Tourists and locals enjoy tea at a century-old tea house in the ancient city of Kashgar, northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, July 7, 2019. (Xinhua/Zhao Ge)
BEIJING, July 21 (Xinhua) -- The ethnic cultures in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region always have their roots in the fertile soil of Chinese civilization and make up an inseparable part of Chinese culture, a white paper said Sunday.
It was not until the turn of the 9th and 10th centuries, when Islam spread into the region, that the Islamic culture of the Arab civilization began to exert an influence on ethnic cultures in Xinjiang, according to "Historical Matters Concerning Xinjiang" released by China's State Council Information Office.
More than 2,000 years ago and beyond, Xinjiang was a gateway for China's civilization to open to the West and an important base for cultural exchange and communication between the East and the West, it said.
Long periods of exchange and integration between the culture of the Central Plains and those of the Western Regions drove not only the development of various ethnic cultures in Xinjiang, but also the diversified and integrated Chinese culture as a whole, the white paper said.
From the very beginning, ethnic cultures in Xinjiang have reflected elements of Chinese culture, which has always been the emotional attachment and spiritual home for all ethnic groups in Xinjiang, as well as a dynamic source of development for the ethnic cultures in the region.
The white paper noted that in the Han Dynasty (206 BC - AD 220), the Chinese language became one of the official languages used in government documents of that region.
The historical record indicates that when multiple languages were used as official languages and when exchanges were frequent in Xinjiang, it witnessed a boom in ethnic cultures and social progress.
"Having a stronger sense of identity with Chinese culture is essential to the prosperity and development of ethnic cultures in Xinjiang," the white paper said.