High nose and deep blue eyes Soldiers in Chinese army

2011-12-28 (China Military News cited from Xinhua) — With a high nose bridge and deep blue eyes, 21-year-old Hesenjan looks like the typical Caucasian. And he is, but he wears the uniform of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China.

Hesenjan is a Chinese Uygur who joined the army and serves in an ethnic company, which is mainly composed of ethnic minorities. It’s not strange in northwest Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, where 60 percent of its people are minorities.

Scattered through Xinjiang, more than 10 ethnic companies serve a special role in safeguarding borders, national unity and social stability.

Hesenjan serves in the 5th Ethnic Company, one of the two ethnic companies in a field division that is stationed in Xinjiang. According to Chang Wanqi, the division commander, ethnic recruits are usually assigned to ethnic companies, as they have the similar traditions, customs and languages, but much different from Han Chinese.


Scattered through Xinjiang, more than 10 ethnic companies

But it’s not easy to manage ethnic companies, which also have some Han soldiers, especially when it comes to language, as most of ethnic minority groups, coming from remote mountainous areas, have little knowledge of the Mandarin.

Kuang Caidong is Commander of the 8th Ethnic Company, which is made up of soldiers from the Han, Uygur, Hui, Khalkha, and Kazakh ethnic groups. Kuang got embarrassed on the first day that he came to the company, when many soldiers did not respond to his orders.

Later he learned from a Uygur soldier who can speak Chinese that the Chinese pronunciations of soldiers’ names are much different from that of the original ethnic languages.

Adalibek Bidahan, an ethnic Kazakh and deputy battalion commander, joined the army in 1995 in the 5th Ethnic Company. He said the language problem was even worse then.

He remembers a Uygur soldier named Tursun who was stung by a hornet, but could not explain it to the doctor. He had to hum and mime to imitate a hornet, shaking arms up and down like a hornet’s wings.

Incidents like these make language study one of the most important things that recruits do. Mao Rui, a political instructor of the 5th Ethnic Company, said they have various measures for language learning. They train the bilingual soldiers so that they can teach the others. Soldiers also divide into different groups based on their Mandarin skills and learn from each other. Soldiers are also required to write regular learning summaries in Chinese.

The language study goes both ways, as Han soldiers also learn some Uygur language. After the embarrassment on his first day, Kuang takes a notebook, writing down Uygur words with pinyin in Chinese every day. He has learned more than 100 sentences of Uygur that can help him make ordinary dialogue with ethnic soldiers.


  1. He doesnt have blue eyes. He looks Iranian at best.

    “Uyghur Khaganate in the year 842 AD, which caused Uyghur migration from Mongolia into the Tarim Basin. This migration assimilated and replaced the Indo-Europeans of the region to create a distinct identity,[16] as the language and culture of the Turkic migrants eventually supplanted the original Indo-European influences”.


    8th century Uyghur Khagan.

    Mongol tribes have been expanding west since the 4th century.

    Atilla the Hun.

    “Jordanes, who cites a description given by Priscus. It suggests a person of Asian features.[1]
    Short of stature, with a broad chest and a large head; his eyes were small, his beard thin and sprinkled with grey; and he had a flat nose and tanned skin, showing evidence of his origin.[2″

  2. Well, he is definitely have lighter skin and looks tall too.

  3. Not even. He looks more Yellow than white. Iranians arent generally light skin.

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