Thursday, May 28, 2009

Shiho Fukada: The End of Kashgar?

© Shiho Fukada/NYTimes-All Rights Reserved

One of my favorite photographers/photojournalists is Shiho Fukada, and she returns to the pages of The New York Times with photographs of Kashgar made into an audio slideshow titled A City and People At a Crossroads with the narration of Michael Wines (also author of the accompanying article To Protect an Ancient City).

Kashgar is a important hub on the Old Silk Road, a vibrant Islamic centre within Chinese territory, where over a thousand years ago, traders from all over Asia, sold and bought their goods on its streets. It is the largest oasis city in Chinese Central Asia and 90% of its population of over 3,000,,000 are Uygur. Kashgar’s Old City, is “the best-preserved example of a traditional Islamic city to be found anywhere in central Asia,” as wrote the architect and historian George Michell.

The article questions whether the Chinese government's policy to demolish the Old City and replace it with modern buildings is really because of its fear of earthquakes, or motivated by the desire to dilute the Uygur's identity by moving them elsewhere.

Some lovely photographs by Fukada of the Old City, especially the first one in the slideshow.

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