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Kashgar Old Town Local Government Publicly Claims That UNESCO Supports the Kashgar Old Town Reconstruction Plan

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The Kashgar Old Town Reconstruction Plan, because it will completely destroy the Old Town, has attracted widespread harsh criticism. According to information received by CHP, it is clear that UNESCO opposes this sort of reconstruction project, and an expert committee within UNESCO has strongly attacked it. UNESCO is the world’s most respected cultural heritage protection organization. Firm criticism by UNESCO gives hope of salvation of the Kashgar Old Town.

Nevertheless, inexplicable events often occur in China. Just as this reconstruction plan was being publicly criticized, a large billboard appeared in Kashgar, claiming “UNESCO praises the Kashgar Old Town Reconstruction Plan as it fully respects its residents and considers the people’s needs as the most important part of the reconstruction”. The content of the billboard emphasizes that “UNESCO’s inspection team believes that under the premise of fully respecting residents’ wishes, the reconstruction of Kashgar is worthy of praise as it will adopt a variety of implementation methods suited to local conditions.” and, “Much of the experience of reconstruction gained from the Kashgar Old Town Project will be worth disseminating to the rest of the world”. Kashgar local government claims that since the world’s most authoritative cultural heritage protection organization fully supports this reconstruction plan, those who oppose it are causing trouble.

Similar to many Kashgar residents, CHP believes that Kashgar local government is not telling the truth. However, a number of the residents already believe in the billboard’s message. CHP does not want to see UNESCO, the world’s most-respected organization in cultural heritage protection, lose its credibility through the Kashgar Old Town issue. We therefore urge UNESCO to lodge a protest concerning the misleading billboard with the local Kashgar government.

Photo credit: CHP volunteer

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