Wandering China

An East/West pulse of China's fourth rise from down under.

Wandering China Day 4: Shenzhen


Advertising on the Shenzhen metro for the 2011 Shenzhen Universiade – it reads, walking hand in hand with the big games. Along with such signs were ubiquitous reminders of courtesy and being civil at all times to project the best image possible.

Shenzhen (深圳) the first of China’s Special Economic Zones quite literally means “deep drains” as the place was once notably crossed with rivers and streams, accented by deep drains within the paddy fields. Twin cities with Houston of the U.S., Johor Bahru of Malaysia and Brisbane of Australia, the SEZ was formally established in 1979 with close proximity to Hong Kong as a major consideration as an experiment for modern China – market capitalism guided by socialism with Chinese characteristics. So yes, in a great way, China is what it is today because Shenzhen first led the way.

Personally, it has not been a bad run over a span of just four days getting to know Southern China better. A little bit of Hong Kong, Macau, Guangzhou and now Shenzhen has given me a wider latitude to inform my imagination of China.

Shenzhen will be hosting the 26th Summer Universiade on 12 August 2011. Currently it is constructing the sports venues for its first major sporting event in the city. The Beijing Olympics in 2008, Guangzhou Asian Games in 2010 and now the Shenzhen Universiade in 2011, it looks like China’s ramping up its use of sporting events for public diplomacy and media mileage.

Signage outside the Folk Culture Village – it reads, to understand China, one starts here.

Of most significance was the visit to the Shenzhen China Folk Culture Village (深圳中国民俗文化村) – a microcosm of China’s 55+1 official ethnicities ; the opportunity to see, hear, and interact with the centre and peripheries of the Chinese ethnic ecology was priceless. If anything, it inspires a desire to gain the primacy of further first-hand experience; to expand the visits to China beyond the East Coast and really see for myself how the semantic limitation of the single word China is scarcely enough to represent such a multitude of clan conditions and customs.

To date in the past year: I have visited the cities of Chaozhou, Hangzhou, Shanghai, Beijing, Suzhou, Guangzhou, Shenzhen along with the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong, Macau. More of China to come.

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Filed under: Back to China, Beijing Consensus, Bob's Opinion, Shenzhen Universiade 2011

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