Foreign Correspondent Program on Kashgar's Old City
Added over 5 years ago
By Linda Heaphy
Kashgar's most important mosque, recently shut down by Chinese soldiers in preparation for the Old City's evacuation
Rob, the Australian Broadcasting Commission's cameraman in China, tells us that an ABC film crew have just returned from the city of Kashgar where they have been filming a story for the program Foreign Correspondent, Australia's premier international current affairs series. It's about the demolition of Kashgar's Old City and the historical importance of this magical place on the old Silk Road.
Kashgar, a town of labyrinthine alleys and mud-and-straw houses, has changed little in its 2,000 years of history. Once straddling the crossroads between the greatest empires of the world, the city became a repository not only for exotic goods and products but also the latest in ideas and beliefs. Buddhism, in the 1st Century BC no more than a minor Indian philosophy, was disseminated to southeast Asia via Kashgar, thus securely establishing its place today as one of the greatest religions of humankind.
Under a Chinese government plan to redevelop the city, massive and irrevocable change will come swiftly to Kashgar as more than 10,000 families are moved out of the Old City over the next few months and forcibly repatriated, their homes demolished to make room for new concrete apartment blocks and streets wide enough to accommodate cars.
Since the beginning of July, thousands of soldiers have poured into the city, patrolling the streets in convoys of trucks draped with red banners proclaiming their mission "to maintain the stability of society and the border region", the city's main mosque has been closed down and foreign journalists have been escorted to the airport and deported.
For Australian residents, the program airs on 28th July at 8pm on ABC 1. For our international readers interested in watching the story, you can contact the ABC directly here for further viewing information.
World Uighur Congress: China plans massive change in Uyghur cultural capital. July 11th 2009. http://www.uyghurcongress.org/En/News.asp?ItemID=-1743845453. Accessed 20th July 2009
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