By Barb Hauge
China is that great land of mystery with its huge mass of human souls. As children we were told that if we dig deep enough, we end up in China. My husband Art and I did end up in China, but not by digging. His around-the-world tour was sponsored by Uncle Sam when he served with 14th Air Corps Flying Tigers in China, Burma, and India. Then in 1980 we took a Tour of China and the Orient sponsored by Japanese Air Lines.
Art saw a great contrast between the old China of Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek and the new Communist China. At Kumming, China in the 1940s Art has watched women wearing patched rags threshing barley by hand and had been repulsed by sidewalk meat-markets swarming with flies. Now the flies were gone; wiped out by arming the population with swatters. We saw clean, organized and very busy China with everything being repaired and rebuilt from dwellings and roads to the Great Wall. The huge mass of people all seemed to have a great plan they were determined to carry out. One man told us, There are many paths to Democracy. This is how I described China in 1980:
China is so many pictures we can never take them all. Its a multitude of travelers who storm the Great Stone Wall. It is fleets of many thousands cycling down wide city streets; great public squares depicting revolutionary feats. China is an Ancient Empire with treasures of pure gold. Unguarded they are on display; a pleasure to behold, great stone animals left guarding tombs of long-dead kings, life-sized replicas of armies and countless precious things.
Chinas recorded history goes back four thousand years. Wall-of-Ten-Thousand-Li was built to guard against their fears. When Barbarian Hordes kept coming to storm the Great Stone Wall Chinas mass population just absorbed them, one and all. China is one vast, huge commune that goes from Wall to shore using every little spot of land for food, to eat and store. China feeds a billion people and clothes them warm and well. Gone are the days of famine and lives that were pure Hell. Now everyone is working with shoulder to the wheel and in all of this great country there appears no need to steal.
Chinas cities fill with people long before the dawn doing Kung-Fu exercise to keep them well and strong; sweeping city sidewalks, streets, buildings, even trees. Producing goods and services a thriving country needs. The city populations are proud that they produced. For pure consuming parasites China has no use.
Kunming in the Himalayas is a very special place. It has a Great Stone Forest with Legends of the Race. Way back 40 years ago when Art was stationed there Japanese bombed the airfield and gave them all a scare. Now Japan Airlines planned for us this tour to China and to Hong Kong, Bangkok and Singapore.
We saw boat people by the thousands drifting homeless on the sea in a world so overcrowded they could find no place to be. In the cities we wore gauze masks to help us breathe the air; the problem is pollution and its almost everywhere. We rode in crowded buses down jam-packed city streets; high prices dont change anything and Big Oil always cheats yet our world keeps on consuming as if there were no end. Soon therell be no energy to buy or steal or lend.
Still, its the greatest world well ever know and all must share the load for were all in this together traveling down the self-same road and the plagues which threaten others in nations cross the sea are the plagues that travel right straight back to threaten you and me!