China has changed in unforeseeable ways since the beginning of the last century.
Who would have thought
– in 1909 that by 1919 Imperial China had been replaced by a republic, with a new emperor and warlords in quick succession
– in 1919 that by 1929 the Guomindang ruled a re-united China
– in 1929 that by 1939 Japan ruled over the bigger part of China
– in 1939 that by 1949 the People’s Republic of China was declared
– in 1949 that by 1959 up to 50 million Chinese starved to death in the Great Leap Forward
– in 1959 that by 1969 the Cultural Revolution had destroyed much of China’s heritage
– In 1969 that by 1979 the Reform and the Opening process had started
– in 1979 that by 1989 the Tiananmen movement was crushed
– in 1989 that by 1999 the first commercial Maglev train service started in Shanghai
– in 1999 that by 2009 China developed into an economic superpower, hosting Olympic Games
– in 2009 that by 2019 China had a CP boss for life again
– in 2019 that in 2022 the inhabitants of Shanghai would be locked up and run out of food?
The 1820s are remembered for next to nothing in global history. The first commercial railway started in England, the first patent for a typewriter was issued in the USA and Brazil got its independence. In China, the glorious 18th century, the pinnacle of the Qing dynasty under the Kangxi and the Qianlong emperors, had ended with growing internal unrest and external pressure which culminated in the Opium War in the following decade.
In the 19th century, they were called the Roaring Twenties, with lots of economic and cultural development happening from the Charleston to the reunion of China under one leadership, but with a little forecast of the economic crash at the end of it and the rise of a new group of aggressive powers Germany and Japan in the 1930s. It is difficult not to see parallels to the optimistic 2010s, when despite the successes of popularism in many Western countries and one-man leaderships in China and Russia as well as growing concerns about climate change, still just-in-time production based on global supply chains working like clockwork developed further, build on trust in the common interest in globalisation.
Fittingly exactly on New Year’s Eve 2020 to ring in the new decade enters a new form of coronavirus, to be followed by what has been named the start of Cold War 2.0. How the twenties of this century will be called is really harder than ever to forecast. Maybe they will just be called „The End“ with regard to the existence of human mankind (aka „The Beginning“ in the post-nuclear history books of the cockroaches), maybe they will be called „The triumph of Democracy“ – anything in between seems to be possible at this super-VUCA point in history.
„However, the German does not care about the weather and just continues with his work“ as Hoelderlin wrote in the Hyperion. So, as a good German, your humble editor proposes you do continue with your work for the new post-pandemic tourism by spending a weekend with the brand-new MEANINGFUL TOURISM online training, which offers practical advice in a three-hour online package full of toolboxes, experts interviews and checklists of immediately enactable activities, brought to you by the creator of the MEANINGFUL TOURISM paradigm, yours truly.
As always all best wishes from Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Georg Arlt and the entire COTRI Weekly team!