Exploring China’s peripheries: Southwest 西南
// Day 1: Kunming, Yunnan province
Featuring 10 photos a day, here is a first-hand journey into learning more about China’s interior.
Prejudices can have a habit of clouding perspective. It is unlikely great powers, be it the U.S. or China get to where they are today without significant struggle and effort. These photo stories of my travels around China as a ‘returning’ overseas-born Chinese sojourner are intended to dispel the myth of China as a monolithic entity. By closing the gaps between myth, misconception and first hand experience, perhaps these images will shed light on China’s struggle and ability to harness 1.3 billion narratives to become a collective force for forward motion.
Having explored most of the developed eastern coast, I was keen to see just how much work was being done to spread the benefits of China’s rise to its interior and peripheries. Xi’An, in China’s central north-west was as deep as I had travelled to before. Eager to learn more and experience China’s promise of equitable growth and armed with a tablet computer (disclaimer as I decided to travel ultra-light, without a purpose-built camera), I head to China’s southwest with Yunnan and Sichuan province in my sights.
First stop is Yunnan’s capital – Kunming.
Thanks for sharing these images, WanderingChina. I was in Kunming in early 2000 and enjoyed the trip. One thing that struck me then was how fast China rebuilds.
1. A building goes up, and even before it’s completion, you will notice rusts on window frames.
2. Within 10 years, those buildings are torn down and replaced with new ones.
3. Next round, with more experience, technology, and materials, buildings last longer.
Kunming today may be a Tier 2 city, but a decade or two from now, it will upgrade – dramatically.
This pace is unprecedented. Western media like to constantly harp on this idea of an ‘export-led economy,’ but they have no idea the scale of economic activity that’s taking place across the whole country.
Anyways, looking forward to your next post. 🙂 Before you know it, these pictures will become time capsules!
Excellent series and thanks for the photos! I’ve only been to the larger cities so haven’t seen the interior much so it’s nice to see these.
At first though, I didn’t realize they were filtered and thought they were old photos haha 🙂
@deWang – Thank for for the kind comments! The speed of growth and the promise of bridging the East-West divide is definitely apparently. Kunming’s designation as springboard to South East Asia (the ASEAN FTA is important to note here) will surely see it grow.
@JJ – apologies for the misdirection! I take my photos with a tablet computer to travel light, as such the 5megapixel camera has its limitations – the filters help give the photos a bit more life!