Posts tagged “gokatayama.com

[Natural Resources] Baotou, Inner Mongolia the ‘Capital of Rare Earths’

This whole week I’ve been talking about Inner Mongolia so it’s only right that I end this week with another post on this topic. The very last leg of my trip before returning to Beijing was spent in the city of Baotou (包头).  This city with a population of 1.7 million might not be that well-known but it’s a city with great significance to the global economy. Recently, there’s been much talk on how China is cutting its exports of rare earth to the industrial states. This is a problem for states like Japan and the US since many of the hi-tech manufacturing rely on China’s rare earth. According to International Business Times, “China supplies 97 percent of the world’s rare earths, used in computers and clean energy technology such as wind turbines and electric cars”.
China is saying that they are cutting the exports of rare earths to enhance their domestic green energy but from what I saw in Baotou, the Capital of Rare Earths, I think China still has a long way to go in accomplishing that. Baotou in Mongolian means ‘Place with deer'(which I saw none) but besides the central much nicer part of the city, Baotou was really polluted. This was by far the most polluted city I have seen in China. Now, when you see local Chinese residents wearing masks, you know it’s really polluted. Mines and workers. Those were the two main characters in Baotou. I don’t think the workers know or care about any of the stuff going on in the international scale but to me, I could see that they have no choice but to keep producing and selling to make a living.
Baotou has won some recognition as it has made distinct efforts to transition to an environmental friendly city. But as I saw, the outskirts of this city could still use some work. But judging from how much cleaner the central part of the city is we can conclude that there is some progress that has already been made. Here are some snapshots near Baotou’s mines.

From Baotou to the rest of the world.

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Go Katayama – Photojournalist in Beijing by Go Katayama is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at gokatayama.com.

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[Beijing Lifestlye] Count Down to November 15th

Since the 1950’s November 15th has been a day that every one in Beijing has been looking forward to. This day is not a national holiday nor it is a date with historical significance. November 15th is the day when the city officials flick on the switch to turn on the capital’s centrally controlled heating system supplying warmth to most of the 22 million residents.
I recently just found out about this since temperature in Beijing has been getting much colder these past couple weeks. On October 16th I think the temperature was about  44 degrees and I was freezing. So pretty much until this date everyone, rich or poor, gets no heat in this city. Since the 1950s from November 15th to March 15th Beijing’s coal pumps have kept busy providing heat to city apartments and this schedule has rarely changed over the years. But there are some exceptions to this rule, and if it snows (like last year) before this date, government officials have promised to install heat accordingly. But until then we all  freeze! Oh the beauty of collective living. I just think the person in charge of flicking on the giant switch to generate heat across the city has such a cool job. The countdown begins and we’re 2 weeks away!

Beijingers keep warm by wearing warm jackets and bundling up in blankets before November 15th comes around.

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Go Katayama – Photojournalist in Beijing by Go Katayama is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at gokatayama.com.


[Photo Essay] Ordos, China: No Longer a Modern Ghost Town

The city of Ordos was founded on February 26, 2001. Home meant for over a million Kangbashi people of Ordos, Inner Mongolia has been in the spotlight for being the Modern Ghost Town as the luxurious apartments have all been bought out but the residents are nowhere to be seen. This photo journal entry is from my Halloween weekend trip to see this city of Ordos to see if it really was empty. As China's rapid development can be seen all across the country, there's not quite a place where over-development can be witnessed.Funded by a $585 billion stimulus package to bolster China's economic development, we can only hope that this investment will result in great returns. With its small population and regional wealth created by rich natural resources, Ordos is the second richest city, richer than Beijing, in per capita terms in China. Many questions remains in this unused and overdeveloped city but as witnessed from my journey, some residents have already moved in to the new Kangbashi district.

From Beijing, it's a13 hour over night train ride making stops at Hohhot, Baotou, and finally to Dongsheng, or Ordos in Mongolian meaning 'Palaces'.

Prior to arriving to Ordos, you can see the development and the massive construction taking place.

First look at an intersection in Kangbashi. Clean roads and luxurious apartments but where is everyone?

At the main square, again pretty empty for having such a luxurious symbolic statue in the middle of the new city.

The opposite side from the Horse Statue is the city government building. Most of the people I saw were mainly tourists here. It's interesting to see how the first half of my experience in Kangbashi witnessed mostly tourists and not many residents.

Still under construction, Ordos Museum resembles almost a pavilion at the Shanghai Expo.

The inside of the Ordos Museum, still under construction. The futuristic architecture amazes ones eyes but is it really necessary?

Another pavilion looking building is the Ordos Library. Ordos Highschool was also as elegant as this library. Ordos is the second wealthiest city in China behind Shanghai in terms of per capita income.

Massive projects continue to progress in Ordos with so little residents actually moving in.

Security guards were given training in the afternoon. But without people moving in there's no need for these guards.

Overlooking the largest construction site in Kangbashi. It's not common to see so many number of cranes as you can see here.

Construction continues in Ordos. Just because you built the city doesn't mean that people will automatically migrate to the city. There has to be a better reason than just the fact that they built the city. Same can be said for many other development projects across China.

Afternoon, I saw some more movement in this city as you can see lights in some of the apartments. We can conclude that there is some progress that has been made in the last couple months. Looks like some people have moved in already but It'll be interesting to see how the city looks like 5 years from now.

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Go Katayama – Photojournalist in Beijing by Go Katayama is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at gokatayama.com.


[Quick Update] Heading for Ordos, Inner Mongolia for the Weekend

Ordos, Inner Mongolia? Never heard of it? I will be here. It’s my first time into Inner Mongolia and it should be about a ten hour over night train ride from Beijing. According to TIME Magazine Ordos is the Modern Ghost Town so it should be perfect for Halloween. I will be back with more updates on Monday.


[Photo] Beijing’s Underground City

What fascinates me about this great city of Beijing is that the more you try to know what’s going on in this city, the more unknowns you run into. Couple weeks back some friends and I were having a conversation about the Underground City in Beijing. A city created in the form of tunnels under the city of Beijing. This to me was unheard of. In Chinese its called 地下城(DiXia Cheng). It’s sole purpose was to be a bomb shelter created in the 1970s in anticipation of nuclear warfare with the USSR. Since 2000 to 2008 it has become a tourist destination but for the last few years the gates have been shut down for renovations. I’m really curious to see what it’s like down there below. It cover a total of 85 square kilometers. I know that there are a total of 90 gates in the city. Even around my apartment I feel like the shady basement entrances could lead to the underground city. Will be back with more updates soon on the underground city.

Could this be one of the 90 entrances to the Underground City?

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Go Katayama – Photojournalist in Beijing by Go Katayama is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at gokatayama.com.


[Photo Essay] Saturday Afternoon in Gulou

Gulou is the area surrounding Drum and Bell towers mainly with Hutong style housing which is currently under the threat of redevelopment programs which are mainly the construction of transportation centers in the area. This photo essay is my walk through of Beijing's beloved old city.

 

Rickshaw drivers rest as they await for customers. Drum tower in the background.

Rickshaw drivers ride back to the Drum towers. Most of their income comes from tourists. This day it was mainly French tourists who didn't feel like walking around the Hutongs.

Girls hanging out on the swings?at the park on a Saturday afternoon. Drum tower in the background

Elders meet on a daily basis to play mahjong. They didn't seem to mind the cold wind that day.

Rickshaw drivers were everywhere in Gulou that day. Weekends are busy days for these drivers.

Girls busy on their phones, on the way home from school.

Students heading home from school.

Rickshaw drivers taking French Tourists around for a ride.

A dog walks by. Dogs tend to be unleashed in China. Chinese people love their dogs here.

Looks like someone had a party last night. The local beer Yanjing Beer seems to be the popular choice around here.

Biker cycles past a green sign that asks for citizens to cooperate in the Census program that is taking place right now in China.

A worker is seen through the walls. The north side of Gulou is already destroyed and a transport station is supposed to be built to compliment the ever growing population and transportation efficiency.

On Gulou Da Jie. Construction can be seen at every corner of Gulou.

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Go Katayama – Photojournalist in Beijing by Go Katayama is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at gokatayama.com.


[Photo] Man vs. Car

Picture taken in  Dongxindian. Located one hour east from central business district in Beijing. This area witnessed a bunch of taxi’s being repaired. Mostly migrant workers live in this area.

Dongxindian is a hub for repairing Beijing Taxi's

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Go Katayama – Photojournalist in Beijing by Go Katayama is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at gokatayama.com.


[Development] Compassion for Migrant Children

This weekend is almost about to end but it was a rather fresh weekend for me in the ever cooling city of Beijing. Friday witnessed a rather early sleeping time and this was so that I could get up early at 6am. Saturday I woke up at 6am, got ready and headed out for 五元桥Wuyuan Bridge. Now, if you’re a local here you might be asking me WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU DOING IN WUYUAN QIAO!!? Wuyuan Bridge is all the way out in the 5th inner ring road which is pretty far from  the center of Beijing. It took me almost 2 hours to get out there: taking the metro, bus and by walking. Where was I headed for in Wuyuan Qiao? I made my way finally to a School in the middle of  no where. Starting this weekend, I have decided to make more use of my time here in Beijing than just the usual going out and wasting my time on the weekends recovering from the night before. I joined a NGO called Compassion for Migrant Children(CMC), which the organization stands to help migrant children in China by further expanding their education by means of using volunteers like me.

China has many social problems but as of now the massive migration of workers moving into larger cities, like Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, is one of the largest problems China faces. Here are the stats for Beijing according to CMC:

50,000,000 Migrant Workers in Beijing as of now

500,000 Migrant Children in Beijing.

These are overwhelming numbers and is continually growing at a rapid rate. The problem is that these Migrant children aren’t registered in Beijing since they come from other provinces in China so they do not have the proper access to public education in China.  They do go to school but these migrant schools have poorly educated teachers and overall, the children don’t receive the proper care and advise they require. Most of the migrant children face a reality where they watch their parents work day and night and some drop out of school and start working at a very young age. That’s the situation in a nutshell and I promise I will be back with more statistics and info for future posts.

As far as Saturday went, I realized that I haven’t taught English for almost 3 years when I taught for a private English institution in Wuhan, China for the summer. But this experience was quite different. I wasn’t teaching for money and I was just doing it for the pure enjoyment of wanting to make an impact and learn at the same time. The school was a very simple and even though it lacked many resources the joy of the students and the energy they brought to class took over any negativity in the environment or what the children were going through. I only taught for 2 hours, mainly to grade school students but I really enjoyed it. I will be doing this for the next couple weeks until Christmas. For now, this is all the time I have to update on my experience but I will have a photo essay dedicated to the status of Migrant Workers and their family members by the end of the year! Stay tuned.

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Go Katayama – Photojournalist in Beijing by Go Katayama is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at gokatayama.com.


[Music] Creators Project x Beijing

This should have been posted a while ago but the Creators Project was in town last month. Showcased at the 798 art district.  From their website: “The Creators Project is a new network dedicated to the celebration of creativity and culture across media, and around the world”. Beijing had a real treat that night as everyone enjoyed free drinks all night long and performances from Diplo and Major Lazor.

 

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Go Katayama – Photojournalist in Beijing by Go Katayama is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at gokatayama.com.