A country as vast as a whole continent, China has stormed onto the world stage and is shaking up the preconceptions of its billion and a half inhabitants. This new attitude is summed up by the CRH, the “China Railway High-speed”, this country’s answer to the TGV. From stations that look more like airports, it links up around a hundred towns and transports 60 million passengers every year, making the most isolated regions of the country more accessible. It stretches from the poorest rural area in Guizhou Province, inhabited by the Dong people since the 19th century, to Shanghai, a bustling megacity; as far as Hong Kong and Macau, two westernised outposts handed back over to China at the beginning of the 21st century; and then to Guangzhou (Canton) where, on the banks of the Pearl River, it bridges the gap between historic neighbourhoods and the twisting towers more than 500 metres tall designed by Hervé Tordjman.
Try sailing along the Yangtze River through the Three Gorges, the most impressive dam in the world. From these saturated landscapes in a bend of the river, a new city rises up studded with skyscrapers, to house thousands of peasants, displaced to manage the river’s tumultuous waters. Take the time to chat with the locals, so proud of this masterpiece, and proud of their country. It is this “nationalism” that keeps them united, that explains that although there are still 121 different dialects spoken around the country, the official language, Mandarin, is the cement that binds the nation.