Wastelands of Beijing

About 20 km outside Beijing, tourists sitting in tour buses from Beijing north-eastwards towards the Badaling section of the Great Wall can spot the apparent remains of a medieval castle some distance from the expressway. Its concrete spires rising above a muddy corn field, the eerie shell remains as a relic of the grandiose ideas …

A trip to Qinghai

This is the 1510 Digest, a weekly roundup of recent essays and articles published on the Chinese web, with links to translations on the Marco Polo Project. This week’s digest takes us on a trip to the West, to a less familiar part of China. The large inland province of Qinghai is a traditional point of contact …

The millionth tree planted in Inner Mongolia by Shanghai Roots and Shoots

In a country full of rumors, scandals and frequently negative news, its nice to see a positive item that doesn’t revolve around something bizarre happening. In my time in China, I’ve watched many NGOs attempt to make change in their communities. While some are successful many more seem to fall to the great challenges any …

The uncertain return of Beijing wildlife

Outside a cafe in east Beijing, a small bird fluttered to the ground and hopped and pecked at the concrete. Beijing Bird Watching Society member Li Ming cracked a smile and said “Passer montanus.” A humble sparrow, which Li says is the city’s most common bird, with the magpie a close second. You can find …

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