China's drive for modernity has now claimed the old Silk Road city of Kashgar. See: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/28/world/asia/28kashgar.html?pagewanted=1&_r=2&hp
Chinese authorities say the threat of devastating earthquakes has made bulldozing most of the Old City a necessity. In contrast, ethnic Uighur Nationalists claim the move is a thinly disguised effort to repress their culture. American archaeologists-- so vocal in supporting import restrictions on Chinese cultural goods because they claim they protect artifacts-- are nowhere to be seen or heard.
As the article notes, Chinese government officials think that is just fine:
What will remain of old Kashgar is unclear. Mr. Xu said that “important buildings and areas of the Old City have already been included in the country’s special preservation list” and would not be disturbed.
No archaeologists monitor the razings, he said, because the government already knows everything about old Kashgar.
Though a quick Internet search found no evidence of archaeological outrage over the plans, the AIA is sponsoring a "Silk Road" tour that will take in Old Kashgar. See: http://www.archaeological.org/webinfo.php?page=10004&tournumber=248 This may be the last chance for a good look.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Old Kashgar on Silk Road to Disappear
Posted by Cultural Property Observer at 6:58 AM
Labels: AIA, archaeological sites, China, China MOU, poor stewardship
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SAFE has put up this story on its website and has included another story on its SAFECORNER Blog. See: http://safecorner.savingantiquities.org/
Kudos to SAFE for doing so. It will be interesting to see if there is any additional concrete action, but my guess even if there is, unfortunately it won't much matter.
Paul Barford has also commented on this story: http://paul-barford.blogspot.com/2009/06/kashgar-archaeology.html
It will be interesting to see if the AIA, as one of the main groups pressing for Chinese import restrictions, also makes a statement about the destruction of old Kashgar. Such a statment is more likely to be noticed by Chinese heritage authorities.
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