Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Mummies--China is Getting Sexier

Archaeological findings in China may be the evidence that Uighur nationalists in the autonomous region of Xinjiang Uighur have been awaiting. Over the past few decades, more than 200 “well-preserved mummies” have been discovered in the western deserts of the region which could provide evidence to answer the question--who settled in western China and for how long has this region been a part of the Chinese empire? Mummies such as the “Loulan Beauty” and the “Cherchan Man” have been preserved for thousands of years and may provide the historical evidence necessary for the Uighurs to gain leverage in the struggle with the Chinese government. However, the Uighurs should not indulge in excitement too soon because it is highly unlikely that China’s government is willing to loosen its grip on the region just yet; after all, Xinjiang derives its wealth from vast minerals and oil deposits all of which are in China’s best interest to hang on to.
According to research provided by the Council on Foreign Relations, Xinjiang accounts for roughly a sixth of China and the region consists of twenty million people with the Uighurs, a Turkic-speaking Muslim people, making up nearly half of the population. The Uighurs claim that China’s presence in the region is imperialistic; however, the Chinese government refutes the claim by declaring that the area rightfully became a part of China in 1949 after The Communist Party took over the territory.
From studying the mummies, some scholars suggest that the region has been a historic “melting pot” that has attracted inhabitants from outside of Chinese territory, even from Europe and the west. In contrast, other theories imply that some of the mummies are from East Asia; however, these were not the oldest mummies excavated. The interpretations are inconclusive, and China’s government is devoting its efforts to keep it that way. Moreover, China has refused to allow scientists from outside of the country to conduct research on the mummies which is preventing advanced foreign scientists from getting their hands on them and deriving conclusions that do not favor China’s stance.
Although the scientists cannot offer definite information to the Uighurs or to China’s government, their mummy findings add a bit of mystery for those individuals who are fascinated with history.


Researcher said...

The Taiwanese are going through the same thing. They are trying to construct a history at odds with the official "mainland" history (which was the official history during the Chiang regime as well). Of course, the idea that something as simple as history will get these people their freedom is laughable; Tibet has a strong history of being a separate state, with a historical marker to the "eternal friendship and non-aggression" between the Tibetans and the Chinese, put up during the Qing dynasty.

Anonymous said...

Archaeologists are creating wars!