, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp 367-369
Date: 13 Sep 2012

Two Views of the New China

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“To nationalize oil painting and to modernize Chinese painting: in my view these are two sides of the same face.”—Wu Guanzhong (as quoted by Merguerian 2012)

In this issue of EcoHealth, we celebrate our biennial meeting in Kunming with two works representing one of China’s most enigmatic artists, Wu Guangzhong. These two images represent, to many of us from the West, our dominant view of China—a country that has been catapulted from an essentially medieval society into the twenty-first century superpower it now is, in the matter of a few decades. These two visions of Chinese society are clearly visible in the contrast between rural China and cities like Shanghai or Beijing. Far from the cities that consume their produce, farmers still work the same rice paddies that were hacked out of the mountainsides over 2,000 years ago, with the same cattle. Their children, perhaps, work in the factories and financial centers that drive China’s industrial and technological power. They wear handmade