As virtuous as wealth, power and strength may be, what value do they possess in the absence of harmony? For it is within the immaterial power and presence of harmony that the true spirit of China’s prosperity can be found. Harmony forms the essence of a glorious and timeless civilisation in a nation considered home to more of mankind than anywhere else on earth.
Urban, rural, traditional, modern, western, eastern – all come together in due proportion to play the rhythmic tune of daily life in the towns, villages and cities of China.
Cities such as Beijing, where labourers who would once toil in the construction of imperial palaces, sacred temples and wondrous watchtowers, now form the beating heart of a modern renaissance; the symbols of which include mighty skyscrapers of trade , luxurious shopping malls and expansive centres of transport & educational excellence. Workers from all over China now descend upon the likes of Guangzhou and Shenzhen, creating and expanding new metropolises to fulfil the dream of a nationalist vision for change, development and growth at an unprecedented speed.
Yet as fast as urban life continues to grow in China, what harmony would exist without the everlasting beauty of China’s natural treasures dotted throughout its expansive rural landscape? Mountains as green and pleasant as Tianzi or as other-worldly as Danxia’s rainbow mountains, rivers as scenic as Guilin’s Li Jiāng, desert as foreboding as the Taklimakan, and a plethora of exotic wildlife that grace the land, sea and sky with their presence serve as constant reminders of the power & omnipresence of Mother Nature and the gifts she bestows upon man.
China is a busy place, for there is much work to be done. Expansive markets and production centres for technological gadgets, clothing and vehicles form the heart and soul of China’s reputation as an industrious superpower of global reckoning. And yet as restless as China’s cities may be, the importance of its villages and rural communities cannot be understated, for there too farmers work tirelessly to feed the nation – fields of rice, wheat and tea, and groves of exotic oranges, lychees and dragon fruit are cultivated and distributed to fulfil China’s appetite for an ancient cuisine as mysterious as it is delicious.
And yet still what harmony would there be in all work and no play? Men adorning tables along the night streets with board-games, children learning both the timeless art of Kung-Fu and the global pastime of football, painters giving life to words of calligraphy, groups of dancers adding rhythm and vibrancy to public parks, theatres of drama and shows of acrobatic wonder. One cannot go far in China without bearing witness to the cultural arts and favourite pastimes of its people.
The centrality of harmony to China’s survival and prosperity is self-evident, an inevitability given the nations size, prominence, vast diversity of ethnic groups & cultures and history of great change and adaptation. Ancient buildings now find themselves in exceptionally modern cities, traditional practices find their place in people’s hearts and minds in the midst of modern life, wondrous manmade creations overlook the beauty of natural scenery, and the youth continue to create their own identities in spaces created by older generations.
However, what is truly special is that the harmony of China has now taken on a new form, for it has developed in the new world to become a truly global force. Migrants from Africa, the European Union, the lands of the East and as far west as the America’s now consider China to be a home away from home. Similarly, China’s Great Wall, one of the wonders of mankind originally built to protect from outside invaders, now welcomes visitors from all across the earth with open arms. And this is the China that those visitors shall come to know and cherish. A welcoming China whose harmony is so visibly ancient, modern and undoubtedly eternal.