“Asian Review 056” ―Chinese Megacities part 5
Very Chinese Cities: Chengdu, Hangzhou, and Wuhan
We have explored Shanghai, Beijing and Shenzhen in a rush, and I would like to take a look at some other cities which are not like these megacities and are more Chinese.
Some people appoint Chengdu as the most Chinese city. It is the capital of Sichuan Province and was the capital of “Suhang” during the Three Kingdoms era. Under the blessings of a vast basin with rich soil, elegant and gentle time is passing even now. You can appreciate the “face-changing opera” in which a man changes shaded masks so many times at lightning speed. You can also enjoy the “Kungfu Tea” which pours tea into a teacup like an acrobat from a teapot with a long spout, all of which will make you feel the eternal time, just as saying: “Old man cannot leave Sichuan.”.
Hangzhou in Zhejiang Province, the capital of the Southern Song Dynasty, is also a city I would like to visit once. The West Lake, which spreads out in the center of the city, is filled with landscapes depicted in Chinese poems, such as the “Remaining Snow at the Dividing Bridge” and the “Autumn Moon at Plain Lake”. Among them, the arch bridge on the embankment built by Bai Juyi has an extremely Chinese-like curvaceousness. Moreover, you can find innumerable things like local dishes such as Dongpo Pork and Longjing tea which are very Chinese.
Lastly the city “Wuhan”. You might have known the city’s name by the recent reports for the first time, it is a famous castle with a history of 3800 years. In the Three Kingdoms period, one of the birthplaces of the Chu culture, the “Yellow Crane Tower”, written in the poems of Lee Bai, was built in Wuchang in 223 by Sun Gong. It is composed of three areas, Wuchang, Hanyang and Hankou, which surround the part where the Han River joins the Yangtze River, and the water surface occupies about one-quarter of the city area, as it is called the “Hundred Lake City”. The “Red Cliff” famous for the movie is located 100 km upstream from Wuhan. As the Yangtze River can carry large vessels in the river, a container port was built in Wuhan, about 900 km upstream from the estuary, and it grew as an industrial city, occupying an important position in the global supply chain.
The Coronavirus disease outbreak had started from Wuhan. And once again reminded us that China plays a major role in the Japanese and global economies. Despite different political regimes, international information sharing, especially on global risks, is essential. I hear that Japanese people sent masks to Wuhan early on, which has raised their favorable impressions, but on the other hand, soon after measures in their own country were effective, some of them have criticized Japan’s epidemic control system. We hope that Japan and China to maintain a win-win relationship as good neighbors in the Asian era. (The end of Chinese Megacities series)