Longi Dazai 2016

I returned to South China - to Dazai Ricefields - in 2016 to see this landscape changing drastically right before my eyes. It was a shocking sight to see considering what I had seen just 2 short years before! There was construction and building everywhere; roads were being installed - lots of trucks and SUV's - and there were lots of tourists.

With the meteoric rise of a new middle class in China, tourism has become a huge industry. The Government stopped taxing the rice farmers to make it financially easier on them so they would keep the fields pristine for the tourists. So this narrative has gone from rice consumerism to tourist consumerism. This has spawned another industry. Builders come to the hills, rent the lovely wooden houses from the Yao people - the houses that have prime view of the terraces - but let them stay in their homes. They build big, new hotels in front of the little houses. Large platforms are erected throughout the fields giving the tourists a closer and better view; this action appropriates many of the canals and terraces. I went down into the canals with the farmers and was shown how to plant the seedlings and learned the ecological methods they use for fertilizing and pest control. They told me they formed a committee to protest the installation of the cable cars but it went nowhere because "we have no power"..................

China is not my country and I refrain from making judgments. But I do think it's too bad that artists, historians, etc. are not involved in some capacity with these irreversible decisions which, I think in the future, perhaps will be looked upon with regret for what is lost: The Yao Minority Peoples and their exemplary way of life.