Xinjiang Time

Luther Ma ma.lude.xj at
Sat Oct 17 06:51:19 UTC 2009

I am new to the list but would like to make a proposal for Xinjiang  

I have looked through previous posts about Xinjiang and would agree  
with the paradoxical statements that:

1. All of China is on one time zone, (Zhe Su Jun 26, 2006) and

2. Xinjiang has another, governmentally recognized time zone. (Thomas  
S. Mullaney Feb 12, 2008)

Almost all (>99.9%) ethnic Chinese (properly ethnic Han) living in  
Xinjiang use Chinese Standard Time. Some are aware of Xinjiang time,  
but have no need of it. All planes, trains, and schools function on  
what is called "Beijing time". When Han make an appointment in Chinese  
they implicitly use Beijing time.

On the other hand, ethnic Uyghurs, who make up about half the  
population of Xinjiang, typically use "Xinjiang time" which is two  
hours behind Beijing time, or UTC +0600. The government of the  
Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, (XAUR, or just Xinjiang for short)  
as well as local governments such as the Urumqi city government use  
both times in publications, referring to what is popularly called  
Xinjiang time as "Urumqi time". When Uyghurs make an appointment in  
the Uyghur language they almost invariably use Xinjiang time.

(Their ethnic Han compatriots would typically have no clue of its  
widespread use, however, because so extremely few of them are fluent  
in Uyghur, comparable to the number of Anglo-Americans fluent in  

Because there presently is no time localization for a large Uyghur  
population who set their watches to Xinjiang time, I propose that the  
last line of the "Asia/Urumqi" and "Asia/Kashgar" entries be changed  
so that the entries read:

Zone	Asia/Urumqi	5:50:20	-	LMT	1928 # or Urumchi
			6:00	-	URUT	1980 May # Urumqi Time
			6:00	-	XJT		#Xinjiang Time


Zone	Asia/Kashgar	5:03:56	-	LMT	1928 # or Kashi or Kaxgar
			5:30	-	KAST	1940	 # Kashgar Time
			5:00	-	KAST	1980 May
			6:00	-	XJT		#Xinjiang Time

(I did not include the PRC rule.  As with the rest of China there was  
a brief interval ending in 1990 or 1991 when summer time was in use.  
The confusion was severe, with the province not having dual times but  
four times in use at the same time. Some areas remained on standard  
Xinjiang time or Beijing time and others moving their clocks ahead.)

This proposed correction would reflect usage for at least the last  
thirty years and would be a great help to Uyghurs who are becoming  
increasingly technologically sophisticated. (They routinely use Uyghur  
localized operating systems and localized cell phones.) XJT would also  
be preferable to URUT as this reflects standard usage as well as  
correctly reflects the time zone for an area (in this case, the  
autonomous region) and not just a city.

I don't believe that this would cause the slightest difficulty for  
ethnic Han population, as they would typically set their phones and  
computer time to Beijing. Some may only be a bit surprised that a  
separate Xinjiang exists.

I, myself, speak from being present in Xinjiang off and on since the  
80's;  from my own observations as well as from asking informants who  
came from outlying areas. Unfortunately, Internet documentation of the  
actual law is presently hard to get. Immediately after the events of  
earlier this summer, Internet in Xinjiang was cut and is still out, so  
many Xinjiang sites are unavailable.

Below, though, is an example of an official website using of Urumqi  

The first few lines of the Google translation of 
  (retrieved 2009-10-13)
> Urumqi fire seven people are missing the alleged losses of at least  
> 500 million yuan
> (Reporter Dong Liu) the day before 20:20 or so (Urumqi Time 18:20),  
> Urumqi City Department of International Plaza Luther Qiantang River  
> burst fire. As of yesterday, 18:30, Urumqi City Fire officers and  
> men have worked continuously for 22 hours, ....

-Lude (Luther) Ma

PS This request was actually prompted by tzdata being updated for  
summer time in Dhaka. Previously Asia/Dhaka was a good work-around for  
for me and others not having a proper Xinjiang time. The update has  
caused me to ask if there might be a better solution.

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