After living and working in China for six years it has now come time to return back to America. These past few years have been an amazing experience. I’ve made many new friends, and learned so much about China’s peoples and culture. It’s wonderful to learn about a country and its people firsthand, not just through the eyes of others, and certainly not just by reading books and magazines.
Before leaving China I had the opportunity to visit Leikeng Ancient Village, located in Anhui Province. It was a step back in time with bucolic scenery, very peaceful. More of my images of this location and commentary will be forthcoming in my next photo book, “China: People and Places”. Notice of its release will be posted on this blog.
I will be returning to China very soon, continuing my journeys, meeting other peoples and exploring the culture.
P.S. – While as a foreigner, I had wonderful experiences in my travels throughout China, however I must voice my sorrow and displeasure of what is currently taking place in the western region, Xinjiang Autonomous Region. The Muslim population in the west are being subjected to horrendous conditions of bio-metric monitoring and placement in what can only be called modern day concentration camps disguised as “re-education centers”. My prayers are with them daily.
As a terrible winter storm raced across America, hitting the east coast with record snowfalls, falling temperatures and flooding, there was also unbelievable cold and snowfall all over China.
In fact, in southern China people anxiously awaited the arrival of snow in places like Guangzhou and Shenzhen, where they rarely, if ever, get to see nature’s beauty in the form of snow.
Mei Lin is small mountain range near the city of Nanchang. During the spring and summer it is a wonderful place to go mountain climbing taking in the beautiful sights of blossoming flowers and rolling bamboo trees.
While the snowfall in Jiangxi Province did not reach the astronomical totals as east coast America, it did present its own set of dangerous circumstances for people living in the Province. I could not get to the top of Mei Lin Mountain due to the dangerous condition of ice on the mountain roads. Still, there were some sights to capture photographically as people endured the brutally cold weather and take in the sights of a rare snowfall.
Mei Lin Mountain is wonderful place for peace and solitude, whether in the winter, spring or summer. As the seasons change I will strive to present other images of this quiet mountain respite.
Mei Lin Mountain can be translated as “beautiful jade mountain or forest”. It truly is a wonderful place to meditate or taking a hike to commune with the wonders of nature.
The city of Nanchang is the capital of Jiangxi Province, which is located in south central China. The Nanchang Uprising took place August 1, 1927 during the Chinese Civil War. The Communists, later led by Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai, hid in the mountains in western and central Jiangxi as the Kuomingtang attempted to eradicate them.
Nanchang 4 Kids (NC4K), is a grassroots organization started by a Ford Motor Company employee approximately 5 years ago. He and his wife felt there was a need to work with disadvantaged children in Jiangxi Province, especially in Nanchang.
Volunteers go to the Cute Baby Kindergarten and Recovery Center in Wanli, Nanchang to spend time with their children and to teach English.
All of the money raised goes to something specific. To learn more about this organization you can go to their website: www.nanchangcares4kids.org
In bringing in this New Year I spent the weekend in the water town of Wuzhen, located in eastern China, near the city of Hangzhou. Here is how it is described from the Service Guide to this famous town:
“Wuzhen is a historical water town in the south of the Yangtze River Delta with a history of 1300 years. There are ancient stone bridges floating on mild water, stone pathways between the mottled walls and delicate wood carvings. In addition, Wuzhen displays uniqueness through its profound cultural background.”
International guests convened in a very modern conference center, discussing ways to use and protect the usage of the Internet.
If you are looking for a place in China for a respite against large crowds (except of course during Chinese holiday seasons), great food and many places to purchase gifts and cultural artifacts I highly recommend Wuzhen.
Nanjing, which was formally known as Nanking or Nankin, was the capital of China until August of 1937. At that time, Japanese forces had effectively attacked and captured Shanghai and were on a march to attack Nanjing. After losing the battle of Shanghai, Chiang Kai-shek made the decision to take his army into the countryside as opposed to losing much of his force in a hopeless battle to defend the capital.
To understand some of the hostility between China and Japan today, one needs to understand the ramifications of the results of the Second World War, or as it is known in China, the Japanese War of Aggression.
While Germany as a country has profusely apologized and each year shows national contrition for its atrocities committed against the Jewish people, there are many Japanese politicians, including President Shinzo Abe, who refuse any sign of remorse. Some even claim despite overwhelming documentation, that the events documented did not happen.
On December 13th, 1937 the Japanese army captured the city of Nanjing in eastern China. Their occupation began one of the most horrific massacre’s that occurred during the fight against Japanese aggression, commonly known as World War II.
During the occupation of the city over an approximate six week period, it has been said that 300,000 persons were brutally murdered and countless women raped.
Last year the Chinese government established this day as a National Memorial Day to remember the sacrifice and loss of life that occurred during the occupation. In announcing the commemoration of this holiday, special efforts were made to indicate it was not a day to foster hatred, but a solemn day of remembrance by the world in hopes that something like this would never happen again.
Unfortunately, with the continuing violence of events happening on the African continent, as well as the atrocities taking place in the Middle East, it appears humanity has yet to understand or learn lessons for the Respect for Life.
I’ve enjoyed the pleasure and opportunity to serve as a faculty advisor for students participating in the Model United Nations Program at Jiangxi University. The Model United Nations gives students an opportunity to discuss, negotiate and arrive at resolutions to solve real life issues happening today at the United Nations. The topic of the conference recently held here was, “External Debt Sustainability and Development”, which proved to be a very challenging economic topic.
Students first present Position Papers in one day, based on real life positions of their assigned country, then Working Papers the following day, and finally, after negotiating where possible, arriving at presenting a Draft Resolution. All of this is done under the very strict guidelines that are used at the United Nations in terms of language and format. A tremendous learning experience for these international students (and me too!)