A Challenge for Two Old Cities

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This video program features two case studies about cities on the periphery of China: Lanzhou: Confluence of Cultures and Shenyang: Hope for China's Rust Belt?

Lanzhou and Shenyang are removed from the heartland of Han China by distance and a variety of geographical barriers. For Lanzhou, the steppes, plateaus, and mountains of central and western China are barriers, while for Shenyang it is the Yellow Sea and the broken edge of the Mongolian Plateau.

Scenes in the first case study, Lanzhou: Confluence of Cultures, illustrate the physical geography of the region, the limits placed on agriculture due to climate and soil, and the historic roots for the mixing of different cultures and their influence on modern society. Updates to this program include a wealth of maps illustrating the physical barriers to development, and the location of minority peoples, and commentary by Dr. Dru Gladney.

The second case study, Shenyang: Hope for China's Rust Belt?, explores the process of industrialization and its decline and revitalization by examining the roles of colonialism, central planning, and relative location factors. Updates to this case study include new information on recent government reforms, their effects on the labor force and the factory profiled in the original case study, and commentary by Dr. Clif Pannell.

The two cities are in regions of China that have been repeatedly overrun by foreign invaders. These temporary rulers left their traces in the cultural mosaic of the population and on the landscape. The diversity left behind in this region is unique in China, a country where tradition and family ties are deep and have led to the largely homogeneous Han culture.

Find additional resources, including primary source materials, interactives, and downloadable print materials, at: http://www.learner.org/series/powerofplace/page11.html

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