Category Archives: History

What it is…and isn’t…safe to talk about

When I was teaching in the spring of 2008, the countdown to the Olympics was interrupted by massive protests in Tibet. Naturally, the world divided up along the usual lines: westerners hung on the Dalai Lama’s every word and fumed … Continue reading

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Industrial Tourism

One of my favorite parts of working in China as an industry researcher was getting to go to cities that most people – tourists in particular – avoid like the plague. These cities are not famous for their history (usually), … Continue reading

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The Other Silk Road

This is the first of several entries about one of the most interesting off-the-beaten path places I visited in China – the old Tea and Horse Caravan Trail town of Shaxi. Everyone knows about the old Silk Road(s) which passed … Continue reading

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Home for the Barbarians

Ever since the Ming Dynasty agreed to permit oceanic trade with the West on limited terms at Canton (today’s Guangzhou), foreign adventurers and traders called upon the Chinese coast. The evidence of their heyday can still be seen on the … Continue reading

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Rammed Earth Lasts Longer

During the Cold War US Spy Satellites trained their electronic eyes on China – as they did just about everywhere else. In the mountains of Fujian they snapped images of massive round structures deep in hidden valleys. Alarmed these could … Continue reading

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Off the Beaten Path in China

We all know about the most famous – and justifiably so – sites across China: the Forbidden City, the Terracotta Warriors and Horses, the Shanghai Bund. Indeed their fame is such that a wide variety of travel packages attempt to … Continue reading

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