With over 1.3 billion citizens and a land mass barely
larger than the USA, it would be easy to think China
is just crammed with people, but as Globe Trekker's
Ultimate China shows, this is a land of incredible diversity.
Megan McCormick starts out in the old capital, Xianyang,
which was established over 2000 years ago and is the
home of Emperor Qin's huge mausoleum with its army of
terracotta warriors. On a brief journey through the
history of the nation, Megan McCormick, Justine Shapiro
and Zay Harding visit the forbidden city of Beijing
and the centuries of Imperial reign. During these centuries,
we find that China led the world in arts and sciences
and became rich selling silk, porcelain and tea along
the silk route and from ports such as Quanzhou. But
the Imperial era was brought to an end by the Opium
wars with Britain and the series of revolutions that
followed, culminating in the communist revolution under
Mao Zedong. Justine meets a teacher who experienced
Mao's oppression in the cultural revolution and Zay
talks to one of the original "long marchers"
who fought beside Mao against Chiang Kai Shek's Nationalist
Now in the years after Chairman Mao, China is beginning
to open up, becoming a major trading nation again. Megan
finds shopping heaven in Shenzhen and
Shanghai and goes to the races in Hong
Kong. Zay meets a Chinese Canadian who has
decided to come back to China to live.
As China begins to open up, religion and traditional
practices and philosophies are returning. We visit stunning
Buddhist and Taoist temples, mosques and churches and
see a stunning festival to the Goddess of the sea, Mazu.
Megan tries Tai chi and a traditional massage, Zay has
his skin cleaned by nibbling fish and foot-scraping
therapists, and Justine undergoes acupuncture and has
a bonfire lit on her belly! They also experience the
vast range of Chinese cuisine, from delicious dim sum
to scorpion's on a stick.
China seems to be modernizing at an incredible place,
but many millions of Chinese still live peasant lifestyles.
Away from the cities, Justine visits the beautiful Miao
people of the south west and sees the swinging festival
of the Akka people. Zay sees the extraordinary
Tolou mud homes of the Hakka people
of Fujian. And between them all they
see that China has stunning rural landscapes, ranging
from jagged mountains to vast deserts. In the midst
of that, Chinese ingenuity is everywhere, from elevators
up mountains, to the Great Wall of China
and, most recently and dramatically, the Three
Gorges Dam project which is transforming the
Chinese landscape forever.