in Kashgar, in western China's Xinjiang province, Aug. 6, 2008.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – There are two time zones in Kashgar, China, and they’re two hours apart. Which you follow depends not on geographic location, but on ethnic identity. The town’s dominant Muslim Uighur minority refuses to set its clocks by China’s single, standardized time, instead using the same wacky, sun-based system as the rest of the planet—a divide emblematic of Kashgar’s ethnic unease, the Los Angeles Times reports.

 “It is as ridiculous as having Los Angeles following New York time,” says a US-based Uighur activist. But the town’s ethnically Chinese population steadfastly ticks to Beijing’s tock. “Not confusing at all!” says one local. “We use Beijing time in every aspect of our lives.”