We recently came across a wonderful blog called This is Xinjiang when reading a post by Joel Martinsen on Danwei today. It seems all eyes are focused on Kashgar these days as the old city will soon be no more. Here is a bit about what everyone is talking about...
Joel Martinsen (on Danwei) writes:
"Old Kashgar is not long for this world. Quake fear, anxiety over ethnic unrest, and pursuit of development have spurred the authorities to launch a large-scale plan to demolish and redevelop 85% of the Old City. There has been considerable criticism of the project among Kashgar residents and in the world world media, but it has done little to stop the project. This month's Phoenix Weekly contains an interesting cover feature on life in the Old City and how it may change in the future. The story is a little oversold based on the coverline: "The Shadow of 'East Turkestan' on China's Strategic Anti-Terrorism City," as most of the feature is about everyday life as opposed to terrorism." (Read the complete article Building a New Old City in Kashgar on Danwei).
From This is Xinjiang's article titled Signs of the Fall:
"Cynics of development often joke that the name "China" comes from the word "拆那" (chai-na), or "tear that down." Recent events in Kashgar, as many news outlets already have announced, reflect this reckless attitude. In the past several months, the character 拆-- rel="nofollow" scrawled in black paint-- has been appearing on the mud-brick walls of Kashgar's Old Town, a collection of tightly cluttered Uyghur houses, some hundreds of years old. Indeed, the Chinese state has condemned these buildings in a $440-million-dollar plan to demolish and replace some 85% of the historic district with modern apartments, public schools, and open plazas. Likewise, the government will relocate nearly 200,000 residents to new flats on the city's outskirts. The local tourism bureau will then preserve what remains of the Old Town as an
ethnic zoo outdoor museum." (Continue reading Signs of the Fall).
Josh Summers of Far West China writes on Kashgar's Old Town:
"Within the narrow alleyways of this Old Town lie thousands of years of Kashgar’s history. Aged wooden doors and cobblestone paths have witnessed the passage of innumerable donkey carts, small Uyghur children and, in recent times, many foreign tourists. On the outside, these mud-brick walls seem at peace with their place in history but just beyond the padlocked door a crippling truth emerges." (Continue reading Kashgar's Old Town Bulldozed: Is Uygher Culture in Danger?).
Woohoo, we are very pleased that Far West China is not being blocked at the moment. Fingers crossed that all this crazy freedom will continue...
At any rate, if you are interested in Uygher culture and seeing Kashgar's old town, you want to get there soon before it will be changed forever. Sad, but true...