Beijing is spending gargantuan sums to promote its vision of Islam. The result so far: a sparsely populated eyesore.
By Kyle Haddad-Fonda
FOREIGN POLICY - May 11, 2016
In May 2016, the Emirates airline inaugurated its new direct service to the Chinese city of Yinchuan. Yinchuan joins Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou as destinations served by Emirates, meaning that a passenger who boards a plane in Dubai is now able to fly nonstop to China’s first, second, third, or 71st most-populous urban area. Yinchuan, situated on the loess-covered floodplain of the Yellow River in the autonomous region of Ningxia, nearly 600 miles west of Beijing and far from China’s booming coastal cities, is a peculiar destination for international tourists. But that remoteness has not deterred Chinese officials from pouring resources into a quixotic plan to turn the city into a “cultural tourism destination” for wealthy Arabs.