It's ironic that the Mainland demands only
patriots may rule in Hong Kong and Taiwan – patriots meaning real Chinese
and not bastardized versions corrupted by Western interference; Chinese who
support the Party.
5000 years of culture is a term used often here to describe the confusion
that often arises when West meets East on the Mainland, but 50 years of destruction
is a term not often heard.
The damage done to Han culture, the culture supposedly representing the vast
majority of Mainland Chinese over the past few decades is immeasurable. Tourists
coming to China have to seek out the villages of the Yi, Qiang, Bai, Naxi
and Dong minorities
to get a glimpse of what China was before the Party and its excesses did best
to erase those 5000 years.
Or they can go to Hong Kong and Taiwan, where the old written language and
Chinese Buddhist rites Wu Shu and Feng Shui are alive and prospering.
In these renegade tracts of the Motherland, the poets, monks and masters
escaped the fates of their Mainland compatriots who, in the 60s and 70s, were
crushed under the heels of Red Guard Zealots and now, in the modern era, are
reduced to sagging shambles awaiting the wrecking ball.
Kill All the Hutongs
of Beijing's hutongs
has been slow and painful, with forced relocations laced with greed driving
the process. The Seaboard cities have exported their lust for mega-plexes
to the western cities, with huge real estate conglomerates WanDa
and YiDa from Dalian leading the way.
WanDa specializes in huge department store buildings and housing complexes
– they just signed a huge contract
with Warner Bros. to introduce massive cinemas to Chinese audiences.
YiDa is launching a campaign to gain the rights to promote 21st
Century's real estate practices throughout China – they started last year
in Chengdu http://www.c21chengdu.com.cn,
and now they are looking to expand. YiDa's marketing manager, Owen Chen, says
his company realizes the need for culture in a modern society – he outlined
the Group's plans to build a complex of buildings fusing IT and Taoism in
the Taoist QingCheng Mountains north of Chengdu.
"We must leave something for our children," he said. "These cement boxes
just don't cut it."
But Old Chengdu is virtually dead. The last remnants
of what once a cultural capital are locked in a battle for their lives with
the local government, who is more interested in a candy-coated refurbishing
of the area than in the 1000 years of culture and history the neighborhood
represents. And while the old city is under siege and rampant construction
and development turns the city's waterways into cesspools, the Chengdu Government
around in dreamland.
The old parts of any large city in China are going or gone. Hong Kong's super-modern
skyline draws visitors away from the islands and New Territories were the
modern and the ancient co-exist and Han culture is visible.
If one were to take photos of the skylines of Shenzhen,
Taiyuan and Chengdu, there would be no discernible difference. And there would
be no old city to offset the sterility.
Where Are All the Kung Fu Masters?
Wu Shu on the mainland is in a dismal state.
All the great masters left for Hong Kong and abroad during the war on ancient
China waged by the Communist Party. Now, if one wants to study classical styles,
Australia and the US
offer better schools for common students than China proper.
On the Mainland, Wu Shu has degenerated into crude fighting styles used by
soldiers and cops to beat down migrant workers when they fail to produce legal
documents. The few masters that do exist live off of the money their students
make as security guards. Traditional Wu Shu was always a guarded secret in
China, and now that secret is going to the grave with the old masters due
to a lack of students.
In remote towns like Hanyuan, tourist towns like Dali
in Yunnan and the glorified Shaolin Temples, masters are still to be found
– and a revival is happening, but if it were not for those anti-government
traitors who fled the Mainland in 1949, classical Chinese Wu Shu would have
all but disappeared.
Business First, Culture Later
The lust for riches is strong in China. Every
endeavor is met with a pragmatic, "does it pay the rent?"
Musicians in Chongqing, a city with migrant workers swarming all over the
buildings and bridges, speak reverently of making a difference and bringing
meaning to the music the Mainland produces now. They scoff at Wang
Fei, Liu De Hua, Zhang
Bo Zhi and other Chinese pop stars that are adored by the masses.
A huge market has popped up for burned CDs from anywhere but China – French
trance, English disco, Dub, Indian break-beat – anything to feed the appetites
of the musicians here. But every one of these artists engages in CD swapping
in their free-time – most days are spent producing "Business Music" to stay
Fu Qiang, a music aficionado who owns hundreds of CDs – just began a business
selling CDs with accompanying videos to the discos and bars of Chongqing and
Chengdu. But the CDs he sells through his business are remixed dance tracks
from the discos of the 1980s in London.
"This music is all crap, but they love it in the discos and I need to eat."
Beijing's "patriots" would aim to crush the spirit of Hong Kong and Taiwan,
just as the Red Bandits tried to crush 5000 years of culture on the Mainland.