chapter  4
Whose Xinjiang? Space, place and power in the rock fusion of Xin Xinjiangren, Dao Lang
WithJoanne Smith Finley
Pages 25

This chapter explores how geo-political space, cultural identity and belonging to place are represented and contested through the audio texts and visual texts of Chinese Mando-pop artist Dao Lang. In revealing the fragility of Dao Lang's inclusive conceptualisation of space and place, the song illustrates the two-way power dynamics and tensions that characterise contemporary Uyghur-Han relations, and foreshadows the singer's flight from Xinjiang following the 2009 Ürümchi riots. The various peoples of Xinjiang, who share the most beautiful melodies emanating from Central Asia, as well as the fruits of the region, should have no reason, the singer argues, to come into conflict. Dao Lang's biographer claims that Ürümchi residents treat Dao Lang as if he had brought honour to the family. Dao Lang's withdrawal to the Chinese capital is symbolic both of the fragility of ethnic unity and ethnic harmony in the Northwest and of the government rhetoric that celebrates it.