Who Will Decide the Future of Kashgar?

Certainly not the people who live there.
Originally published by:
Asia Sentinel, 25 March 2010, By Amy Reger    


The fate of Kashgar’s Old City, a fabled stop on the Silk Road and an historic meeting point for the exchange of goods and ideas, hangs in the balance. The area, both home to 220,000 Uyghur residents and a vibrant hub of Uyghur culture, is located near China’s border with Kyrgyzstan and Pakistan.

Just to the south of the area is a giant statue of Mao Zedong, the largest statue of the revolutionary leader in China. Mao appears to have turned his back on the people of the Old City, the majority of whom are slated to be moved out from their traditional homes.

The Uyghur people, who speak a Turkic language and possess cultural and religious beliefs akin to their Central Asian neighbors rather than the Han Chinese, have maintained their unique cultural identity for centuries in this oasis town amid shaded courtyards and labyrinthine alleyways. In recent decades, they have struggled for the right to preserve their cultural and religious practices in Mao’s shadow.

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Originally published by: VOA, 24 March 2010 ,By Robert Carmichael

In the past five years China and Cambodia have drawn ever closer, with Beijing investing billions of dollars in the impoverished Southeast Asian nation. Cambodians see both benefits and potential risks in the relationship.

In the past five years, China has become Cambodia’s most important source of foreign investment: Cambodia has approved $6 billion of Chinese investments since 2006, while China provided at least $2 billion more in grant aid and loans.

Those are big sums for Cambodia, which has a $10 billion economy.

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Google to phase out China search partnerships

Originally published by: Reuters, 24 March,2010, By Chris Buckley


BEIJING/HONG KONG (Reuters) – Two days after shutting its Chinese portal over censorship, Google Inc said it plans to phase out deals to provide filtered search services to other online or mobile firms in China.

It has already been shunned by at least one of those partner firms and was attacked by a state newspaper after pulling the plug on its mainland Chinese language portal Google.cn. It now reroutes searches to an unfiltered Hong Kong site.

The Google dispute, which involves cyber attacks as well as Internet censorship, is one of many thorny trade, financial, political and security issues that are roiling U.S.-China ties this year.

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Uncertainty surrounds Google’s China partnerships amid censorship dispute

Originally published by: The Associated Press, 24 March,2010   By Alexa Olesen


BEIJING — A popular Chinese Web portal said Wednesday it is taking over operation of two services developed and formerly operated with Google just days after the search giant took a risky stand against China’s strict Internet censorship rules by moving its search engine offshore.

It wasn’t immediately clear what prompted the decision by Tianya.cn to take over two sites it used to run jointly with Google.

One analyst said the portal may have come under pressure to distance itself from Google or perhaps it was a sign that Google itself had decided to break more of its ties to China.

Meanwhile, Google said Wednesday it was still providing censored searches in China to some customers that held contracts requiring it, but that all censoring it does in the country would be phased out.

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Russia, China push Iran to change nuclear stance

Originally published by: Reuters, 23March,2010         By Louis Charbonneau


UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – Russia and China have quietly made clear to the Iranian government they want Tehran to change its approach to the nuclear issue and accept a U.N. atomic fuel offer, Western diplomats said on Tuesday.

Russia’s and China’s coordinated diplomatic approaches took place in Tehran around the beginning of March, according to several Western U.N. Security Council diplomats.

They said it was significant that two powers seen as blocking Western efforts to get tough on Tehran appeared to be using their influence behind the scenes to ratchet up the pressure on the Islamic Republic.

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China newspaper accuses Google of helping U.S. intelligence

Originally published by: Reuters,  23 March, 2010

BEIJING (Reuters) – A Chinese Communist Party newspaper accused Google on Wednesday of colluding with U.S. spies, and said the firm’s retreat from China over censorship justified Beijing’s efforts to promote homegrown technology.

China’s latest blast at the world’s biggest Internet search company came in the overseas edition of the People’s Daily, the chief newspaper of China’s ruling Communist Party.

Google on Monday shut its mainland Chinese-language portal Google.cn and began rerouting searches to a Hong Kong site, over two months after it said it would not accept the self-censorship demanded by China’s government, which is determined to keep a tight grip on domestic users’ access to the Internet.

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 Originally published by: openDemocracy, 24 March 2010

By Henryk Szadziewsk

The dust that now rises in Kashgar’s old city comes no longer from the sands of the Taklamakan desert, but from the debris of centuries-old houses demolished in a “residents’-resettlement” project. This historic urban heartland of Uyghur society was once given its character by the lively trade in the bazaars, the vibrant alleyway communities, and the cool refuge of shaded courtyards; today, its defining feature is the gap-toothed and pockmarked landscape of flattened houses razed by Chinese bulldozers (see “Kashgar’s old city: the politics of demolition“, 3 April 2009). 

The Chinese authorities in the far-west Xinjiang region of the people’s republic declared in early 2009 that 65,000 homes in Kashgar’s old city – an area that encompasses nearly eight square kilometres –  were unfit for habitation due to poor drainage and concerns over potential collapse in the event of an earthquake. It is unclear exactly how much of the old city has been demolished since then; but it is known that a significant number of Uyghurs have been relocated to new apartment-blocks eight-to-nine kilometres from Kashgar’s centre, and find their new residencies conveniently fitted with the trappings of modern surveillance such as CCTV cameras.  

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Originally published by: The Christian Science Monitor, 22 March, 2010                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     By Warren RicheyThe US Supreme Court on Monday declined to take up an appeal by a group of Guantánamo Bay detainees seeking the ability to challenge US efforts to resettle them in third countries where they may face human rights abuses.The high court action lets stand a ruling by the federal appeals court in Washington. That ruling states that US district judges hearing habeas corpus petitions filed by Guantánamo detainees do not have authority to order the government to provide the detainees 30 days notice before transferring them from Guantánamo to another country for resettlement.

The case involved members of China’s Uighur ethnic minority who are being held at Guantánamo despite government concessions that they are no longer considered enemy combatants of the US.

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