Uighur tensions persist as Kashgar’s old city is demolished
Michael Sainsbury; 7/1/10
If there are still shadows of violence in the Chinese city of Urumqi six month after sectarian riots which saw 197 dead and thousands injured, they stretch a long, long way ? 1500 kilometres south east to the Uighur cultural capital Kashgar. While there were no protests or riots in this ancient city during July, the Silk Road trading mecca that nestles near the borders of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Kyrgyzstan has been a key focus of the Chinese government’s response to the unprecedented unrest. Wang Li, a senior Communist Party official in Kashgar, described the situation as “tense”. Here, home to China’s largest mosque, the population is 80 per cent Uighur – the nine million strong Turkic-speaking Muslim minority whose protests in the Xinjiang capital of Urumqi turned deadly on July 5 last year.If you can ignore a seven-metre statue of Mao Zedong, the centre of Kashgar is not one scintilla Chinese.