“China’s Wuhan shuts down transport as global alarm mounts over virus spread”
Reuters, Jan. 21, 2020
Wuhan (武漢), capital of Hubei Province, used to have a much different reputation than it does currently. A little-known city on the Yangtze, Wuhan is now solidly branded globally as the “epicenter of the coronavirus.” On Jan. 22, the Chinese government put a real damper on the upcoming Lunar New Year festivities: it suspended all transport out of Wuhan, population 11 million, as a measure to contain the spread of the virus. Hotels and tourist attractions have been told by the government to suspend large-scale new year activities. Wuhan residents have been asked “not to leave the city.”
In another time, back in the days at the height of the construction of the Three Gorges Dam, Yangtze River tours inevitably originated from or ended in Wuhan. Situated on the confluence of the Han River and the Yangtze, this metropolis was consolidated from three districts in 1927: Wuchang, Hankou and Hanyang. Its name actually is a combination of “Wu” from Wuchang and “Han” from the other two districts.
The city is known for its national historical and cultural sites. It has more than 339 scenic spots and historical sites, 103 revolutionary commemoration places, 13 national key cultural relics protection units, 156 provincial and municipal key cultural relics protection units. Famous landmark architecture includes the Wuhan Yangtze River Bridge, Yuefei Pavilion and the Yellow Crane Tower.
But to history buffs, Wuhan is famous for something much bigger! The metropolis has a 3,500-year-long history. During the Taiping Rebellion (1850-1864), the Wuhan area had been under the control of rebel forces for many years. When the Qing Dynasty lost the second Opium War (1856-1860), they had to sign the Treaties of Tianjin and the Convention of Peking, which stipulated 11 cities or regions as trading ports. Hankou was one of them. (Hankou had been a fairly busy trading port even during the Han Dynasty.)
By 1900, Hankou had flourished. Secret societies against the Qing Dynasty were active in Wuhan. Eleven years later, October 1911, Sun Yat-sen’s followers launched the Wuchang Uprising that eventually led to the demise of the Qing Dynasty and the founding of the Chinese Republic.
Wuhan became the capital of the left wing of the Kuomintang, in opposition to the faction led by Chiang Kai-shek. When Nanking fell during the second Sino-Japanese War in December 1937, Wuhan became the provisional capital of the Kuomintang. It came under Japanese occupation by 1938 and the major Japanese logistics center for Japanese operations in southern China. As a result, it came under heavy attack in December 1944 – bombs dropped from 77 U.S. bombers set off a firestorm and destroyed much of the city.
Not only has Wuhan overcome all the conflicts and battles, it has grown into an important trade, finance, transportation and information technology center. It has foreign investments from 80 countries and includes engineering, materials and environmental protection industries. Former U.K Prime Minister Teresa May visited the city and some of its well-known tourist attractions in 2018.
According to The Lonely Plant, Qingdao, also known as Tsingtao (青島), is “a breath of fresh (ocean) air.”
Situated on the east coast of China’s Shangdong Province, it is a rare modern city that has managed to preserve its past. Its deepwater harbor and proximity to Korea and Japan made it the target of unwelcome foreign interests during the Boxer Rebellion and forced to be conceded to Germany in 1989, during which the Germans improved the city’s infrastructure and also left behind the famous Tsingtao Brewery. After the brief German occupation, the Japanese moved in in 1914.
After World War II the Kuomintang allowed Qingdao to serve as the headquarters of the Western Pacific Fleet of the U.S. Navy in 1945. When China opened up in the 1980s, western Qingdao quickly bloomed as a port city.
By Greg Hugh
Some might consider Chinese tourism to be the biggest phenomenon to hit the global travel industry since the invention of commercial flight. The UN World Tourism Organization estimated that by 2015, 100 million Chinese will pack their bags to travel abroad. In 2012, Chinese overtook Americans and Germans as the world’s top international tourism spenders, with 83 million spending a record US$102 billion on international tourism.
This remarkable growth — largely due to relaxed government restrictions on foreign travel and the rise of a Chinese middle class with disposable income — has forced the international travel industry, from hotels to restaurants to shopping centers, to adapt to the influx of Chinese tourists. This phenomenal growth unfortunately has resulted in controversy as to how Chinese tourist behave as they travel the world, and prompted Beijing in 2013 to issue a handy 64-page rulebook aimed at curbing the unruly behavior of Chinese tourists abroad that has resulted in an “uncivilized” stereotype.
Hiking through a Chinese landscape painting
By Linda Mealey-Lohmann, vice president, US-China Peoples Friendship Association of Minnesota
It was a beautiful day (in September 2013) to embark on a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Yellow Mountain (Huangshan 黄山), a UNESCO world heritage site in Anhui Province, China, west of Shanghai. We took the tram from the bottom of the mountain to nearly its top, where we were told we would have to hike the rest of the way to our hotel. So, with our overnight bags slung across our shoulders, we hiked along a well-defined path while taking in the breath-taking beauty of the jutting granite peaks and the ancient Huangshan Pines. The sky was blue and we could see for miles. It was a perfect day for this US-China Peoples Friendship Association tour group of eight travelers who had traveled from all over the U.S. to come together at this spot.