By Ms. Hafsa Akram, Research Assistant, Pakistan Research Center for a Community with Shared Future (PRCCSF), Islamabad.
I embarked on a transformative journey to China, along with a delegation of 10 from Pakistan’s Generation Z. This enlightening trip was arranged by the Chinese Embassy in Pakistan and the Research Institute for a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind at the Communication University of China.
The trip began on November 5 when we landed in Beijing, China, marking the initiation of an eight-day exploration of China’s rich heritage, food, social progress, scientific advancements and modernizations, and vibrant culture. Our exploration broadened and deepened our understanding of China.
This journey marked my inaugural visit to China, and the experience was inspiring and delightful. The country’s distinctive natural and cultural landscape, history and culture, coupled with its high-tech modernization and remarkable industrial achievements, left an indelible impression on me. The people of China are very warm, kind, and gentle, and we enjoyed people’s hospitality. This amiable demeanor was consistent across all the cities we visited.
Over the past decade, the color green has become a prominent backdrop for the beauty of China, symbolizing the harmonious coexistence of humanity and nature and contributing to the collective effort of constructing a clean and beautiful world.
Vibrant Beijing: Our first destination, Beijing, offered a captivating blend of natural landscapes, hills, open water, and huge features like pavilions, halls, palaces, buildings, business centers, and bridges. The city’s bustling life, with people constantly moving through streets, showcased the vibrant energy that permeates Beijing. Economically and culturally, Beijing stands as one of the best-developed cities in China, with a promising trajectory of continued prosperity. My time in Beijing was enriched by exploring the city’s delights, wandering through its streets, observing daily life, visiting major landmarks, and even indulging in a bit of shopping.
On the morning of November 7, we ventured to the National Stadium, fondly referred to as the “bird’s nest” due to its unique architecture. This venue, capable of accommodating up to 91,000 people, hosts various events, making it a marvellous space for cultural and sporting performances. On the same day, we embarked on a visit to the Great Wall, an iconic symbol of China’s collective history, built across different dynasties with the blood, sweat, and tears of countless generations. Today, the Great Wall serves as a majestic backdrop for all.
Mystical Hangzhou: Next on our itinerary was Hangzhou, reached via high-speed rail on November 8. Hangzhou will remain in my heart. It is nestled amid beautiful mountains and rivers and has the charm of regions south of the Yangtze River, characterized by generational ingenuity. Our visit to Anji Yu Village, where the concept of “green water and green mountains are gold and silver mountains” originated, showcased a model for rural revitalization, providing valuable insights for promoting China’s broader rural reform.
November 9 marked a poignant moment as I stood beside West Lake. The serene clarity in my mind reflected the unique understanding I gained about this mighty lake. The West Lake has inspired thousands, and its unparalleled beauty resonated deeply with me. Every step around the lake felt like a blissful float.
A significant highlight was our briefing at the Alibaba Headquarters on November 10. The headquarters served as a hub of innovation and technological development. We gained insights into the intricate workings of the platform, understanding how it connects buyers and sellers, and fostering a thriving ecosystem of online trade. The scale and impact of Alibaba’s core commerce operations became evident as we explored the intricate dynamics of this digital marketplace.
Our journey continued to Guangzhou on November 11, where we explored the Oriental Museum. The displays and explanations were not only educational but also visually delightful. The friendly and knowledgeable staff provided a culturally accurate tour, offering insights into the artistic and utilitarian pieces from various dynasties. This experience significantly enhanced my appreciation for Chinese history, art, and culture.
Magic of Guangzhou: Guangzhou, a city teeming with countless activities, beckoned exploration. From iconic landmarks steeped in history to cultural sites and museums shedding light on the city’s fascinating past, Guangzhou offered an exceptional experience. We found the city’s green spaces and parks and created enduring memories.
Boarding a cruise ship on the Pearl River revealed a captivating view of historical and cultural spots on both banks. The brightly lit river, adorned with multicolored neon lamps, showcased distinctive buildings, including the magnificent Canton Tower. A night cruise along the dazzling Pearl River proved to be an unparalleled experience. The Canton Tower, illuminated by flashing and colorful lamplights, added a mesmerizing touch to the overall spectacle.
As I reflect on this immersive journey through China, from Beijing’s to the tranquility of West Lake in Hangzhou and the vibrant charm of Guangzhou, each moment becomes a vivid brushstroke in the canvas of my memories. This trip not only broadened my horizons but also fostered a profound appreciation for the rich tapestry of China’s history and culture of its people.