The Dungan are a Muslim people of Chinese origin. Fleeing religious and ethnic persecution, slavery and the aftermath of the Hui wars in China, they began settling in Central Asia in the late 19th century. Today, more than three-thousand Dungan live in and around Karakol, forming one of the largest communities worldwide. Among them are five sisters from Xinjiang, who arrived in Yrdyk as children and have since dedicated their lives to make Yrdyk a bustling home for the Dungan people. Many Dungan cite Xinjiang as their home and hope to one day return in search of lost family. The last time the sisters attempted to leave for China, they were rejected entry by the authorities. This was in 2015 and China had already begun mass surveillance and internment of Uighur people in Xinjiang.