Today, we spent the whole day at Guilin’s Qixing Gongyuan (Seven Star Park). Former U.S. President Bill Clinton visited this park and gave a speech on environmentalism there. Guilin is a Tier 2 city in southwestern China where growth is primarily driven by tourism. Locals and tourists from other parts of China frequent the park. In this post, I will be showing their faces.
The three year-old girl in the photo below left a very strong impression on me. Her parents operate some rides in the kid area of the park. All the workers in that area know and take turns watching her with her parents. She spends her Saturdays there enjoying kid rides for free.
Continue reading Faces of Guilin
Times certainly are changing. As hundreds of millions Chinese travel for family reunion, increasing number are taking the time to go abroad and indulge themselves.
Chinese tourists have gone on shopping sprees to Japan and then Taiwan in recent years, since US visa is notoriously difficult to obtain (Chinese applicants are denial-based.) Now, it seems US is relaxing tourist visa rule to draw Chinese shoppers to America:
Continue reading Chinese Shoppers Spend New Year’s In America
I don’t really know what to say about this. So, I’ll just jump right to the pictures:
In 2002, this rock formation was found in Pintang county, in Guizhou province. This rock face is apparently one half of a larger boulder that split about 500 years ago. The local government began to insist that the formation, itself approximately 270 million years old, reads “Chinese Communist Party” (中国共产党). If you believe local press reports, local villagers have started calling the stone the “Savior’s Stone” (救星石). Conveniently, it has become a tourist destination in Guizhou province. (See promotional video.)
Ironically, it’s not the Communist Party or the mainland press that focuses on the “savior stone” these days. Even though Guizhou, also the site of the recent Weng’an riots, is one of the poorest, most backward regions in China… I think the mainland public is way too sophisticated for this kind of nonsense.
Instead, it’s the Falun Gong that finds the topic most interesting. Why? Because with completely seriousness, it insists the rock formation actually has another character to the right: “dies” (亡). See FLG-produced video for the full, comical story.
Ever since China flung open its doors in 1978, many Chinese have wanted to visit the United States. There’s a great deal of fascination with the world’s greatest superpower. But unfortunately, the door has almost always been closed. Initially by tight Chinese standards that restricted who could have access to a passport, but over the past decade, by tight American visa standards.
This issue has been discussed before (Washington Post article, 2006), although not many in the West are fully aware how difficult the visa issue has been in years past. The only Chinese who’ve entered the United States in the last two decades have been here to study, work, or to visit family. And even in these cases, after presenting an entire library of supporting documents to an often hostile consulate officer, a significant percentage (majority?) are denied visas for no obvious reason. It’s ironic to me that even as the United States government funds dissident groups in China in an attempt to spread the word on democracy, it keeps out hundreds of thousands of average Chinese willing to pay for the privilege of visiting.
But China’s economic growth has finally led to a change. Starting this fall, Chinese tourists will be given the opportunity to visit in groups. Chinese tourists will still have to appear at consulates for a face-to-face interview, but the indication is that visas will now be granted to the vast majority of qualified applicants.
Below is an article (文章) with a few early details:
Continue reading America opens its doors, slightly, to Chinese tourists