inside thoughts on China and beyond

Portfolio – Walls of China

My neighbor is building a wall around his house. I’m not sure why, because our neighborhood already has a high and well guarded fence to keep out the dangerous and the poor. It reminded me that this was the first thing I noticed when I came to China years ago: everywhere were walls. Walls around the country; walls around neighborhoods; walls around gardens and houses. Walls were -and still are- everywhere.  Some are meant to offer protection, others seclusion. And sometimes, sometimes they are just part of a house… But above all and regardless the reason, it seems a result of the deep-rooted distrust that is a fundamental aspect of the Chinese culture.

This is a small impression of life amongst the walls of China.

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The Great Wall of China, Beijing.

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Guarding the wall, Beijing.

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The last stronghold in the far west, Jiayuguan, Gansu

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Only desert plants live near the wall’s most western end, Gansu.

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The people who were honored in the Bible were the false prophets. It was the ones we call the prophets who were jailed and driven into the desert. ~ Noam Chomsky 

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desert

China’s natural wall in the north-east…, Dunhuang, Gansu.

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mountains

China’s natural walls in the south-west…, Zhongdian, Yunnan.

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Not all walls remain standing (2008 earthquake), Mianzhu, Sichuan.

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The reason why the world lacks unity, and lies broken and in heaps, is, because man is disunited with himself.  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

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After the 2008 earthquake, only cats still live among the crumbled walls of the old Qiang village, Luobozhai, Sichuan.

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Students helping to build new walls after the 2008 earthquake, Pengzhou, Sichuan.

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Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. ~ Matthew 7:24

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New walls -and walls after walls of bilboards!- are erected everywhere by construction companies, Panzhigua, Sichuan.

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New walls of the city pushing back the old way of life, Chengdu, Sichuan.

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A barber has put up shop outside a compound wall, Chengdu, Sichuan.

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A man passes a temple wall, blackened by the prayer fires, Chengdu, Sichuan.

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Tibetan family circling the temple walls, Langmusi, Qinghai.

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Old Uighur woman passes the Id Kah mosque, Kashgar, Xinjiang.

Old Uighur woman passes the Id Kah mosque, Kashgar, Xinjiang.

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Elderly woman by wall

Elderly woman walks to her home in a small mountain village near Xichang, Sichuan.

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An old Uighur woman sleeping agains a wall, Kuqa, Xinjiang.

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Never be afraid to sit awhile and think.  ~Lorraine Hansberry

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Elderly surrounded by walls, Wasezhen (Erhai), Yunnan.

Elderly surrounded by walls, Wasezhen (Erhai), Yunnan.

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Homes build on the edge of a river, Tibetan area, Sichuan.

Homes build on the edge of a river, Tibetan area, Sichuan.

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Towered cities please us then, And the busy hum of men. ~John Milton

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More photo impressions can be viewed on my photo site.
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6 responses

  1. Pingback: Portfolio – Walls of China « Dutchinaman's Blog

  2. That’s a thoughtful and stimulating thesis illustrated to perfection.

    December 21, 2012 at 10:52 am

  3. Your inclusion of the metaphorical wall as well as the literal one is thought-provoking.

    http://zhouxingyu.wordpress.com/2012/04/27/10-things-i-love-about-china-an-adendum-48-2/

    December 22, 2012 at 12:53 am

  4. The last photo from Tibet, would you be so kind to let me know where it is taken and in which year? It looks like Yajiang…
    Btw very nice series, thank you!

    February 9, 2013 at 8:28 pm

    • The last photo was taken between Litang and Kanding (Sichuan) in 2009, so it could well be Yajiang. I was send away by police right after taking the first picture…

      February 10, 2013 at 5:10 pm

      • Very typical, I ran into a road block there and was only allowed to continue after quite some time and scrutinizing of my passport. That wall has almost completely disappeared and has been replaced by modern concrete buildings….In all fairness the old ones look not very stable. And yes it must be Yajiang.
        I have no pictures to show you of the new situation, there was a lot of army and I did not want to get into trouble just in front of a road block.

        February 10, 2013 at 6:29 pm

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