Dr. Sun Yat-sen

Dr. Sun Yat-sen was a Chinese patriot who led the revolution against the Qing monarchy.  He led uprisings for nearly twenty years before they suceeded in 1911.  The Chinese revere Dr. Sun, teaching that it is his principles, such as, “The rights belong to the people”, that underlie the governance of their country today.

I first became aware of Dr. Sun Yat-sen from a U. S. Postage sramp issued in 1966 to commemorate his birth.  That stamp named him as the first President of the Republic of China. At that time, the U. S. was opposed to, and did not recognize the government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC).  The U.S. recognized the Republic of China (ROC) on the island of Taiwan.

Dr. Sun organized a military academy to train officers for an army to fight the Japanese who had invaded China.  Among those cadets where Chaing Kai-shek, Chou Enlai, and Mao Zedong.  In 1922 Chaing forced Dr. Sun from office as President of the ROC and leader of the Koumintang (KMT).  Mao and Chou had formed a Communist Party in China.  The people of China were now split in their politics, and in their opposition to the Japanese.

The U.S. chose to support Chaing rather than the Communists in opposing the Japanese.  It is yet today difficult to support both factions against a common foe.

High-speed Railway Lines

We rode the high-speed railway from Shanghai to Nanjing on Monday. It was great. We arrived at the train station at 1230, bought tickets for the first train to arrive at our destination (the Nanjing South Railway Station) by 1245, ate some lunch, went thru security at 1345, the train opened for boarding at 1400, left at 1405 with 1200 people on board with their luggage. 

The train travelled the 250km (155 mi) in abour 1:20 hr. The ride was so smooth that you could have set afull glass of water on the table in front of you, not a single drop would have sloshed out. They achieve this smoothness by constructing the roadbed upon an elevated, concrete platform, complete with ballast and ties. Kind of like building atop an elevared expressway.

Elevating the road means having no grade crossings. They have also devoted the tracks to high–speed rail, with a track for each direction. The road elevation of the road affords the passengers of a wonderful view of the landscape as they pass through.  The seats are wide, the aisle wider, and there is enough leg room for one passenger to leave their row without requiring the other passengers to also stand.

After returning to Shanghai to join our cruise group on Wednsday, we rode by bus to Nanjing on Friday. The contrast with the train could not be more clear.  Despite making 2 rest stops, and stopping to tour Suzhou the total driving time was 6 hours, and we werre quite fatigued.

Tomb of The Marquis of Zeng

In Wuhan, at the Hubei Provinicial Museum, is one of the best museum exhibits that I have ever seen.  On display are artifacts excavated from the tomb of rhe Marquis of Zeng.  These artifacts, buried with this nobleman, tell a rather detailed story of life in feudal China in 400 BCE.

There were concubines, musical instruments, wine refrigerators, and weapons.  The Marquis lived a life of privilege, power, and peril. His concubines were treated as his possessions rather than as people.

People vs collectives

My first impression of the “People’s Republic of China” is of  a nation of business people. People to guide you, taxi drivers, restaurant owners, photographers, and more and more.  Small, independent business men.  They are augmented by the corporations; banks, phone companies, hotels, pharmaceutical companies, and on and on.  The corporate bodies and the entrepreneurs are augmented by the government; the police, the highway and sewer departments, the transit departments, and the hospital and health care workers. In other words, not so different from the US.

But what of the Communist Party? From what I see nothing.  From what I have read, as powerfully manipulative as the largest lobbiests in the United States.  The Party maintains it’s strength through the ruthless imposition of it’ s rules to govern each individual, the corpoation through buying votes for it’s favored policies.  Who is to say that either the Communist Party or the coporate plutocracy does not have the best interests of the governed at heart?