Entry 8:ChangZhou in the Chinese history
Trip Start Mar 18, 2010
25Trip End Aug 24, 2010
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I remember my parents and grandparents telling me that when they were young they had to bring money at school to help "les p'tits Chinois", as the teachers were saying them. I think that is the reason why, in the mind of most Westerners, Chinese people are all poor; without houses, without food, etc. Well, for sure there are many poor people in China, as everywhere around the world. Moreover, as the Chinese population is bigger, the "poor population" is also more important. This phenomea is situated mostly in the North part because it is where the climatic conditions are the worse; no one that can afford a house somewhere else want to stay there, and it is also harder for the agricultural aspect. However, there are really rich people in China, and even richer than Westerners
ChangZhou, for example, nowadays, is a well-developed and prosper city. There are many industries and people are mostly among the middle and higher economic classes. And it has always been… During the last eight weeks, I visited a few places in ChangZhou and, that way, I learned a bit about its history. At first, ChangZhou was a city where agriculture was really prospered because of the rich soil and the proximity of rivers. That even from the pre-historical period (handycraft and ruines have been found). Many centuries later, leaders and socialy important people from Beijing discovered it and came to settle with their families and also industries. ChangZhou then started its industrial development, meanwhile developing its agricultural power. During the Qing dynasty, ChangZhou was one of the most important place where important and rich people came to settle. The city was also known for its good education system and many well-known artists (painters, writers, etc.) immerged from one of the city's school. Then, when the canals system was built, ChangZhou, nearby, was one of the city that could take advantage of it; that is how the development kept going. And it was not the end... Effectivly, with the foreign industries coming, the industrial expansion still exist and the international relations are starting. In fact, a few years ago, there was not even one foreigner in ChangZhou; these days, the dozen foreigners living in the city is an "attraction" for the local population
In brief, ChangZhou has been an important city in the past because of its geography and its continual development and it is still growing nowadays. Furthermore, of course there are poor Chinese people, as in every country, but there is also a part of the population that is REALLY rich and with the time, a geographical division has been created between the rich and the poor. Coming in China made me realize this. Because we are always told that Chinese people are really poor, and it is true for a part of the population, we always forget that there are also rich people. But I didn't think that rich! Now, I know that, in China, there still a big part of the population that is has rich as we are in Quebec, but also a quite amount of people that are impresivly rich!
Picture: On the following http://changzhou.edushi.com/ you can find a 3D map of the city and see how much high buildings there are. On the other map, on the right side you can see Nanjing and Shanghai, well Changzhou is between them (nearer than Nanjing). You can also see that the sea and important affluents are near, but there are also many artificial and natural smaller ones all around and in the city.