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Reflections on My Month Long Visit to China (1)

I just returned from a month long visit to China which is both exhilarating and exhausting. I last visited China about 3 years previously, but decided this time to visit areas I long wanted to see and managed to see all except Beijing and Tsinghua University which require applying to the university ahead of schedule. 3 years may not be a long time, yet China is always changing and surprising.
I, my wife, and her brother together traveled through China by the high speed trains, joining local tour groups which comprise Chinese from many different parts of China, from Xinjiang, to Northeast, from Honan to Hunan, from Sichuan to Shanghai, with the exception of us from U.S.. We started from Shanghai to Changsha and visited Mao’s family home in Shaoshan, then traveled to Guiyang to see FAST radio telescope, then traveled to Chengdu to visit Dujiangyan, where the irrigation system made Qin the empire she was. Onward to Xian and Terracotta Army, with a trip to Yanan where the Red Army managed to hold off both the Japanese and KMT armies. In Beijing we visited Yuanmingyuan (Summer Palace) where relics of ruins from the Second Opium War where the finest cultural relics were looted and destroyed. Back to Shanghai to tour the house where the first Chinese Communist Party were formed and hold their first Congress there.
It’s a trip with memories and histories from the past. The Qin dynasty which unified China with a common language, Mao with his revolutionary bands against all odds succeeding in building a new China, the humiliation of the Second Opium War, and now the megacities of Beijing and Shanghai facing the future, with new technologies and sciences reaching out to the universe.
It will take more than a few days for me to gather my impressions. Yet the high speed rail systems are definitely more than a transport system. it is binding all China together whatever dialect they speak into a coherent whole. People travel all over China for better understanding of each other. I think it will act for China what Continental Rail and Interstate Highway System did for U.S.. It will act as an accelerator for modernity and minor problems like Uighur or Tibetan will fade away in a short time. I will try to give more context and details later.

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