Sunday, 21 March 2010

Chinese cities you may not have heard of

Mark’s China Blog is one of the best China blogs around. Mark used to live in Xi’an until late last year when he returned back to his native US. He continues to write on China – his posts are meticulously researched , very interesting and has a very balanced perspective on this fascinating country.

He’s currently writing a series called – Chinese cities you’ve never heard of, but should know. It’s a brilliant series and this Sunday post is just a link to his blog. I am willing to bet that non Chinese readers of this blog would not have heard of these cities and this series is a fascinating peep into urban China. For Chinese readers of this blog, it is worth your while to dodge the jindun gongcheng and reach there - you will find a Sinophile’s perspective on your cities interesting. Either way it’s a wonderful read.

Happy reading !


  1. very nice of you to have linked us on this blog. thanks to the great mind wall of India, many people like me have been seeing the west as the only existing world. the east never finds any space. both the cities were a good read and would look forward to more.

  2. Was a wonderful read indeed!

  3. I have my own candidate for "Chinese Cities no one has heard of" : Zibo. Zibo is in Shandong Province, about three hours by road from Jinan, the provincial capital. Zibo is home to a large ceramics industry, and is full of the most hospitable people on the planet. I was a guest of that city in 1992-93, and visited until 1995. I stayed at the Foreigner Hotel where you paid in FEC and enjoyed comforts such as BBC World Service and CNN on Television.

    Zibo is very close to Yatou, a little hamlet (well that is what it was in 1992). Yatou is famous because in the 60s, a large burial site was discovered for warhorses. Apparently, in the time of the Qi dynasty in 770BC or thereabouts, one of the emperors killed and buried a large number of horses as a sacrifice. The horses were first fed alcohol, and then their skulls smashed. Imperial folly, anyone? Zibo was the capital of the Qi dynasty and is a city of great antiquity.

    You could reach Zibo by the No 26 Beijing Qingdao Express, or by air from Jinan. Being quite luxuriantly bearded at that time, my arrival in Jinan was always a pleasure. I would be surrounded by cabbies, all of them admiring my beard and calling me "Ta Hu de" - the hairy one - and drawing positive inferences on my general manly nature. Such an ego boost. Then they would drive me to Zibo. If I did not have enough FEC, fine. Where was I going to go? They all knew what I looked like.

    Memorable trips out of Zibo were to th birthplace of Confucius, and of course to Qingdao. I still tell people of a memorable evening, sitting in a bar, drinking fresh Qingdao beer brewed from waters of the Lao Shan mountains, and eating freshly steamed scallops.

  4. @Sandhya - Ues we a;ll have learnt little of China. Its a fascinating place with a great history.

    @ambulisamma - Glad you like it. There's more to come there ; you may want to keep checking out

    @Ravi - Oh yes ; thought you would right about Zibo. China of that time must have been very very different - you should come back to those parts now.

  5. Ramesh, thank you for this post!

    I've told you before, but I'll say it again, I really appreciate the balanced perspective you approach things with. You have a very clear writing style and method of thinking. It means a lot to me that you have linked up to my article!

    @Ravi Rajagopalan - Thanks for the suggestion on Zibo! I have a friend who spent a little bit of time there. I don't know a lot about it though. You've done a great job of introducing the city. I may just have to post about it!

  6. kiwibloke22/3/10

    Perhaps any takers for a blog titled, "Indian cities you are glad you never heard of"? This is the difference between India and China - apathy, lack of governance and/or vision, no basic sense of town planning

  7. @Mark - Thanks for the kind words Mark.

    @kiwi - Ha Ha ; how about a kiwi city that sheep are glad to have heard of :)

  8. kiwibloke22/3/10

    Ha, Ha! There are no cities in NZ. Auckland with 1.3M is an urban agglomeration, a bit larger than Greater Mumbai, WLG, CCH are just knocking 350K mark and pretending to be cities. Rest of the pretenders (Hamilton, Napier/Hastings, Palmy, Tauranga, Dunedin) are sub 150K! I remember an occassion when the three of us visited Fox Glacier and increased its population of 300 by 1%. Imagine what one family can do to increase the population of some of these "towns"

  9. @kiwi - Ha Ha - I know you are a very important guy, but I didn't know you could change country statistics on your own :)

  10. Very nice reads, Ramesh, very nice of you to post the link... They indeed tell about cities that I have never heard of.

    Special thanks to Mark also for writing such beautifully researched posts!

  11. @Vishal Yes Vishal. Mark writes a lovely blog. Once in a while drop in there - its a great route to be informed about China in a very interesting way.

  12. Thanks for the link Ramesh! I love seeing new places. Maybe, its the travel bug from being an Army kid. I am flirting with the idea of writing about the places I have lived in, after reading this one. I am ready to be charged for plagiarism, but the idea is beautifully tempting.

  13. @Deepa - Yes you are a wanderer at heart. Please do write - it would make a lovely read. Please .....


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