Her grandmother listened as Aygul, a 15-year-old high school student, read aloud a Uygur-language online news report about the government turning on the winter heating supply.
She found the story at uygur.news.cn, a Xinhua News Agency web portal that went live on Sept. 15. With a mission statement of, "Making Xinjiang known to the world and letting locals see the outside world," the portal has proved an instant hit, attracting tens of thousands of visitors so far.
It aims to provide authoritative, precise and timely information for Uygur people around the world. The web portal is divided into three parts -- news, classifieds and services. It features 37 columns, including breaking news, a photo section, an introduction to Xinjiang's intangible cultural heritage and unique customs among various ethnic groups.
There are also links that direct visitors to the official websites of major central government departments.
"Now my friends and family, especially those who cannot read Mandarin, can know what is happening around the country and the world and what our fellow countrymen's greatest concerns are much more quickly than in the past," said Aygul.
Nur Bekri, chairman of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, said he hopes uygur.news.cn will bridge the communication gap between Xinjiang and the world. The website will satisfy ethnic groups' growing need for information, protect their unique culture and greatly contribute to regional peace and stability.
Kurban, a Uygur journalist who works for the Uygur-language page of tianshannet.com, said that aside from its promptness, similar Uygur-language websites cannot compare to uygur.news.cn in terms of the amount of news and the richness of information.
"This is because thousands of Xinhua News Agency correspondents from home and abroad contribute to the website. The contents of other Uygur-language websites mostly come from newspaper articles or radio programs," said Kurban.
He added that the website's young and dynamic design and maintenance team has put many progressive materials on the website, such as tips on green living, thus, attracting readers from all walks of life.
Turhonjan, a researcher at the Xinjiang Academy of Social Sciences, said the news portal not only gives Uygur people a chance to connect to the outside world, but also makes it possible for the world to know the true Xinjiang.
Better still, the website provides learning materials for students majoring in Uygur language and literature and others who are interested in Uygur customs.
Yang Junsheng, a sophomore at Xinjiang University, said he browses the website every day. "My classmates and I read news on it to improve our Uygur ability. It would be better if they had Chinese and English versions of each news article."
Aygul and her friends want to watch videos, engage in forum discussions and write blogs and microblogs on the website. "I hope our wishes can come true in the near future and we learn more from the website."