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Date: 2007-05-22 14:48
Subject: Xinjiang factor in the new Silk Road
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The Xinjiang factor in the new Silk Road
By David Gosset

Because of endless reports on conflicts, trafficking, corruption, terrorism and extreme poverty, Central Asia's image is largely negative. When Zbigniew Brzezinski, former national security adviser to US president Jimmy Carter, spoke about the "Eurasian Balkans" in his book The Grand Chessboard to describe Central Asia, he was contributing to a pejorative stereotype that does not reflect the complex reality, and certainly does not serve the interests of the people living between the Caspian Sea and the

Gobi Desert.

True, President Hamid Karzai's Afghanistan is far from stable, Pakistan's political situation is fragile, and post-Soviet Central Asia is in a difficult transition, but the region is certainly not in desperate chaos. If one can measure the constructive role played by Xinjiang in the middle of a new Silk Road, and put aside the irrelevant notion of a "Great Game", Central Asia appears as a so
clipped from www.atimes.com
The Xinjiang factor in the new Silk
By David Gosset
A part of the People's
Republic of China, Xinjiang Uygur autonomous
region is too often the blind spot of most of the
analyses on Central Asia. However, China has
always played a key role in Inner Asia. During the
early period of its prosperous Tang Dynasty (AD
618-907), the Chinese Empire extended so far as to
neighbor what is now Iran, enveloping modern Zapol
in Iran's Sistan province. Li Bai (701-762),
arguably the greatest Chinese poet, was born near
Tokmok between Bishkek and Issyk Kul lake in
today's Kyrgyzstan, and the generous poems of the
"Drunken Immortal" (Jiu Xian) are often inspired
by the infinite space of High Asia. Chinese
students can recite the beautiful verse, "Above
the Tianshan Mount the bright moon arises / and
among an immense sea of clouds she flies" (ming
yue chu Tianshan / cangmang yun hai jian
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