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The children, aged between six and 17 years-old, live in Pili, a village of some 400 herders and farmers high up in the foothills that separate China from Tajikistan and Afghanistan.
But their school lies some 120 miles away, 50 miles of which are inaccessible to vehicles and have to be crossed on foot, or by camel.
"There is only one way to get to the village, and you have to climb up in the mountains," said Su Qin, the head teacher at Taxkorgan Town boarding school, where the children study. "The village is completely cut off. The roads only take you further away," she added.
So, four times a year, before and after the summer and winter terms, a group of teachers sets off to escort the children on the journey. It takes at least two days and one night of trekking, and the children sometimes arrive at the school as much as a week after the beginning of term.
The most dangerous part of the route is a path, which narrows to just a few inches wide, that has been cut into a cliff face some 1,000ft above the valley beneath. Without safety harnesses, the teachers gingerly shepherd their charges along.
I don't think they have anything to do with Romans,they are the first people to this region.because they live in the mountains, they had been cut off from the other side world for the most part of the human history with very limited contacts with other peoples.
The Sarikoli language (also Sariqoli, Selekur, Sarikul, Sariqul, Sariköli) is a member of the Pamir subgroup of the Southeastern Iranian languages spoken by Tajiks in China. It is officially referred to in China as the "Tajik language", although it is different from the language spoken in Tajikistan.
Tests found that the DNA of some villagers in Liqian, on the fringes of the Gobi Desert in north-western China, was 56 per cent Caucasian in origin.
Xinjiang and Gansu (Liqian) are neighbouring.
Persian relations date back past 200BC, but the tale of the Persians settling in China I think is sometime around 600AD. The Romans apparently were in the area around the same time, and one tale (not verified) states a legion may have settled around 50BC.
It's quite possible, while the Tajiks of China have a Persian origin that there is some long lost Roman blood in there too. Depending on who copulated with who over the years.
As you know… People don't simply "come from the mountains".
edit on 12-1-2014 by boncho because: (no reason given)