Han Suyin's China-韩素音笔下的中国

巴士英语更新于2014-07-14 23:15  浏览  手机访问


Han Suyin's China


China: her size roughly that of Canada or the United States. Her population on billion on hundred million, 22 per cent of the planet's human beings.


China: very young, 60 per cent of the Chinese under 25 years of agold, millennia of accumulated and still potent history, pride of remembered greatness motivating her march towards the new technological era which is changing the world, and changing her.


China: her history not unitary, but made up of many histories; as she is made up of many different peoples, altogether 56 nations. Yet she is a oneness, coherent, whole. THE GREAT WITHIN.


There is a China of the plains, easily travelled, a tourist delight. Here are the wealthiest, the most advanced metropolises: Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Nanjing, Guangzhou...fertile alluvial lowlands which seem vast, yet are less than 15 per cent of her total territory. And China's arable, cultivable acres make up only seven per cent of the world's total acreage. On this she feeds almost a quarter of the world's people. A prodigious achievement!


This China of the plains stretches from Manchuria to Hong Kong; most of it lies eastwards, with easy access to the ocean. Here both urban and rural areas have greatly profited from the recent economic reforms. Most of the foreign investments, the special economic zones, the new industrial plants, are sited here. Here are the skills, the manpower, the markets, the communication network. Most of the universities are also here, and more than 80 per cent of the population. Prosperity is evident-over 60 per cent of new houses in the villages, over 20 per cent of families with television installed in the last ten years, large new apartment houses for urban dwellers, modem hotels...


But there is the other China, 85 per cent of the total surface of the land. This China is not easily visited, for communication is still a problem. It stretches in an immense bow fiom North to South, and in it live, besides the "typical" Chinese, who call themselves the Hans, fifty-odd other races or ethnic groups, called "national minorities". These hark back to China's very beginning. With them the Hans both warred and traded; co-existed, intermarried or ostracized, for nearly 5,000 years.


This other China has many mountain ranges, thousand kilometre long chains stretching from west to east dividing the land into enclosed plateaus and basins whose rivers never reach any sea. It has many deserts; more than a million square kilometres of deserts-almost 15 per cent of her total area of nine million six hundred thousand square kilometres. It has immense grasswlands and steppes, oases and salt lakes, jungles and troughs lower than the Dead Sea in Palestine.


This China we must know in order really to know China. It is this conglomerate of many nations, mosaic of peoples, languages and customs, whichshaped Chinese culture as we know it today and it is in developing and modernising this area that her future lies.


North, Northwest, Southwest...for administrative purposes, this other China, nearly seven million out of the nearly ten million square kilometres of theland, is conveniently divided into regions, each one holding several provinces. I have walked, ridden, jeeped, explored this China several times in the course of the last three decades. I have leamt the local names of mountains, rivers, deserts; for everything here has two names, the Han Chinese name, and the name (or names) given by the national minorities which inhabit the area.


Mountains: the majestic Altai, whence came thudding on thick-legged Mongol ponies so many nomad hordes. The Bogden or Heaven's mountain sitting in vast skirts of their own crumbled stone. From their slopes flow streams feeding the oases strung along the rim of inland deserts. The Kunlun and the Karakoram, the Pamir and the Himalayas-here Mount Everest is known as Chomolungma.


Deserts: the stone deserts of the Gobi and the Ordos, the Tanguli and the Kurban Tungu and the dreadful Taklamakan.


Plateaus and basins: Dzungaria and Tarim and Tsaidam, and the Roof of the World, the immense plateau of Tibet.