Exodus of Kashgar

At two time zones from Beijing, a border city, a crossing along the legendary route of the silk,  beyond the desert of Taklamakan, in the deep Western China, this is where the city of Kashgar is located or, better, resurrects. The cradle of the Uigurian civilization, this  antique city still shines under  the boiling sun  of Xinjiang as the  emblem of resistance, like the last act of witness  of a century-old culture that is about to die out crushed by the Chine government iron grab.   The land of silk  and spices merchants, Kashgar, has since a long time modified its historical appearance in favor of an unavoidable and probably physiological modernity: the arrival of the railway, of the airport, a reasonable flow of tourism contributed to modify its physiognomy.  Despite the evident signs of progress, the strong Islamic faith, the proud Uigurian spirit that one can still breathe in the old districts,  seam never to abandon this city.  The soul of the Uigurian culture still resists. It resists till when its roots are cut, till when its blood is dried out. And this is exactly what the Chinese government is trying to do. When the Xinjiang population revealed its will to become independent from the rest of China, the central government immediately answered with the intervention  of the army: two-hundred  Uigurian deaths during the riots in July, 2009. By an act of internal colonialism, Beijing is uprooting the culture of this people in favor of the “official” Chinese culture that uniforms and unifies  the whole country  under the same flag, the same religion, the same way of thinking and behaving. We might say that  in Xinjiang a real ethnic replacement is taking place: the Uigurian are being eradicated in favor of the Hans (the main Chinese ethnical group). The project to erase this century-old culture is affecting also the Kashgar city planning. The plan includes the demolition of the old historical districts, that are UNESCO patrimony . The activity has already started: the old mud and straw walls are being picked down while the bulldozers fill up the truck boxes with the debris. The old craftsmen shops for copper chiseling, wool carding, are destined to disappear forever, together with the colors and perfumes of the old . At the same time, a few kilometers from downtown, Chinese masons work at full rate to construct new buildings that will house  the families that automatically decided to move over. The new flats are granted free in exchange of a voluntary move. Otherwise, Beijing will know how to convince the families to change home. In the meantime, under the statue of Mao, who, with his hand stretched out seams to still lead Chine towards a profitable future, the advertisings of the new districts cover up the walls, leaving a sign of restlessness and concern on the faces of the Uigurians.

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