This past weekend I had the chance to visit a couple of the more notable sites in Anhui Province: the ancient village of Sanhe and one of the four sacred Chinese Buddhist mountains, Mount Jiuhua. Sanhe, as it stands, is about 1,000 years old, but it was a village going waaaaay back. Mount Jiuhua is about a three-hour drive south of Hefei and is the site of 99 temples, from the mountain's foot to its peaks. (Seemed like a lot more than 99, though, as I walked miles of paths and steps.) The smoke from the incense rivals the smog of Beijing. Below are some pics. Click on Read More to see more photos.
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Not much of China looks like Sanhe anymore. Most of the old parts have either been torn down and replaced with dull new buildings or are so dilapidated that they looks like a ghettos.
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One of the three rivers that meet in Sanhe. ('San' means three in Mandarin.)
 
 
One of the biggest problems I encountered as a journalism teacher in China was that students had no true understanding of history --  particularly their own. That's because for the past 60 years, the Party has carefully fashioned the narrative of China's history to its advantage, and it often has little to do with reality. The following is an exerpt from today's South China Morning Post about a dustup over the Party and historical truth -- at least the quest for historical truth.

<<A magazine publisher has been demoted and a journalist suspended after the publication of an interview with a Taiwanese historian who accused "Father of the Nation" Sun Yat-sen of trying to make deals with Japan and who criticised China for trying to stir up nationalist sentiment.

The question-and-answer-style story featuring Professor Tang Chi-hua from National Chengchi University in Taiwan was headlined, "The rising China must say goodbye to `revolutionary diplomacy'". It was published on July 25.

The reporter said officials from the group's editorial committee had visited the magazine on Monday to announce the decisions on Chen and Zhao. The officials also criticised the story as "anti-government and anti-Communist Party". They said Tang's comments about Sun were defamatory since Sun was a "true revolutionary pioneer".

Tang was quoted in the article as saying that Sun, having failed to win the support of warlords, suggested to Japan that he was willing to cede China's sovereignty over Manchuria and Hainan Island in exchange for Japanese officers leading the National Revolutionary Army against the Beiyang warlord government in Beijing. Later, to get Japan to send an army to help him, Sun offered to cede control of policing and taxation, and of Beijing, Tianjin and Inner Mongolia, Tang said.

These weren't the only points the committee took issue with. There were three others:

First, Tang said the historical narratives of the Communist Party and the Kuomintang might not be factual, and that they sometimes put party interests ahead of the country. >>

I think this last point speaks volumes.
 
 
I took a few photos of posters publicizing lectures to be held at USTC. As you'll see below, it's not much easier to  understand the English any more than understanding the Chinese characters. Now, I don't know if this is a matter of Chinglish, bad translation or just my woeful ignorance about science and all things quantum. Judge for yourself.
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As you can see from this schedule, though, science is not all work and no play. There's still plenty of time for tea and a two-hour lunch that allows time for the sacrosanct 'rest.'
 
 
The west campus of USTC has an unusually large number of cats, perhaps because this is where much of the faculty housing stands. Most of the cats are semi-feral; teachers put out leftovers for them, but I've yet to meet a feline that's willing to be petted. None have been spayed or neutered, so spraying and strutting abound. Here, then, is the first of an occasional series of the cats of USTC. More cats after the jump!
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SIDEWINDER: Hears voices telling him to use a litter box. Majored in psychology but dropped out in senior year. Favorite food is creamed corn. Once stayed awake 48 hours to prove he could do it. Aries.
 
 
My Hefei friend Betsy took me to the Hefei Museum on Sunday, which is a combination historical/natural science museum -- although it did happen to have an exhibit of the  paintings of Pan Yuliang, a Chinese artist who spent most of her career in France in the early 20th century. The highlight of the museum was the collection of dinosaur bones, which are plentiful in the outcroppings of the nearby Yangtze River. And the lowlight was the cheesy diorama room. The ever game Betsy was willing, however, to rescue a wee 'saur from the jaws of a T-rex. (see below)

Later we joined her husband/almost husband/it's complicated and two of his friends for a hotpot meal of spicy shrimp. The meal was better than thumbs up. It was a mealtime victory!
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Last night I had the privilege of dining with five brilliant and lovely scientists during a kickoff dinner for a two-week training seminar at USTC sponsored by the Chinese Academy of Sciences. In the U.S., science is dominated by males, so it's heartening to see young ladies in China taking to the field. And I had five of 'em to myself, at least for one meal! Pictures of the scientesses below.
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