A Journey to China - Old River/New China

"Rivers are at the heart of China's deepest history, and at the cutting edge of its modern reemergence as a world power. The Yangtze with its attendant watershed and hinterland forms one of the basic geomorphic and cultural regions of China. The great river and its tributaries link together a massive region of the country into a largely cohesive political and cultural block, along whose length people perceive their shared bond to the ebbs and flows of an uncontrollable force, equally generous and malicious in its gifts.

Historically, China's past has been inextricably linked to its waterways. Early Western historians of China tried to explain the rise and fall of imperial dynasties according to the conditions of the dams, dikes, and canals that the empire maintained to control floods, irrigate fields, and circulate goods and taxes. Nor were Western historians alone in conceiving a link between the taming of the rivers and China's fortunes. China's own flood myth tells the tale not of devastation unleashed by massive floods, but rather emphasizes the ingenuity of a legendary emperor who built the first dams and harnessed the rivers to the will of the people.
Today as well as in the past, the Yangtze, and control of it, is central to China's vision of its destiny. The Three Gorges Dam is a testament of human will and folly to harness the great river. It is a logical extension of the same patient determination that built the Great Wall and the Grand Canal.
More than just a source of mechanical, economic, and political power, the Yangtze has also been a well-spring of inspiration to generations of painters and poets who have tried to capture its essence in their art. Deep gorges, mist-capped peaks, and sleepy villages that line the river's banks, recorded in landscape paintings or poetic imagery, may seem mythic and imaginary to the Western eye, but their true forms unfold along the Yangtze's bends and curves." (Ryan Bradeen)

Looking for new content/ideas...

The purpose of this website is to collect content about China to use in the classroom or for other educational purposes. If you have pictures, videos, articles that would be useful in this nature, please share them via email.


Note: This is not an official NCTA website. I am only interested in providing a venue for educators to share information about China. It is a way to continue the 2006 study tour from home.