Phase 3: Interpreting Information

Updated 1 year 5 months ago

In Phase 0 and Phase 1, I posed questions regarding my project and discovered a direction of what I want my project to be about. In Phase 2, I have found sources to support my project. Now in Phase 3, I will be researching information I will need for my project. 

Background Info (Phase 1)

Considering the collection of stories I am attempting to make is more centered towards memories of Xizhou citizens and how they relate to the local history at that time, I have to research both on some common things that Xizhou people do (e.g. religious traditions), and some of the main historical events that impacted Xizhou. 

World War II and the Flying Tigers (1941-1942):

During World War II, Japan was on the one hand, an enemy of the US, on the other, invading their neighboring country of China. This led the two nations to form an alliance to counter their common enemy, with China providing more strategic support and the U.S. providing new military technologies. They had several bases throughout Southwest China, Xizhou being one of these places, which was where the famous Flying Tigers were created as a result of the two nation's cooperation. Xizhou had a small base, airstrip, and a radio station which was the first point of contact when planes with resources arrived from Burma.

Cultural Revolution (1966-1976): 

The Cultural Revolution was launched by China's Communist leader Mao Zedong in 1966, intended to reassert his authority over the government. He believed the current Communist leaders were taking the party in a wrong direction; he urged youths to purge such "impurity" and bring about a better China. However, this led to the deaths and famines and a mania of propaganda that lasted for many years until it finally ended in 19767. Even in the current political climate, the government still banned many contents related to this revolution.8,10

The Great Leap Foward (1958-1961): 

Seeing the slow rate of progress in multiple aspects of China such as economy and agriculture, Mao decided to take a "Great Leap Foward", pushing the nation onto the fast track to modernization. Large communities replaced individual families, personal livestock and farms are banned. Meals were also shared amongst the community. This led to an epidemic of famine, with an estimated 20-30 million people starved to death. Furthermore, around 1960, even cannibalism was widely reported.10

Bai Culture:

Xizhou is a small town to the South of China in the Yunnan province, consisting of 13 small villages and a combined population of around 60,000. 90% of the population is the Bai ethnic group, which had many traditions and holidays3,9. Some of the more notable aspects of Bai culture are The Three Course Tea ceremony which includes bitter, sweet and strange flavors, representing different phases of life4; Bai architecture, which are courtyard style homes that merge traditional local structures with mother styles from across eastern China and abroad1; special attires such as a distinctive headdress for women, the colors of which corresponds to a short poem about the natural beauty of the Dali valley: wind, flowers, snow, and moonlight4;  the torch festival that commemorates the legendary wrestler Atilabia5.  Notably, gender roles are also very prevalent in Xizhou society, with females represented by a golden phoenix and men represented by a series of smaller dragons, symbolizing how women have a higher social position than men6. Men are in charge of the home and raising children while women earn money for the family, the opposite of the more prevalent gender roles in modern society. 

Xizhou Merchant League:

The Merchant League, like others in China, are centered around geography and family, groups as bonds, which helps to decrease the possibility of vicious internal competition. They have mutual support as their goal and public areas as connection areas with foreign lands, making the group of merchants both tight and dispersed. 12 The Xizhou Merchant League formed at around the end of the Qing dynasty and was separated into the four main families at Min times. The league consisted of 740 capitalist families with 100 of which trading outside Xizhou (post opium war, the British began trading with Eastern countries, opening up international trade routes for the Xizhou Merchant League, opening up its economic powers and relations). The geographical resources of Dali made the trade very much possible. There was an abundant amount of animals, teas, medicines, jewelries and opium. Most of the accumulated wealth was donated to Xizhou's local development. Locations such as hospitals and mines and schools were built, boosting local economy. Furthermore, they also built many Bai style buildings, which helped to preserve much of the local culture even till this day. During 1978, there was a large shift in people's values, which changed from valuing merchants to being educated. It was also a time when trading was limited due to WWII and increased governmental control. The above reasons caused the trade league to eventually diminish.11

Information (From 3-to-5's)

The contacts I got from the 3-5s were mostly elderly people, some of whom still works as silversmiths or guards or antique-store owners. A lot of them follow more utilitarianism principles and don't seek a lot except happiness. The jobs did not follow a grand plan of change, but more like hobbies of relaxation after a long life of hardship. At times of the Cultural Revolution or the Big Leap Foward, many of their houses became community spaces, and walls plastered with propaganda. Money became almost obsolete and the economy became extremely local and almost a bargaining system. 

Information From Local Contacts 

Mr. Zhao (Silversmith, shop at the end of the wet market) [13]

  • -Two daughters
  •      i. Younger daughter
  •           a. Got into the best local high school
  •           b. Currently first year in college studying mechanics
  •           c. Likes studying English, can't talk in Bai accent
  •      ii. Older daughter
  •           a. Went to college in Australia
  •           b. Currently works at a tobacco plant in Yunnan
  •           c. Likes studying English, can't talk in Bai accent
  • - Self
  •       i. Memories of old Xizhou
  •            a. Most of the markets and buildings used to be farm fields
  •            b. Er Hai was much less polluted and he used to fish in the water as a child. There used to be beaches and willow trees and grass and marshlands which now all died and turned to mud.
  •            c. There used to be all curved roads up and down the fields, and children used to run all up and down, but now the roads straightened and cars roam the streets and blacken the sky that used to be another shade of blue. 
  •       ii. Life Experiences/Viewpoints 
  •           a. Used to live in Ruan Yuan Xiang, now lives at Bao Chen Fu
  •           b. He speaks no accent Chinese with his daughters, because the culture around them usually speaks without accent too
  •           c. He believes learning English is very important to learn because that's what helped his daughters to succeed
  •           d. Er Hai problem began during the Big Leap Forward when a lot of concrete buildings and factories were built. Electricity factories built near Er Hai stopped its water to flow out, so it stayed polluted. 
  •           e. Now the government's bureaucratic solution came too late and many buildings next to Er Hai have to be destroyed to prevent the further pollution of Er Hai. 
  •           f. It was a shame that the Bai language did not develop into a written language, and stayed incomplete. His daughters and many young kids don't talk in the Bai language anymore. 
  •           g. Western Societies did better on environmental protection and city construction. 
  •           h. Like many other Chinese people, he also held a lot of grudge for Japanese people, who rarely comes to these places because they receive constant hatred and perhaps even violence.       
  •      iii. Business
  •            a. Generations of silversmiths, never farmed, even if they had land, they would sell it to someone else. They used to travel far to work and send the money home. 
  •            b. Sells pure silver at a price three times lower than the ones funded by the government to support local tourism
  •            c. Refuses to sell to tourists because he finds them obnoxious
  •            d. Has a long line of old customers who can send him photos of jewelry that he can make and mail to them
  •            e. Northeastern Chinese people like him the most
  •            f. Only local Bai people likes his kind of pure silver. Other cultures like the kind with only 50-60% silver.
  •            g. The store he runs right now is a rented place


Mr. Mao (antique store owner, near Linden Centre)  [14]

  •    -Life
  •              i. One daughter— Sell computers, used to work in Shanghai (for 3 years) and Hang Zhou (for 4 years); married, but husband working in a nearby city
  •             ii. All used to live in Er Yuan(洱源), the origin of Er Hai, but now Er Hai protection policy locked the house down
  •            iii. Now live in the antique shop with his daughter and grandson
  •            iv. Youth: Remember used to catch fish with his friends—no need for a fishing pole, just grabbing the fishes were enough because there were so many
  •             v. Generations of Muslim families
  •             vi. Family used to farm, remember soldiers that came at times
  •    -Business
  •              i. Liked to collect antiques as a kid
  •             ii. Parents didn't like his doing antique because he believed it had no future
  •             iii. Spends most of his money on antiques
  •             iv. Er Hai protection policy closed down lake-view hotels where there are rich people, which were his usual customers
  •              v. Now tourists are mainly young and do not have much money for his products
  •             vi. He would go to the antique store in every place he goes to
  •             vii. Would boast with antique store owners nearby about how many antiques sold 
  •            viii. Good relations with people around
  •              ix. Believes that "antiques are only alive when sold to the hands of another" (石宝—活宝)


Mrs. Yang (sold knitted items, outside a silver store, next to wet market) [15]

  •   -Personal
  •          i. Family
  •              a. 4 children, 2 male, 2 female, have shop in Xizhou
  •              b. Farming family
  •              c. Mother used to be leader of local production team, had meetings in Dali, Mrs. Yang would follow    
  •              d. Father also helped farm
  •              e. Had 6 brothers and sisters
  •         ii. Self
  •              a. Local tradition forced women to wrap their feet so that they would remain small for it was seen as a kind of beauty
  •              b. Did not attend Middle School 
  •              c. Experienced Tu Gai (涂改), Cultural Revolution, Chinese-Japanese war, and Great Leap Forward
  •              d. Every piece of metal in the house used to be melted in a community pot and handed to the government during the Great Leap Forward
  •              e. Used to starve a lot of the time
  •              f. Soldiers used to come during time of Chinese- Japanese war 
  •              g. Used to knit as hobby
  •              h. Experienced famine
  •              i. Deng Xiao Ping rose to power and opened up liberty to own private property, lifting families out of poverty
  •              j. Experienced changes in Xizhou: from mostly farms to more modernized streets with more shops and restaurants
  •              k. Didn't hate the change nor cared for the change. She mostly minded her own business and believe that the life she lives in right now is the best that's ever been. 


Ms. Lee (met at Da Ci Si—大慈寺 when praying) [16]

  •  -70 years old
  •  -History of Da Ci Si
  •            i. Built in the Tang dynasty
  •           ii. Enforced during Ming Qing dynasty
  •           iii. Includes multiple religions such as Buddhism and Taoism
  •           iv. One of the major religious areas in Xizhou
  •            v. People would come to ask for good luck
  •           vi. Mostly people of 40 or above
  •                a. One reason is that some religions such as Buddhism has rules that only people above 40 can join
  •                b. Other reason is that there tends to be less believers amongst the youths
  •           vii. Used to be used during the Chinese-Japanese war
  •                a. The Wu Chang Hua University moved their location a lot because many cities had fallen during the war. The students had to flee from their homes from Wu Han  (武汉)
  •                b. to Qing Dao (青岛)
  •                c. to Gui Ling (桂林)
  •                d. to Kun Ming (昆明), where they met some wealthy merchants that sponsored them who introduced them to Xizhou
  •                e. They settled at Xizhou and used one of the small compounds there until the war was over. Their studying did not interfere with the events that took place in the   temple
  •          viii. Later returned to government property, used as elementary schools, tea houses, and many other things
  •           ix. Myths about Da Ci Si's history (unrelated stories)
  •                a. There was a big fire during the Qing dynasty and burnt down the entire temple
  •                b. Da Ci Si was built by a man called Jing Shi(金师)who came out of the well in the center of the temple.
  •                c. There were some people who died last year due to unknown reasons; people believed it was their karma for trying to tamper with the temple
  •          x. Historical influences on Da Ci Si
  •                a. A lot of the statues of Buddhas and Gods and buildings were broken during the Cultural Revolution as an attempt to remove the Four Olds
  •                b. Most of Da Ci Si is rebuilt, only one building remained mostly intact and was not built from scratch— Lü Wa Si(绿瓦寺)
  •  -Traditions in Da Ci Si and Ms. Lee's relation to it
  •             i. The people mainly come for marriage, funerals, and vigils
  •            ii. Sometimes also for big events such as tests or holidays such as Chinese New Year
  •           iii. Other temples people pray in
  •                a. Jiu Tang Shen Miao(九堂神庙)
  •                b. Zhong Yang Ci Tang(中央祠堂)
  •                c. Cheng Huang Miao(城隍庙)
  •           iv. Ms. Lee joined at 47, joined for 23 years
  •  -Opposing forces with Da Ci Si
  •             i. Cult organization named Fa Lun Gong(法轮宫)
  •                a. Have believers from 10-80 years old 
  •                b. Promises the people that they will go to heaven if they burn themselves
  •                c. Requires lots of more fee than Da Ci Si
  •                d. Would come to Da Ci Si and distort some people's belief


Mr. Huang (manages the mosque) [17]

  • -Self
  •         i. Born in 1983, 36 years old
  •        ii. Generations of Muslim families
  •       iii. Was taught Hebrew and learned Muslim traditions when he first learned to talk 
  •       iv. Half Xizhou, half Wu Yi Shan (武夷山)
  •       iv. Occupation
  •            a. Help to organize and clean the mosque
  •            b. Make sure the people follow rules when they come into the mosque—e.g. no smoking
  •            c. Sometimes would go outside and tell people if they were doing something wrong and try to talk reason with them—e.g. gambling
  •            d. Encourage children to study 
  •            e. Would help collect lost items from around and hand them to the police
  •            f. Welcomes guests
  •            g. Write the Allah quotes and post up propaganda around the Mosque
  • -History of Mosque
  •          i. Two were built near the Qing dynasty
  •              a. Zhang family
  •              b. Ma family (the one Mr. Huang is in)
  •          ii. In 1872, Yunan people rebelled under Du Wen Xiu's (杜文秀)rule due to the Muslim oppression and was massacred 
  •         iii. Many who survived escaped to nearby lands such as Mongolia
  •         iv. After peace was restored, many returned in 1876 and filed a paper to the government to ask for the Mosque which was built into a temple for the God of Wealth (财神)
  •          v. The government provided 10 acres for the rebuild
  •         vi. Lacked funding, and started with a small scale mosque
  •         vii. Funding was enough in 1922 and the mosque was fully rebuilt
  •        viii. Mostly destroyed again in the time of the Cultural Revolution to destroy the Four Olds, scriptures and literary scripts were burnt
  •          ix. Restored in recent years
  •           x. Recent modernization did not affect the temple or Mr. Huang much
  • -Rules
  •         i. Little children were not allowed in the Mosque for they were disobedient and would disturb the praying. 
  •        ii. Most girls can enter the mosque at 9-10, older for boys because they are more playful 
  •       iii. Children start to carry religious responsibilities when they enter adulthood
  •             a. Girls: When they have their first-period

  •             b. Boys: Around 12 years old 
  •       iv. Have to be completely cleaned before entering the mosque
  •        v. Can not smoke in the mosque
  •       vi. Children were taught Hebrew and learnt Muslim traditions when they first learnt to talk 
  •      vii. Belief in Muslim is not forced


Mrs. Dong (Lives at a Si He Yuan—四合院, with the Zhao families—old home of Mr. Zhao the silversmith, near the wet market) [18]

  • -80 years old
  • -Husband died at 60      
  • -Life
  •            i. Before New China
  •               a. Family work in fields
  •               b. Women made tie-dye clothes
  •           ii. After New China
  •               a. Still worked on a farm but have work groups now
  •               b. The Great Leap Foward— Big pots of food, used to eat pumpkins or plain rice with some vegetables
  •               c. People would get food through tickets
  •               d. Raised her child (now 52) with sugar and meat and oil and lots of other necessity and food
  •               e. No medicine
  •                f. Almost nobody in Xizhou rebelled—being right-wing 
  •               g. After people like Peng De Huai and Deng Xiao Ping came, policies changed
  •               h. People mostly did small businesses
  •                i. Used to sell food in Dali                  
  • -Mr. Zhao, Mrs. Dong's neighbor 
  •             -77 years old
  •             -Used to take numbers of production and report them to the government
  •             -People used to lie about the quantity, so the government took too much, resulting in their own lack of food 
  •             -Wife lives at the compound too


Mr. Zhao (guard at Yang Zhuo Ran) [19]

  • -Two children
  •       i. Older brother—32
  •          a. Teacher of an elementary school at the neighboring village of Zhou Cheng(周城)
  •          b. Teaches a variety of subjects
  •          c. Now at a professional development program at Kun Ming (only one who got the oppurtunity in Dali)
  •       ii. Younger brother—31
  •          a. Works at the post office helping to check for issues
  •  -Family
  •       i. Mother
  •        a. Farmer at a field behind the Xi Ling Yuan area
  •      ii. Father
  •        a. Elementary school teacher, teaches multiple subjects
  •        b. Stopped working during the Cultural Revolution
  •        c. Had one big brother and one smaller brother
  •        d. Smallest son died due to the lack of medicine 
  •  -Self
  •       i. 67 years old
  •      ii. School life
  •          a. Studied on weekdays and would go to Er Hai with friends on weekends
  •          b. Did not finish elementary school because it was the start of the Cultural Revolution
  •          c. Began helping in the fields
  •     iii. Work life
  •          a. Started at Xizhou
  •          b. Then went to Xi Shuang Ban Na (西双版纳)for building jobs
  •          c. Started as small jobs and slowly understood how to read the blue print and got better jobs
  •          d. Needed to earn work quotas during the Cultural Revolution
  •          e. Ten quotas usually means 3 maos, sometimes less or more depending on the job
  •    iv. Architectural changes
  •         a. Mostly Western houses built
  •         b. Not many differences in recent years
  •         c. Walls usually 70-80 inches


Mr. Yang (antique dealer next to Si Fang Jie) [20]

  • -Business
  •       i. Bad in recent years due to the bad economy
  •      ii. Sometimes have one product that sells best, e.g. jade.
  •     iii. The antique store has 20 years of history
  •      iv. Would spend most of his money on buying antiques
  • -Self
  •       i. 50 years old
  •      ii. Have two bigger sisters and one bigger brother
  •         a. Two sisters retired, lives at Dali
  •         b. Brother works at an elementary school in Kunming
  •     iii. Married, one daughter one son
  •          a. Wife stays at home
  •          b. Daughter: 24, studies computer programming 
  •          c. Son: 18, studying how to fix cars in Kunming
  •     iv. Personal beliefs/opinions
  •          a. A lot of his friends and family went off to other cities because there is a larger chance of success elsewhere
  •          b. He grew up in and liked the culture of Xizhou so stayed


Mrs. Zhao (Buddhist, met at Jiu Tan Shen temple—九坛神)[21]

  • -56 years old
  • -Husband died around 30 years ago
  •     -Job
  •        i. Help others look at Feng Shui
  •       ii. Does not care about price, whatever the person gives her
  •      iii. Does not quite believe that the changes she did will actually do much, believes it is more psycological help
  • -Two sons
  •        i. Smaller son- 33, works as police (城管)
  •       ii. Older son- 35, works various jobs
  •      iii. Also Buddhists
  •      iv. Do not earn much
  • - History of Jiu Tan Shen temple
  •       i. Built during the Ming Dynasty
  •      ii. Later destroyed during the Cultural Revolution as part of breaking the Four Olds
  •     iii. Then rebuilt as a food factory
  •     iv. A woman named Mrs. Wang fought with the food company everyday 
  •      v. Eventually got the temple back
  •     vi. Burnt again
  •    vii. Only half rebuilt, now collecting donations from people, from 10,000 to 1-2
  •   viii. A lot of the Buddhist statues are not put up
  •    ix. Most of the statues now are local gods
  •     x. Not many people come except for special dates and festivals
  •    xi. Only some of the older grandmother would come now
  •   xii. One grandmother named Mrs. Yang would come every morning and burn some incenses and clean the temple
  • -Viewpoint on changes
  •      i. Noticed a lot of commercialization in recent years
  •     ii. Did not really have a specific feeling about the change, but just want it to become a better environment/economy/society for the future generation
  •    iii. Did not care much for herself because she puts the next generation as more important
  •    iv. Want to just go with the flow of it all and live life (belief of Buddhist teachings)


Mrs. Zhang (Cleaning staff at Bao Cheng Fu) [22]

  • -56 years old
  • -Family
  •               a. One little brother and sister, one older sister
  •               b. Mother and Father worked as farmers
  •               c. Children helped in their family farm after they were around 10
  •               d. Mother used to make their shoes out of tires
  • -Childhood
  •               a. Used to carry brother to school and back, and he used to sit next to him in class because his parents were too busy and he was too young to go to school
  •               b. Helped farm and take care of animals
  •               c. Lived in a large house once owned by a land-owner because of the Great Leap Foward
  •               d. Sewed small items to sell (e.g. 1 pair of shoes=5 mao)
  •               e. Could not afford rice and ate things like pumpkins
  • -Current
  •               a. Lives in Xizhou
  •               b. Takes care of a mother who has diabetes and needs an injection every night 
  •               c. Husband works at Shangrila and would come home 2-3 times per year
  •               d. Older son: 28, married, one daughter, factory worker
  •               e. Younger son: 22, married, two daughters, factory worker
  •                f. Old farm took away and now works at Bao Chen Fu
  •               g. Went to Cheng Du six months ago to take care of her grandchild, but was not used to the environment so came back
  •  -Opinions and Observations
  •               a. Er Hai used to not be polluted and the people used to eat fish as their main source of meat
  •               b. The fields now use too much fertilizer and cause cancer
  •               c. Pigs now fed too many chemicals and caused them to have less shiny skin than before
  •               d. Most of her siblings now went elsewhere to work, but she stayed to take care of her grandmother
  •               e. Used to want to get out and work like her siblings, but had too many ties and got used to Xizhou anyways

Mr. He (Mandarin teacher at local high-school—Hua Zhong Shi Da Da Li High-school 华中师大大理附中) [23]

  • -48 years old
  • -Economic change
  •           i. Xizhou Merchant League era
  •               a. The era of the Xizhou Merchant League was the high point of Xizhou economy
  •               b. Xizhou was one of the most prosperous towns in all of China, also important to Yunnan's GDP
  •               c. After the creation of new China, and the Cultural Revolution, many properties were taken 
  •               d. Economic freedom was lost
  •               e. Many of the good merchants at that time fled overseas
  •         ii. Current
  •               a. Yunnan has lost many of its resources and geographical advantages over major changes
  •               b. Xizhou became very weak in economic power
  •               c. Many of the merchants who stayed are not as skilled and could not promote economic progress like before
  •  -Cultural change
  •           i. The government now wants to protect the culture
  •          ii. Yet the excavation and protection will take a lot of money which the government did not want to use
  •         iii. Many of the so-called rebuilds now in-fact ruined the architecture even worse because the people did not have a notion to "restore" the building's old image, just rebuilt the sites
  •         iv. Result of this change being that Xizhou stays in a state of having culture but much of it undiscovered or broken or mistaken
  •         v. There are many scholarly homes and historical sites that were discovered yet not understood by the people
  •         vi. Mr. He sent letters to the go4 proposing a plan to rediscover such sites and increase tourism
  •               a. Plan was that with proper government organization and spread awareness from the government, the historical sites can be restored and on the other hand also increase tourism
  •               b. The plan was met with dismay from the government for it would cost too much
  •               c. Amongst other reasons, the plan was eventually discarded 
  • -Environmental change
  •            i. Erhai used to be one of the major attractions of Xizhou
  •           ii. The policy currently implanted is not either good or bad, but necessary
  •          iii. On the long term, the economic, environmental and social benefits will certainly increase
  •          iv. The change in people's attitude to change
  •               a. The problem was already seen during times of Industrialization and the Great Leap forward
  •               b. Many also mentioned it 20-30 years ago but the government did not care
  •               c. Xi Jing Ping came to Erhai recently and ordered a solution to be found
  •               d. The pressure caused the sudden spread of awareness and immediate response of the government
  • -School change
  •           i. The high-school where Mr. He worked at was first built around 80 years ago
  •               a. The high-school is the only one outside Dali, the rest are in the city
  •               b. 90% of the students are from rural areas
  •          ii. The Hua Zhong school came over to seek refuge during the time of the Japanese war
  •         iii. Their main site was at Da Ci Si, but later on, the students and teachers also came to teach at this highschool
  •          iv. The school became popular and had many talented youths graduate from here
  •           v. Many years later, in 2009, they returned to help when the school dropped in reputation
  •               a. They promised spots for the top students in this high-school
  •               b. Though only 23 went in 5 years, it still incentivized the students to study harder
  •         vii. However, in 2013, the Beijing school scandal broke out, and the policy ended in 2014
  •               a. Some schools in Beijing were providing unfair advantages to certain other schools
  •               b. Other schools like those in Beijing were put to a stop
  •               c. This Xizhou high-school also had to stop this policy
  •        viii. Later on, Hua Zhong college still brought help by sending their principles to come and help manage this school
  •               a. As a result, the reputation of the school rose in recent years
  •               b. The government also invested 980 million rmb into the expansion of this school
  •               c. From 50 to 100 mu
  •               d. They also slightly rose their acceptance score
  •               e. The name also changed to have the name Hua Zhong in it
  •                f. Other schools that wants Hua Zhong in their name must pay 50 million rmb, but this school was granted the fee because of its help in the past
  •      x. Current status: ranked 6-7 out of the 13 main high-schools in Dali
  • -Self
  •         i. Used to study subjects such as math and science
  •        ii. The schools at that time dejected such teachers and only had teachers who taught liberal arts
  •        iii. Re-studied Chinese in another year of college
  •        iv. Started teaching since he was 18, has 30 years of teaching experience         


Answers to Previous Questions (From Phase 1)

Daily Life

What are the general differences in activities for different age groups and genders? Has it changed from the previous generation?
The older people used to fish a lot or play near Er Hai, but the water now became polluted and the activities, for youths and adults, all became more centralized in the commercialized zones such as Si Fang Jie. 

Are the activities of Xizhou citizens more communal or more individual-centered?
Past events such as the Cultural Revolution or the Great Leap Forward forced the people to live in compacted communities or join in many community events, but now most events became dispersed and individual because everybody has their own shops and places to live. However, the bond created between the people, whether during old times or now, can still be seen within the many community centers or just the daily conversations people have with their friends and families within their shops.

What historical event impacted Xizhou (as a town) the most?
Possibly the Cultural Revolution, because the Bai community is and was a very cultural one, and with movements such as breaking the Four Olds, the culture becomes largely damaged. Furthermore, important groups to Xizhou's development such as the Xizhou Merchant League also disappeared possibly as a result of the Cultural Revolution because the government took further control over the public and did not allow personal assets.

What are some of the impacts of major changes in China (e.g. the Cultural Revolution) on Xizhou?
The changes in thought (political agendas and directions) impacted Xizhou the most, because the Bai minority never rebelled much and so they followed the direction the government led them to, regardless of it being good or bad. The aftermath of people's blind madness can still be seen within the cracks of the temples and mosques, the large red words painted on the crumbling white walls. Cultures and traditions that once bonded the community tightly together, had been faded by the waves of change. 


What were Xizhou citizens' lives like during their teenage years (12-18)?
Their lives were quite simple. The ones who went to school went, and would go play at Er Hai on weekends. The ones who did not go to school stayed on their family's farm and helped. 

What did family life look like during the Xizhou citizens' teenage years (12-18)?
The family usually constitutes of multiple siblings and parents that were farmers. The older siblings usually take care of the other siblings because the parents did not have time to do so. Most siblings eventually start to help to farm at around 10, some while still continuing education. 

Do many Xizhou citizens leave to bigger cities? If so, for what reasons? If no, what are some of the restraints preventing them to do so?
Yes, mostly husbands or children leaving to nearby cities such as Gui Ling or Li Jiang for jobs or education. Sometimes there are too many ties back in Xizhou for people to leave, ties such as their parents to take care of or simply lacking of the money to do so. 

What were some of the different figures Xizhou citizens admired at different stages of their lives? Why did they admire them, and why did the people they admire change (if it did)? 
Local figures like the original members of the four big families or political figures Mao or Deng Xiao Ping. They admire them because of their contribution to the change they have seen in their community. For example, Deng Xiao Ping opened up private ownership and the families were raised out of poverty. The admired figures did not change much over the years, possibly because the media does not say much about the government and so that people still believe the figure the propaganda and news paints these figures. 



1. The Atlantic. Village Dreamers, 16 Jan. 2019.
2. China International Travel Services. Travel in Yunnan,, China International Travel Service. Accessed 16 Jan. 2019.
3. Linden Centre. Xizhou, Accessed 16 Jan. 2019.
4. China Daily. Bai ethnic group culture charms Shenyang residents, 16 Jan. 2019.
5. University of Washington Press. South of the Clouds, Stories from Yunnan (pp. 114–116)Miller, Lucien; Guo, Xu; Xu, Kun (1994), "Torch Festival". Accessed 16 Jan. 2019.
6. Duarte B. Morais, Careen Yarnal, Erwei Dong And & Lorraine Dowler (2005) The impact of ethnic tourism on gender roles: A comparison between the Bai and the Mosuo of Yunnan province, PRC, Asia Pacific Journal of Tourism Research. Accessed 16 Jan. 2019.
7. "China’s Cultural Revolution Begins: May 1966." Global Events: Milestone Events Throughout History, edited by Jennifer Stock, vol. 2: Asia and Oceania, Gale, 2014. World History in Context, Accessed 16 Jan. 2019.
8. Cultural Revolution, Accessed 17 Jan. 2019
9. Dali Daily. Promotion for the Construction of the "3121" Project Demonstration, 17 Jan. 2019
10. China-Mike. The Mao Years, 17 Jan. 2019
11. Zhou, Zonglin. Minguo Dali Xian Zhi Gao: Min Zu Chu Ban She, 2007. Accessed 20th Mar. 2019
Jun, Xue zu. Da Li Di Qu Xi Zhou Shang Bang Yu He Qing Shang Bang De Fen Xi Yan Jiu. Yun Nan Ta Xue Chu Ban She, 2010. Accessed 20th Mar. 2019
13. Mr. Zhao. Personal interview conducted by Jacob. R. 13th Mar. 2019
14. Mr. Mao. Personal interview conducted by Jacob. R. 14th Mar. 2019
15. Ms. Yang. Personal interview conducted by Jacob. R. 15th Mar. 2019
16. Mrs. Lee. Personal interview conducted by Jacob. R. 17th Mar. 2019
17. Mr. Huang. Personal interview conducted by Jacob. R. 18th Mar. 2019
18. Mrs. Dong. Personal interview conducted by Jacob. R. 19th Mar. 2019
19. Mr. Zhang. Personal interview conducted by Jacob. R. 20th Mar. 2019
Mr. Yang. Personal interview conducted by Jacob. R. 20th Mar. 2019
Mrs. Zhao. Personal interview conducted by Jacob. R. 21th Mar. 2019
22. Mrs. Zhang. Personal interview conducted by Jacob. R. 25th Mar. 2019
23. Mr. He. Personal interview conducted by Jacob. R. 26th Mar. 2019


In Phase 4, after organizing my information, I will come up with a thesis and plan for my final product. 


I'm fourteen years old and was born in America, Minnesota. However, my family moved to Shanghai when I was 1 year old, after that, I have lived in Tianjin for a while, then moved back to Shanghai. The days at Xizhou had been very memorable and taught me a lot, I will certainly return to visit at times in the near future.