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GEOGRAPHY EDUCATION

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China

China will soon have air power rivaling the West’s – No longer just catch-up

“China’s president, Xi Jinping, wants to be able to challenge America’s military might in the western Pacific. He is making big progress. China’s once bloated armed forces are becoming leaner and a lot more capable. They are also benefiting from a defense budget that is growing at a steady 6-7% a year, in line with GDP. The IISS declares that China has become an innovator in military technology and is not merely ‘catching up’ with the West. For some of the most advanced science, Mr. Xi is tapping the private sector. The Pentagon has to woo skeptical Silicon Valley companies; firms in China do what the government tells them to do. In two years’ time, if not before, America is likely to lose its monopoly of radar-beating stealth combat aircraft with the introduction into service of China’s Chengdu J-20.”

 

Tags: political, military, China, geopolitics, East Asia.

Source: www.economist.com

Hong Kong’s ‘coffin homes’ reveal a housing crisis

A shortage of developable land have pushed Hong Kong’s housing prices skyward, leading some to live in spaces the size of closets.

Source: www.businessinsider.com

Overpopulation doesn’t feel like a serious issue when you live in a land characterized by wide open spaces, but in some densely settled urban centers, the issues become quite personal.  Hong Kong is currently facing a housing shortage. This article nicely explains the difficulties that living in the so-called coffin homes makes for the residents.  This photo gallery humanizes this difficult living condition.

 

Tags: housingurban, place, neighborhoodspatialdensity, planning, density, urbanism.

Homeland of tea

“China is the world’s biggest tea producer, selling many varieties of tea leaves such as green tea, black tea, oolong tea, white tea and yellow tea. Different regions are famous for growing different types of tea. Hangzhou is famous for producing a type of green tea called Longjing or the Dragon Well tea. Tea tastes also vary regionally. Drinkers in Beijing tend to prefer jasmine tea while in Shanghai prefer green tea. Processing raw tea leaves for consumption is a time and labor-intensive activity and still done by hand in many areas in China. The Chinese tea industry employs around 80 million people as farmers, pickers and sales people. Tea pickers tend to be seasonal workers who migrate from all parts of the country during harvest time. In 2016, China produced 2.43 million tons of tea.”

Source: www.bostonglobe.com

Tea, the world’s most popular beverage, doesn’t just magically appear on kitchen tables–it’s production and consumption is shaped by geographic forces, cultural preferences, and regional variations.  These 21 images show the cultural, region, and environmental, economic, and agricultural context of tea.  

 

Tagsimages, foodChina, East Asia, economic, labor, food production, agriculture.

Sprawling Shanghai

If you could go back in time to the 1980s, you would find a city that is drastically different than today’s Shanghai.

Source: earthobservatory.nasa.gov

This series of seven satellite images shows how quickly the economic development of China has impacted the urban sprawl of China’s biggest cities.  Pictures of the downtown area’s growth are impressive, but these aerial images show the full magnitude of the change. 

 

Tags: urbanremote sensing, megacities, China, urban ecology.

Why China is building islands in the South China Sea

“China is building islands in the South China sea and its causing disputes among the other nations in the region; Malaysia, the Philippines, Brunei, Vietnam, and Indonesia. China claims they aren’t military bases, but their actions say otherwise. The US has many allies in the region and uses its massive Navy to patrol international waters, keeping shipping lanes open for trade.”

Source: www.youtube.com

Last year this was an intriguing story but now the geopolitical drama is growing as more countries are literally building islands out of reef outcroppings to strengthen their claims to the South China Sea.  For some without geographic expertise, this might some baffling.  For those that understand Exclusive Economic Zones, maritime claims, and expanding geopolitical aspirations, this makes perfect sense. 

 

Tags: borders, political, conflict, waterChina, East Asia.

China installs weapons on contested South China Sea islands

New satellite imagery indicates that China has installed weapon systems on all seven artificial islands it has built in the contested waters of the South China Sea, a move that’s likely alarm the country’s neighbors.

UPDATE: After this news, the Pentagon says a Chinese warship has seized a US Navy underwater drone collecting unclassified data in international waters in the South China Sea.

Tags: borders, political, conflict, China, remote sensing, East Asia.

Source: www.cnn.com

India watches anxiously as Chinese influence grows

A $46bn economic corridor through disputed territories in Kashmir is causing most concern

Source: www.ft.com

The Indian government doesn’t want to seem threatened by the fact that China is paying for better transportation infrastructure that is essentially in their backyard.  India’s neighbors are excited for the potential economic growth that this can bring, but weary of China’s added clout and power throughout Asia.  As Parag Khanna argues is his new book Connectography, infrastructure and economic linkages will become increasingly more important to geopolitics and global economics; within that lens, China is certainly making a power move here. 

 

Tags: regions, transportationeconomic.

The Tidal Waves of the Qiantang River

For hundreds of years, on the eighth month of the lunar calendar, people have gathered along the shores of China’s Qiantang River at the head of Hangzhou Bay to witness the waves of its famous bore tide. Higher-than-normal high tides push into the harbor, funneling into the river, causing a broad wave that can reach up to 30 feet high. If the waves surge over the banks, spectators can be swept up, pushed along walkways or down embankments. Below, I’ve gathered images from the past few years of the Qiantang bore tides.

Source: www.theatlantic.com

This is an amazing set of images, where a cultural phenomenon is wrapped up in observing the pulsating physical geography of the river.  Usually the tidal bore is impressive (but not dangerous–see video here), but occasionally it can be incredibly violent (see this 2015 video).   

 

Tags: physical, geomorphologywaterChina.

‘Leftover Women’ in China

“Chinese women face immense pressure to get married before they turn 27. In many Chinese cities, so called marriage markets are a common sight, where parents go to post and match personal ads. A number of brave Chinese women have finally stood up to speak their mind against society’s labels and their parents’ pressures.”

Source: www.youtube.com

This emotional ad about ‘leftover women‘ in China has received a lot of traffic and is now invigorating a national conversation about marriage customs, gendered norms, and cultural expectations.  What isn’t as explicit in the video is how demographic policies and cultural preferences for boys has created the situation that puts added pressure on single women

 

Questions to Ponder: How is this (at least partially) a lingering impact of the One Child Policy?  What traits of traditional Chinese culture led to this current situation?   

 

Tags: gender, folk culture, China, culture, population.

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