China is being accused of pulling the “Beauty of Xiaohe” over concerns that the remarkably well-preserved 4,000-year-old mummy because she is too Western looking. People who have seen the mummy have noted that she looks remarkably Caucasian — a problem for Chinese officials who have long denounced theories that that China’s Tarim Basin, in Xinjiang province, was actually settled by Europeans.
Many believe that the first settlers in the oil-rich region were in fact Europeans and the Chinese face an intermittent separatist movement of nationalist Uighurs.
The government does not tolerate theories that Europeans were there first, particularly during its crackdown against the Uighurs who dislike the Han Chinese.
The Penn Museum was suddenly informed of the decision — a critical loss to its planned “Secrets of the Silk Road” exhibit.