DOI: 10.5176/2251-2403_PSSIR12.72

Authors: Peter Zabielskis


Abstract: Multiple strains of China’s major philosophical / religious / cosmological ideologies variously emphasize harmony, respect, non-action or non-interference, or carefully considered stewardship of human relationships to the natural world. Yet throughout most of its history, China’s land and landscape has more often than not been subject to highly anthropogenic, political or municipal processes that are materially transformative: natural features have been rigorously controlled or shaped to suit human purposes. Even today, when traveling in many parts of China – and especially in its most economically prosperous southern and eastern regions – the effects of human action on the landscape are inescapable: Mountain tops appear to be green but a closer look reveals that trees are growing there in neat parallel rows; cliffs and hillsides have been shaped or blasted to allow for building, road construction or agriculture; and there is hardly a river anywhere whose flow has not been altered or channeled within retaining walls or built-up banks.

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