Another long day in prospect. After eating a real hotel breakfast instead of the usual gruel and dry bread we set off at 8 am for the Great Wall of China. On the way I was again struck by the countryside. We have now travelled several hundred miles by train and coach through out the length and breadth of NE China and every square meter of ground has been neatly cultivated no matter how remote the region.
Gary told me that there has been a massive tree planting initiative throughout China for two reasons, firstly to stabilise the soil in sandy areas and secondly to improve air quality. They are very aware of the pollution caused by industrialisation and this is one of the ways they are tackling the problem. They are also replacing power stations with hydro-electric power which is now accounts for 35% of their needs.
During the Cultural Revolution families were allocated small plots of land which they still farm to this day. These plots are only large enough to feed a family but are not large enough to bring in an income, resulting in it being mainly the old folk who tend the land, while the younger generations work in the city or go into the Army.
Gary says this will change but the government is deliberately taking time so that they whole economic structure isn’t put into an upheaval. Evolution, not revolution.
The Great Wall is what you would expect – great. I walked the Great Wall of China (albeit a small part) – wow, wow, wow. We then went to visit the Ming Tombs – wow, wow, wow. One bucket list sight after another. This part of the trip has been absolutely amazing.
Ambrose Bierce - "Politics, n. Strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles."
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