Cappelletti, A. East Asia (2015) 32: 137. doi:10.1007/s12140-015-9240-8
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Social development in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region from 1999 to 2009 is the focus of this article. I will explore the current situation among Uyghurs and Hans living in Xinjiang in different social contexts and purviews, mainly assessing problems and open questions hindering a balanced and consensus-based social development in the area. The concept of “development” per se will be understood with a critical perspective. The fieldwork was conducted in 2011 and 2012 in Urumqi, Turpan, Kahsgar, Wujiaqu and Shihezi, and in eight rural villages—seven located in the Kashgar Prefecture and one in Kizilsu Kyrgyz Autonomous Prefecture. The opportunity to adopt an “insider perspective”, at the same time working with critical tools provided by the disciplines of sociology and anthropology, can be considered an important asset in the field of Xinjiang studies. My PhD research in China (2010–2013) and my work as consultant for KFW (2011–2012) have been of great help in adopting this approach. Interviews, participant observation and analysis of quantitative and qualitative data from different sources are the basis of the fieldwork results presented here. UNDP indicators and indexes are taken as reference in setting and organising data.