Xinjiang Time (Chinese: 新疆时间; pinyin: Xīnjiāng shíjiān), also known as Ürümqi Time (Chinese: 乌鲁木齐时间; pinyin: Wūlǔmùqí Shíjiān), is set due to its geographical location in the westernmost part of China. The time offset is UTC+06:00 which is two hours behind Beijing, and is shared with Kyrgyzstan and most of Kazakhstan. It is one of the two time standards, together with Beijing Time, being used in parallel in Xinjiang, China.
Xinjiang Time has been abolished and re-established multiple times, especially during the period of the 1970s and 1980s. In February 1986, the Chinese government had approved the use of Xinjiang Time (UTC+06:00) in Xinjiang for civil purposes, while railroad, aviation and telecommunication sectors were supposed to continue their operation on Beijing Time. However, the decision had been rejected by the local ethnic Han population and some Han-dominated regional governments.
Currently, the time zone used within Xinjiang is roughly split along the ethnic divide, with most ethnic Han population in the area following Beijing Time, and most ethnic Uyghur population as well as population of some other ethnics in the area following Xinjiang Time. Some local authorities are now using both time standards side by side. The coexistence of two time zones within same region has caused some confusion among local population especially when interracial communications occur, and whenever a time is mentioned, it is necessary to either explicitly make clear whether the time is Xinjiang Time or Beijing Time, or convert the time according to ethnicity of the target you are speaking to, in order to avoid confusion between the two time standards. The double time standard is particularly observable in Xinjiang Television, which schedules its Chinese channel according to Beijing Time and its Uyghur and Kazakh channels according to Xinjiang Time. Some ethnic Han population in Xinjiang might not be aware of the existence of the UTC+06:00 Xinjiang Time because of the language barrier.
For Xinjiang population who are using Beijing Time instead of Xinjiang Time, they would schedule their activities two hours after ordinary time those daily activities are done in Eastern China to match the sunrise/sunset time, this is known as the work/rest time in Xinjiang, which is also referred to as Xinjiang Time or time difference between Xinjiang and mainland China.
In 2014, Apple Inc. released an update to its iOS mobile operating system, which silently changed the default time for users in Xinjiang into Xinjiang Time. As some users in the area were using Beijing Time in their iOS before the update and set the alarm of their phones and tablets according to Beijing Time, the silent change caused some alarms to ring at a time later than expected, causing disruption in daily activity on the day after the changes.
IANA time zone database
The territory utilizing the Xinjiang Time is covered in the IANA time zone database by the following zones.
Columns marked with * are from the file zone.tab of the database.
|c.c.*||coordinates*||TZ*||comments*||Standard time||Summer time||Notes|
|CN||Asia/Kashgar||UTC+06:00||—||Linked to Asia/Urumqi|
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