Approximately one of every fifteen people on earth lives in the watershed of the Yangtze. At moments, Abdulaziz felt as if each of these four hundred and fifty million individuals were interfacing with the river in a completely different way. “There’s no agreed format,” he told me. “With the Ganges, there was a commonality, with the spiritual aspect of how people interact with the river. In China, I didn’t feel that. It’s trading. People are trading on some aspect of the river.” In Abdulaziz’s images, there are fishermen and poachers, conservationists and polluters, huge transport ships and tiny sampans as slender and slight as river reeds. There are shots taken from the steel decks of luxury liners, where tourists stand with their heads cocked at angles of forty-five degrees. “The people aren’t looking at the Yangtze,” Abdulaziz said. “They’re looking up, not down. They’re not really experiencing the river.”
After yesterday’s post about the China History Podcast, I decided to do some more posts about Chinese history this week.
Unless you’re a Chinese or World War II history buff, you may not know that the US military had a fairly robust presence in China during the War. The famous “Flying Tigers” had bases and personnel in several cities in SW China, including Kunming and Chengdu.
This article from Business Insider features a number of photos that were taken by US servicemen in China. They provide an interesting glimpse of what the country looked like in the late 1940’s.
A description from the article:
“In 1941 before the United States entered World War II, 300 young Americans were secretly trained to combat the Japanese Air Force in China. The American Volunteer Group of the Chinese Airforce, nicknamed the Flying Tigers, was comprised of pilots drawn from the U.S. Army, Navy, and Marine Corps.
In the days after Pearl Harbor, the group went on to capture the public imagination in both China and the United States with their daring tactics and distinctive airplanes painted with shark teeth.
Members of the squadron (most prominently, William L. Dibble and H. Allen Larsen) took a huge collection of color photographs that depict the nation adopting new urban and modern modes of living along with the rural practices of the past.”