While getting settled back in the US, I wanted to share this article about the fact that Port Arthur in the People’s Republic of China is open to foreigners once again. This famous port, called Lǚshùn (旅顺, 旅順) in Chinese is very famous in 19th century Asian history as a frequent battle-ground between competing powers, particularly Russia (later USSR) and the Empire of Japan, and of course China itself. The port has changed hands many times in 100 years, starting with the the British in the 1850′s (hence the English name), the Russians, Japanese and Soviets, until it was returned to the People’s Republic of China in 1950 and closed off until now.
The city today, is far more peaceful than it once was, and still carries an interesting mix of native Chinese culture, Japanese infrastructure, and European influence. You can still see the Yamato Hotel and the old Danish Church.
For me, it’s nice to see the world move on, after so much destruction in the 19th and 20th centuries, when foreign powers carved up China over and over again, and China itself suffered terribly under decades of civil war. It’s good that old wounds are healing, and people of all groups can come and visit this place not as conquerors but as visitors and guests, and that its sovereignty is no longer a matter of dispute. Too many wars have been fought over property1 at the expense of lives.
1 A line from one of my favorite movies of all time. I found the heavily spiritual, psychological side very compelling compared to other similar movies of the same genre. But that’s just my opinion.