The government of the People’s Republic of China calls the country’s westernmost region Xinjiang, but the people who have lived there for centuries refer to their home as Eastern Turkistan. Many times when two groups do not refer to a place by the same name, it points to a cultural or political conflict, as is the case here.
Multiple names on the map can hint at bigger cultural and political fault lines. Is it Londonderry or just Derry? The Sea of Japan or the East Sea? This article I wrote for the National Geographic Education Blog is on the always simmering tensions in the China’s westernmost province.