Xinjiang Tour Guides Form Autonomous Protection Alliance

April 27, 2005

April 27, 2005 - A group of Xinjiang tour guides established The Xinjiang Tour Guide Autonomous Protection Alliance on April 24, according to a report on Tianshan Net. 136 tour guides took the first steps to organize the non-governmental organization by signing a letter of intent in 2003. The report does not explain the two-year delay between the signing of the letter and the establishment of the Alliance. The Alliance hopes to elevate the status of the tour guide profession, protect the "legitimate interests" of Xinjiang’s tour guides, and improve the standards and training of tour guides.The report notes that there are more than 5,000 tour guides in Xinjiang, only some of whom are full-time employees of travel agencies.

The Chinese government tightly controls official and popular presentations of Xinjiang's history and current policies to those living within the restive autonomous region as well as to those outside. The report highlights the new organization’s autonomy and does not name its supervisory body, though Chinese law requires all social organizations to be sponsored by a government bureau or Party mass organization (see 2004 CECC Annual Report).