People's Republic of China, 1997

"China is a sleeping giant. Let her sleep, for when she wakes, she will astonish the world"
- Napoleon

China is the 3rd largest country after Russia and Canada; and it is the world's most populated nation having close to 1.3 billion people (about 22% of the total world population).

For centuries China has lived in isolation, but since Mao's death the Middle Kingdom opened its door to the world.

In 1997, I traveled to China's Guangdong, Yunnan and Gansu provinces. I met farm people with tanned skin and rough clothes. I worked with fishermen and planted rice with women. In the cities I met young people who were fashionably dressed. I once asked a teacher how she liked today's changes compare with the past. She told me that although life is more difficult now, she can both express her feelings and thoughts, and speak freely. But according to the Human Rights Watch political controls remain tight; officials are corrupt and social stability is fragile while economic controls continue to be relaxed.

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