May 8, 2009

China's Untold Story 1 -- Abandoned cities

China is projected as the global model of growth. Every developing country wants to be part of the Chinese economic boom. India goes a step further, it wants to emulate the Chinese model. Such has been the media blitz about the extraordinary developments that have taken place in China that most educated people believe in it. The glitter and glamour of Shinghai being too strong to even ask an uncomfortable question. Behind the unprecedented growth is hidden a sordid story of environmental destruction with tremendous socio-economic and political implications.

The more I read about China's stupendous growth, the more I am reminded of the book Collapse by Jared Diamond. If you haven't read it, pick up your copy at the next given opportunity.

Anyway, I am so glad that The Pulitzer Centre for Crisis Reporting has done an excellent series on China's Growing Sands. The first part of the series below is from Sean Gallaghar, a photographer. In the days to come, I will try to reproduce the series on this blog with due credits to the Pulitzer Centre for Crisis Reporting. It opens up our eyes to the devastation taking place in China. These reports are from the other side, and bring you the untold stories.

I hope this series will change your perception about growth economics, and will make you sit back and think. Are we being led on a garden path? Do we even know where are we heading towards? Do we want our cities to collapse, and the countryside to trun into a desert? Well, the decision wrests with you. You can't be a Pappu anymore. If you can come out and vote, you too can raise your voice and make a difference in the national thinking. Pick up your pen and write. Stand up and ask the right question. Don't hesitate to ask even if you think it may be politically incorrect to say so.

China's Abandoned cities  

By Sean Gallagher, for the Pulitzer Center

Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. Human remains scatter the floor in the abandoned city of Yinpan. A result of a combination of natural erosion revealing graves and disturbance by grave robbers.

It is estimated that nearly 40 cities have been abandoned as a result of desertification in Northwest China in the past 2000 years. The old city of Yinpan, which lies approximately 300km east of the modern city of Korla in China’s western Xinjiang province, is one of those cities. Lying on the fringes of China’s most formidable desert, the Taklamakan, its location is one of the harshest and most remote in all of China.

Approximately 2000 years ago, the city of Yinpan was a successful, thriving and eclectic city. Welcoming travelers from across Asia, plying the legendary Silk Road, the city was populated by a diverse mix of ethnic groups originating from the now-known Middle East, Mongolia and Western China. The city’s exact beginnings are unclear, but what is known, is that nature and man inadvertently conspired to fuel the city’s rapid demise some 1500 years ago.

To continue reading the report, click on

1 comment:

nitesh said...

An Interesting post. I think no one expresses it visually more efficent in this world than the films of Jia Zhangke. So I do recommend people to watch his films to seriously understand this a lot more.