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A Visit to Gansu for Chinese New Year – a Book Review


A Visit to Gansu Province for the Chinese New Year

In 2003 about sixty percent of China’s population still lived in rural areas. And of that population, about forty million still lived in the man-made cave dwellings known as yaodong.
Whereas life in the cities had changed radically, in the country change was slower and many old customs still existed – as the author of this book, Helen Wallimann, was to experience during her stay with a Chinese family in their farmhouse on the loess plateau of Gansu Province, northern China. ​

There, during the Chinese New Year holiday, she witnessed everyday family life, the busy market, weddings and preparations for weddings, and also various traditions connected with the New Year celebrations or the commemoration of the dead. She visited people in farmhouses and yaodongs, sat with them on the heated kang, ate with them; she watched women doing the cooking, spinning, sewing shoes, doing embroidery; she chatted with old ladies about foot-binding and their work in the fields, with young women about courtship and marriage. She talked with school teachers about schools, a long-distance truck-driver about his work, the local doctor about euros and Swiss francs. She met a government surveyor, a woman who ran a bus line, a man who sold clothes in Moscow…

For the full review can be found HERE.

An interview with the author can be viewed HERE.

An extract from the book can be read on pages 7 and 8 of the Spring 2020 issue of “China Eye” (the magazine of the Society for Anglo-Chinese Understanding – SACU, London) HERE.
This link also gives access to the quarterly magazine of SACU, full of high quality articles.
Perhaps of interest to some may be this article in the Summer 2020 bulletin:
Seeking the Truth from Facts The so-called Chinese ‘debt-trap’ and the case of Sri Lanka’s Hambantota port; Analysis by SACU VP Dr Jenny Clegg

It is interesting to note that recently elected president is Michael Wood, historian and broadcaster, including the BBC China History series.