In the autumn of 2001, more than 100 senior photographers from 21 countries and regions, including Germany, France, Britain, Italy, Greece, Japan, the United States, and China, gathered in Hangzhou, the capital of Zhejiang Province, to participate in the photography program Focusing on Zhejiang with the theme of Exchange, Friendship, and Cooperation.
The organizing committee arranged four routes for the photographers so they could learn about the history, civilization, customs, and economic construction of Zhejiang and the great changes that have taken place there. They would also have a chance to enjoy the scenery south of the Changjiang (Yangtze) River.
The Hangzhou-Jiaxing Route: Along this route were the best place to view the tide of the Qiantang River; the Xiuzhou District of Jiaxing City, the Home of Modern Chinese Folk Paintings; Wuzhen, an ancient town; and Qiandao (Thousand-Islet) Lake, a state-class forest park.
The Hangzhou-Ningbo-Zhoushan-Shaoxing Route. This route included the relics of the Hemudu Culture in Yuyao City, one of the early centers of Chinese civilization; the modern port city of Ningbo; the Tengtou Village of Fenghua City, one of the Global Best 500 in Ecology; Shenjiamen and Zhujiajian, famous fishery towns; Mount Putuo in Zhoushan, one of the most famous Buddhist shrines in China; and Shaoxing, a nationally famous historical and cultural city.
The Hangzhou-Lishui-Wenzhou Route. This route included Mount Xiandu in Jingyun, a state-class scenic area; Jingning County, the only autonomous county of the She ethnic group in China; Qingtian County, a town noted for delicate stone carvings; Nanxi River in Yongjia, a state-class scenic area; Wenzhou City, a place famous for non-state economy; and Mount Yandang in Yueqing, a state-class scenic area.
The Hangzhou-Taizhou-Jinhua Route. This route included Taizhou City, the birthplace of the shareholding cooperative economy in China; the Special Glass-Sculpture Art Gallery; the 1,600-year-old city wall of Linhai, known as the Great Wall of the South; the Town of Small Commodities in Yiwu, the largest small-commodity market in China; and the Zhuge Village in Lanxi, with many buildings of the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) Dynasties.
Zhejiang Province is small in area, but the economic development and the overall economic strength of Zhejiang are among the best in the provinces, municipalities, and autonomous regions of China. The photographers were impressed by the rapid economic development in the cities, towns, and villages they visited, and the urbanization of Zhejiang won their admiration. "Hangzhou has the picturesque West Lake, but it used to have poor urban facilities," said a European reporter. "In my eyes, today's Hangzhou is beautiful and modern."
Boating on Qiandao Lake and along the Xin'an and Fuchun Rivers made the photographers feel as if they were in a painting, and the prehistoric Hemudu civilization, the 1,000-year-old towns, and the traditional customs of Zhejiang struck the guests as something new.
After a seven-day tour, the photographers returned to Hangzhou. It had been an impressive and worthwhile journey, they said.
(China Pictorial January 9, 2002)