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Qeshqer
30-05-09, 15:59
URL of the article:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/28/world/asia/28kashgar.html

URL of the comment:

http://community.nytimes.com/article/comments/2009/05/28/world/asia/28kashgar.html?s=1&pg=7



153.May 28, 2009 1:58 pm
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It always annoys me when people decry the tearing down of "ancient" cities to be replaced with modern structure, simply because OMG it's so historic and such a beautiful tourist destination(even if they have zero intention to ever visit it).

Would any of you like to live in a non-earthquake proved riggety old building without modern plumbing in an earthquake zone? Try and live in these places please before you opine. These places do not exist simply for your viewing pleasure. People actually live there 365 days a year for their entire lives.

For all we know majority of the people in that town are probably happy that they're finally getting a comfortable modern home to live in. But of course the author of this article is so biased he would never allow us to know such people exist, and if they do, they just don't know any better.

China is not India or the West. They believe in assimilating minority cultures rather than allowing different minority groups to form their own separate cultures and countries within their country. It's smart nation building, pure and simple. Eventually modernity and economic prosperity trumps all. What good is "culture" if you live in eternal poverty compared to your next door neighbor, ride on donkeys when your neighbors drive by in cars? Sure it's nice for the tourists, but would you rather ride the donkey or the car, everyday for the rest of your life?

People who advocate every ethnic group holding on to their language and culture without assimilation should just look at how that is tearing apart India, and is slowly tearing apart the US and much of Europe. The US has a large minority group who would rather speak Spanish than English, leading to the chaos in our education system. The UK, Germany, and France are all struggling with large influx of muslim immigrants who refuse to assimilate into the mainstream Christian or secular culture. I applaud what China is doing. Instead of letting these minority groups holding on to their identity then discriminating against them like we do so hypocritically in the West, they encourage acculturation to deter discrimination. Chinese are very practical people. They have no time to be hypocrites like we do in the West, they're too busy trying to feed 1.3B people and avoid civil strives.

Above all, stop being so self-righteous and always telling other countries how to run their country! We can barely keep ours in one piece and running!
— GL, Seattle, WA

Recommend Recommended by 57 Readers 154.May 28, 2009 1:58 pm
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Whether or not Kashgar should have not “rebuilt” is debatable, but I deplore all those comments about “Chinese ethnic cleansing of the Uyghurs.” First of all, the Uyghurs are Chinese, too. They are Chinese of Uyghur descent. Would you call Hispanic Americans and Japanese Americans Spaniards and Japanese rather than Americans?

Secondly, China has ruled Xinjiang on and off since the time of Christ. If the “Chinese” had really wanted to “cleanse” the Uyghurs, they had 2,000 years to do so. Ethnic minorities do not have to adhere to the one-child policy whereas the majority Han must, and bi-lingual education is available to many ethnic minorities in China, whereas it’s banned in public schools in the U.S.

Thirdly, China has always been a multi-ethnic country during its 5,000 year history. Before the founding of the first dynasty, Xia, China was but a collection of many city-states, many of which were founded by people of distinct ethnic and cultural origin. These diverse people eventually merged to become the “Chinese,” and new blood is continuing to be added to the current day, in a process parallel to the formation of an American identity. In fact, China was the world’s original melting pot; in fact, two of the greatest emperors in Chinese history, the First Emperor of China of Qin Dynasty, and Li Shimin of the Tang both have significant “foreign” blood and the “Han” Chinese is nothing but an amalgamation of numerous groups of Sino-Tibetan people, Altaic-Tungusic people, the Hmong-Yao groups, and Turkic-speaking people, among others. There are even a few Caucasoid elements – if you go to northern Shaanxi or Shaanxi, you will find “Han” Chinese who have distinct Caucasian features with light eyes and high-bridged nose.

Today there are at least 56 ethnic groups in China. It is utterly arrogant for Americans and Western media (and NYT in particular) to continue to cast China in the light of the evil “Han” majority vs. the ethnic minorities, and to describe the continuing formation of a new “Chinese” identify through the lenses of “ethnic conflicts,” while in the U.S. newcomers are encouraged to assimilate into the “mainstream” culture by adopting English as the “official” language.

— gg, sf

Recommend Recommended by 59 Readers 155.May 28, 2009 1:58 pm
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Oh please. You people who use US dollars to go to visit a third-world country a few days out of a year have no right to say what is or is not right for that culture. Have you lived like a local? Lived in rooms without A/C during the summer or heat during the winter? A place where clean water is not a given, but a maybe? China's efforts to modernize a dilapidated city that is falling apart at its seams is the best thing that has happened to the Uighurs in centuries. Maybe the people in the northeast of the US can take cue and tear down and rebuild some of its hideous, old, inefficient buildings that are marked as 'historical.' Out with the old, in with the new!
— workerbee, Maryland

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30-05-09, 18:00
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