Rena Arken, 22
Arken belongs to the Muslim Uighur ethnic minority based in the northern semiautonomous province of Xinjiang. The Uighur people have their own language and distinctive clothing, food, and music. Ethnic clashes with the majority Chinese have erupted frequently. Arken is currently a student in Beijing, majoring in media and PR. She loves her Uighur heritage and earns extra cash by singing and dancing at weddings in traditional dress. "It's hard to keep my identity in modern China, but I'm determined to try," she says.