March 15, 2010

The first time I flew into Shanghai, the jet landed at Hangqiao Airport.

There was no Pudong with its Maglev Train, which can move 150 to 200 km/h, running eighteen miles to the city.

Even with the larger Pudong, Hangqiao still handled 25 million passengers in 2009, but more fly into Pudong.

Model of Shanghai

China’s leaders are finishing the job Qin Shi Huangdi started twenty-two hundred years ago, and it’s not easy.

The first emperor unified China with one written language.

Now, the country is being stitched together with one language, Mandarin. It may take several generations.

People are used to speaking the language they grew up with.

There are fifty-six with more dialects, like Shanghainese. Learning English is also mandatory in the public schools.

Old Shanghai – I’ve shopped here.

One-hundred-fifty years ago, Shanghai was a sleepy fishing town.

Then England and France started two opium wars with China to force the emperor to allow them to sell the drug to his people.

The treaty that ended the first opium war made Shanghai a concession port and part of the outside world bringing expats, who are still arriving.

Today, there are twenty million residents and 4,000 high-rises with more on the way. They sprout like mushrooms.

The 101-story World Financial Center is China’s tallest building.

Visit the Shanghai World Expo

The next four Shanghai photos are courtesy of Tom Carter, photo journalist and author of China: Portrait of a People

Tom Carter, photo journalist

See the Shanghai Huangpu River Tour

See more at National Geographic, Shanghai Dreams

See more about Shanghai at Eating Gourmet in Shanghai

Discover Hollywood Taking the “Karate Kid” to China


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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