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Showing posts with label History. Show all posts
Showing posts with label History. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

From Aristotle to Xie Juezai: Eight "Rule of Law Celebrity Sculptures" at Pantang Park in Wuzhou, China

Pantang Park (潘塘公园) offers a place to walk through a bit of greenery and somewhat get away from the urban areas which surround it in central Wuzhou. The park also offers a bit of a history through a series of busts titled "Rule of Law Celebrity Sculptures" ("法治名人雕像"). The busts are almost all arranged in the chronological order of the lives of the people they depict, ranging in time from Ancient Greece to Communist China. Below are photos of the eight busts and also links to the English Wikipedia page for each person, though the articles for the Chinese figures are less well referenced, if at all.

Notably, the first four busts are all of Westerners and the rest are all of Chinese. I am not very familiar with the history of rule of law in the Western world and China, but I am sure people more knowledgable about the topic would have deeper observations about this selection of people put on display at a relatively peaceful park in Wuzhou.

Bust of Aristotle (亚里士多德) in Wuzhou's Pantang Park (潘塘公园)
Aristotle (亚里士多德; 384–322 BC), Greek philosopher


Bust of Ulpian (乌尔比安) in Wuzhou's Pantang Park (潘塘公园)
Ulpian (乌尔比安; 170 – 223), Roman jurist


Bust of Montesquieu (孟德斯鸠) in Wuzhou's Pantang Park (潘塘公园)
Montesquieu (孟德斯鸠; 1689-1755), French judge and political philosopher


Bust of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (黑格尔) in Wuzhou's Pantang Park (潘塘公园)
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (黑格尔; 1770-1831), German philosopher


Bust of Shen Jiaben (沈家本) in Wuzhou's Pantang Park (潘塘公园)
Shen Jiaben (沈家本; 1840-1913), Chinese politician and jurist


Bust of Shen Junru (沈钧儒) in Wuzhou's Pantang Park (潘塘公园)
Shen Junru (沈钧儒, 1875 - 1963), first president of the Supreme People's Court of China in the People's Republic of China


Bust of Dong Biwu (董必武)  in Wuzhou's Pantang Park (潘塘公园)
Dong Biwu (董必武; 1886 - 1975), Chinese communist political leader


Bust of Xie Juezai (谢觉哉) in Wuzhou's Pantang Park (潘塘公园)
Xie Juezai (谢觉哉; 1884 - 1971), former President of the Supreme People's Court

Sunday, February 17, 2019

A Little Red App, Li Rui's Death, Lots of Debt, and Forced Pork: Four China-Themed Tweets With Links

Here are four tweet with links to pieces very much worth checking out if you haven't already:




Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Dolphins, a Log Flume, and Hu Jintao in Zhongshan: The History and Legacy of China's First Large-Scale Modern Amusement Park

Near one end of the Changjiang Reservoir in Zhongshan, Guangdong, exists a place of merriment, magic, and water. But when I recently passed the Changjiang Water World (长江水世界) park on a foggy afternoon, it was closed — as it is every day this time of year due to the colder weather.

At least a sculpture at its main entrance is still approachable.

sculpture at entrance of Changjiang Water World in Zhongshan


A short walk away is the hard-to-miss entrance for the Changjiang Water World parking lot.

Changjiang Water World parking lot entrance


Unsurprisingly, there were no cars parked there at the time.

Changjiang Water World parking lot


The other side of the parking lot is bordered by the Changjiang Reservoir's dam. Yes, this is your place for empty parking lot photos.

And the fun doesn't stop there. One of the historical photos displayed at Zhongshan's Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall captures a moment at the amusement park which previously existed at Changjiang Water World's current site.

Chinese caption for the photo:
"1984年5月24日,时任中共中央总书记胡耀邦在时任广东省省长梁灵光陪同下视察中山,图为他在中山长江乐园验“激流探险”


According to the photo's caption, Hu Yaobang (胡耀邦), who then held the highest office in Communist Party of China as its general secretary, and Liang Lingguang (梁灵光), who was then Governor of Guangdong, are checking out a log flume ride at the Changjiang Playland* (长江乐园), which had opened the year before in 1983. Hu riding a potentially soaking ride while wearing a suit strikes me as bold. In fact, according to accounts of the time, the 69-year-old Hu insisted upon conquering the water ride despite concerns over safety and it not being part of the original plans.

Hu was presumably not visiting simply for fun, but instead because the Changjiang Playland was the first large-scale amusement park with modern rides in China and seen as a potential model for others. The park also helped Zhongshan — where the first bumper cars were made in China – grow into the largest base of amusement park ride production in the country. They even make log flume rides there.

Perhaps the park inspired too much for its own good though. Soon the fun faded away and in 1997 the park closed, in part due to competition from other parks which opened in the region. Aging equipment didn't help either, although it was good enough to be sent to Leshan in Sichuan province.

In 2005, the site experienced a rebirth when the Changjiang Romantic Water World (长江浪漫水城) opened. The romance didn't last for long, and in 2009 the site was closed for redevelopment once more. In 2010 the first phase of the Changjiang Water World opened.

That park remains in existence today, as does Zhongshan's amusement park ride industry. But unfortunately, a list of rides at Changjiang Water World indicates a log flume ride no longer exists. So there goes any chance for a contemporary version of Hu's daring act at the park.








*Some sites now use "Changjiang Paradise" — a reasonable translation — for the park's English name, but according to photos of various old entrance tickets (see here and here) the park itself used "Changjiang Playland" as its English name.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

A Photo of the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall in Zhongshan, China

I may have never seen a photo of President Hu Jintao looking at a fish if it weren't for the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall in Zhongshan. So it seems fitting to now share a recent photo of the building.

Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall in Zhongshan, China


While there are many memorial halls for Sun Yat-sen in China, this one is special since the city of Zhongshan, another name for Sun, is named after him and he was born in one of its villages. The exhibits inside are free to visit and include many other photos as well. As mentioned in the fish photo post, one of those will appear here later.

Monday, June 4, 2018

A Tiananmen Story Told Through Shirts & Dresses in Guangzhou, China

Today as I looked at the English messages on clothing sold and worn at the Dongji Xintiandi Shopping Mall in Guangzhou, I rather unexpectedly saw a potential story being told. So instead of sharing relevant links and tweets, what I witnessed at a Hong Kong vigil, or how much of what happens in China on this date is the same as any other day, this year I will reflect on the anniversary of the crackdown at Tiananmen Square through the messages on some of the clothing on display today in one shopping center in one city of China.

While this approach is certainly unusual, it captures some of the conflicting and almost surreal feelings one can experience considering today's history while walking down the streets of present day China. It also reflects how those who do speak out on this topic in China often have to resort to more indirect or creative expression to make it through heavy censorship even briefly.

_________________________________________________


Twenty-nine years ago many students in China had a dream.

"Reach for the Moon" shirt


They had goals.

"Democrazy" and "Help Me!" shirts


The students were peaceful, but the Chinese government was greatly concerned nonetheless.

"The Power of Dreams." shirt


Things didn't go the way the students had expected.

"There is a surprise" shirt


The government's response was not light.

"Extreme" shirt


And the streets of Beijing became like they they had never been before.

"Tank" shirt


Without the witnesses, photos, and videos, some of it would now be hard to believe.

"It's real" shirt


The government offered rationale for its actions.

"Security" shirt


And now the government even says that democracy is one of the twelve Core Socialist Values for the country.

"Not Fake But Faux." shirt


Some outside of China would question whether the country really claims that.

"Yep!" shirt


Many people today don't spend much time thinking about what happened 29 years ago.

"Never look back" shirt


They may be focused on a variety of other things.

"Less Stress More Sex." shirt


Some people don't want to talk about it even if they are aware.

"Don't Ask Me" shirt


Still, there are some in China who have their own dreams.

"REBEL" shirt


But they often see no effective way to proceed.

"Plan" shirt


Some would say there simply isn't any chance in China for what the students sought 29 years ago.

"Just Can't" dress


Despite the challenges, some still hold out hope.

"Never Give up" jumper dress


Some believe that even if they might not be able to achieve each and every goal they desire, that isn't reason things can't be better.

"Fuck The Perfect" shirt


There are questions as to whether the change can occur over time by encouraging fundamental behaviors.

"Be Curious" shirt


Or whether significant change would require much sacrifice for it to have even a slim chance of occurring.

"Find What You Love and Let It Kill You" shirt


Whatever the case, today in China it is difficult to discuss the facts of what occurred at Tiananmen Square. Even mentioning the date June 4 can lead to censorship. So people find ways to refer to the day in other ways.

And another May 35th goes by in China . . .

"May Can't Happen in June" shirt

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Eighteen Scenes from Historical Jiefang Road in Yunfu

Many of the buildings which line Jiefang Road as it winds it way through central Yunfu are indicative of some of the city's history. In nearby cities such as Zhongshan and Jiangmen, a few similar historical roads have in part been turned into popular pedestrian streets. Yunfu doesn't appear to have any such grandiose plans at the moment, though the city government has proposed renovations to this "living fossil" (reference in Chinese).

The series of photos below capture scenes beginning on Jiefang East Road, moving westward to Jiefang Middle Road which passes by Martyr's Park, and then onto Jiefang West Road towards the road's end near Pingfeng Hill, which appears in two of the photos. Many of the scenes include buildings with historical architecture. And many capture some of the life at the old street on two recent weekday afternoons.


Jiefang East Road (解放东路)

woman pushing a baby stroller on Jiefang East Road in Yunfu


small vehicles on Jiefang East Road in Yunfu


Jiefang Middle Road (解放中路)

people walking on Jiefang Middle Road in Yunfu


scooters on Jiefang Middle Road in Yunfu


Jiefang Middle Road in Yunfu


building with historical architecture on Jiefang Middle Road in Yunfu


Jiefang Middle Road in Yunfu


Jiefang West Road (解放西路)

man riding motorbike on Jiefang West Road in Yunfu


Jiefang West Road in Yunfu


dog and a woman pushing a baby stroller on Jiefang West Road in Yunfu


Jiefang West Road in Yunfu


bikes on Jiefang West Road in Yunfu


pharmacy on Jiefang West Road in Yunfu


man unloading a van on Jiefang West Road in Yunfu


Jiefang West Road with Pingfeng Hill in the distance in Yunfu


Jiefang West Road in Yunfu


man looking at his mobile phone while walking on Jiefang West Road in Yunfu


old buildings on Jiefang West Road in Yunfu