This photo taken in 2010 of the breath-taking scenery along the Nujiang Valley 怒江峡谷，near Bingzhongluo 丙中洛 in south west Yunnan.
During the One Child Policy (一胎政策) which finished in 2015, the Chinese government tried to persuade the population not to discriminate against having female children. Unfortunately, the campaign was not successful and has resulted in there being far more males than females in China. Traditional families, especially in the countryside chose to have a male child over a female child.
This is a government propaganda sign in Rural China (Bakai, Rongjiang, Guizhou Province) reminding the local population that males and females are equal.
There is still a lot of work to do.
Amazing cave dwelling in Shanxi Province
Hidden away up an eroded valley a few kilometers from a remote stretch of the Yellow River is Lijiashan 李家山. It is one of Shanxi Province’s hidden gems. A village almost exclusively made up of traditional cave dwellings 窑洞. It’s a place to spend a few days disconnected from the modern world, read a good book on one of the sunny terraces of the local home-stays and sip a cold (or lukewarm) beer. All the home-stays are cave dwellings built into the side of the mountain. If the sky is clear, you’ll be rewarded with spectacular starry nights (full article coming soon).
Tianning Temple and Pagoda
Gazing out of the taxi window, stuck in one of those infernal Beijing traffic jams on our way to the cavernous Beijing West Train Station 北京西 for the umpteenth time, I always found my eyes fixing on a huge pagoda majestically rising above the sprawl of residential buildings. I can’t count the number of times I said to Margie, “we must find out what it is”.
However, once on the train and out of Beijing, our thoughts moved on to the new adventures that lay ahead and our curiosity in the pagoda waned until the next time we were yet again on our way to Beijing West 西站 and the pagoda again caught our attention.
Sometimes, we asked our friends living in Beijing if they knew the pagoda. Most just shrugged their shoulders and told us it was obviously the famous Bai Yun Si 白云寺 (White Cloud Temple). However, that just couldn’t be so.On the map, the Taoist White Cloud Temple is on your right as you drive west towards the station, this pagoda was on the left. It had to be something else.
With a few days to spare in Beijing on our last trip, we decided to find out what this mysterious pagoda was. And what a find!
After visiting the White Cloud Temple we headed south west crossing under the six-lane elevated highway that heads towards Beijing West train station and entered Fengtai District. From there we basically followed Continue reading “Tianning Temple and Pagoda 天宁寺塔: A Beijing Hidden Gem”
2016 Beijing To Xian
This summer we travelled with a friend who had never been to China before. So to give him a good introduction we made a route from Beijing to Xian passing through the province of Shanxi. Its a route that took in some magnificent Buddhist cave art, wonderful old towns and castles, the Great Wall and included some of the most beautiful temples in China. Finally finishing up with the Terracotta Army in Xian.
Li Qun 力群 Wood Cuts 木刻绘画
Here are just a few of the beautiful wood cuts we were able to enjoy when we visited the rambling and extraordinary Wang Family Home in Shanxi Province a few hours from Pingyao.
We had no idea that there was a Li Qun exhibition on when we visited. It was a fantastic surprise. Some of his wood cuts are really stunning works of art.
For more on Li Qun Click here: I hope you enjoy the photos we took. I am afraid there is some reflective glare on one or two of the photos due to the wood cuts being protected by glass.
Here is a summery of his philosophy on art:
Art for Serving the Masses
The following text comes from: http://en.cafa.com.cn/iconic-chinese-woodcuts-artist
“Li strongly believes that art should serve the interests of the masses–the workers, peasants and soldiers. Continue reading “Li Qun 力群 Wood Cuts 木刻绘画 in the Wang Jia Mansion”
Chinese New Year
The Nightmare of Going Home
Getting train tickets in China has always been a hit and miss operation, especially if you want sleeper berths for long distance trains. At Chinese New Year, getting a ticket becomes something akin to winning the lottery.
This BBC clip sums the situation up quite well, and shows the growing divide between the haves and have nots in modern China, where just having access to a computer is an advantage。
Shangri-La goes up in Flames
The End of Zhongdian/ Dukezong
Reports from the Chinese Press and Western News agencies talk of the Tibetan town of Dukezong (previouly Zhongdian) being destroyed by fire. It appears that the fire started in a backpacker hostel though this still has to be confirmed.
Memories of Zhongdian
Our first attempt to visit the town in 1991 was thwarted when the police pulled us of the bus just after Tiger Leap Gorge and sent us back to Lijiang. Zhongdian/ Dukezong was still apparently closed to Foreigners then. Eventually, we got there in 2007 on our way to Tibet.
When we visited in 2007 we found an old wooden town (surrounded by a drab new town) that had been well-restored with a low key and laid back feel. There were some wonderful old Tibetan mansions around town as well as some nice bars and cafes in the old buildings. We especially remember Continue reading “Shangri-La goes up in Flames: The End of Zhongdian/ Dukezong”
Guangdong Province is our destination this year and a much shorter visit than normal. We plan to base ourselves for almost a week in Guangzhou taking time to enjoy the Dim Sum and making various excursions. High on our list are the Diaolou near Kaiping; the river side temples near Qingyuan and the Bagua Villages near Zhaoqing. If there is time we would like to pop into the little known Hakka area of southern Jiangxi province and visit the Tulou (Hakka earth buildings) near Longnan. Finally,
we’ll finish our trip visiting friends in Beijing after taking the bullet train from Guangzhou.
Author: Pen name: Mo Yan 莫言. Real name: Guǎn Móyè 管谟业
Anyone who has read our Chinese book review section will know that I’m a great fan of the Chinese author Mo Yan. So I would just like so say how happy I am that he has been recognized for his great works. Hopefully, I’ll now be able to find a copy of his ‘Republic of Wine’ a little more easily.
Below are the reviews of two of Mo Yan’s books that are on our blog: