China: The Land of Contrasts

The most populous country in the world deserves a category on its own.  From unbelievably vast landscapes to suffocatingly packed high-rise buildings; from capitalistic entrepreneurs, matriarchical tribes, Uyghur Muslims to Tibetan Buddhists; from 2 yuan for a bowl of noodles on the street to 2000 yuan for a Michelin star level fine-dining experience… China caters to all tastes and interests.

It is also a place undergoing vigorous changes along with the speedy economic growth and changing social climate. One of the unfortunate results of such development is that many authentic architecture were demolished and natural environment was destroyed to give way to uniform concrete blocks and mining factories.

Being ethnically Chinese myself but initially brought up under the British rule, I have always had mixed feelings towards my motherland.  On the one hand I am proud of my heritage and the 5000-year long civilization (and of course the delicious cuisine!), but on the other I still remain skeptical about many Chinese government policies.  On the social and political front, China still has many other issues to resolve before it can stand firm on the international stage.

Regardless of all the moans and groans from China’s global partners / competitors, the people of China have never been more enthusiastic about the future.  Every face radiates a ray of hope and everywhere you go, you are guaranteed to be greeted by a subtle but warm smile, and occasionally a shot of the notoriously strong local rice liquor – baijiu. Watch out your liver!

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Please click on the following links for posts on individual provinces.

XINJIANG 新疆: Urumqi, Tianchi, Bu’erjin, Kana Lake, Hemu, Ulungur Lake, Turpan, Kashgar, Karakul Lake, Tashkurgan, Khunjerab Pass

YUNNAN 雲南: Kunming, Dali, Xizhou, Lijiang, Baisha, Tiger Leaping Gorge, Haba, Baishuitai, Shangri-la, Benzilan, Lugu Lake, Jianshui, Yuanyang