Great Wall spellbinds Pak journalists -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Great Wall spellbinds Pak journalists

BEIJING- As Pakistani journalists panted, a young couple paced past them to reach top of the Great Wall, built by toil of Chinese generation after generation to stave off aggression from the North by Mongols-it now has become one of the 7th Wonders of the world.

“What an achievement and a landmark accomplished by the Chinese,” said a freelance journalist Shazia Mehmood as she tried to balance her steps while negotiating a bend at the Great Wall. A group of Pakistani journalists have visited Beijing and a few other cities in Shandong province at the invitation of the Chinese Embassy in Islamabad and have returned this week impressed by the level of progress made by China in short span of time.

The Great Wall is swarmed by tourists throughout the year except in freezing winter of China when parts of it are closed. But the adventurous ones do like to visit it for sunbath amidst snowy peaks and rocky mountains.

“Think of how centuries ago the Chinese would have carried the bricks and material to build the Wall while we have a chairlift to go up and see the fascinating feat of the Chinese nation,” said Salim Bukhari, Editor The Nation, as he jumped off his cabin.

Over 6,000 km long and built 2,500 years ago during different Chinese dynasties, the Great Wall has beacon towers to house soldiers and store both grain and weapons. “It safeguarded the trading routes such as the Silk Road, and secured transmission of information and transportation,” centuries back. “Whosoever comes from Pakistan to Beijing, the first question they ask is how to get to the Great Wall because this is a “must see” place for every tourist”, said a Pakistani youth working in a shop.

“Silvery snakes dancing among mountains, white elephants running along the vast lands,” said the architect of Chinese revolution chairman Mao about the Great Wall.

The Wall, part of Beijing – a sprawling city of 20 million souls which can boast of being as clean as any Western capital with its glossy high rise buildings. Many world leaders have visited this part of the Wall. Impressed by the grandeur of the Wall, President Barack Obama during his visit commented: “It’s majestic. It’s magical. It reminds you of the sweep of history, and that our time here on Earth is not that long, so we better make the best of it.”

Those thinking to visit the Great Wall snaking through mountains must have the stamina to walk up and accept the challenge of descent, which is more difficult.

It remains a major attraction for tourists and newly wed people. Married couples in China have to stick to One Child policy, which was being implemented successfully since 1979 to check the population, which according to the old census stood at 1.3 billion. The new census has already been conducted and its result is expected to be announced shortly. But this policy is not strictly implemented on 56 ethnic minorities constituting 10 to 15 per cent of the population, said a Chinese requesting anonymity.

Travelling through Beijing at this time of the year one could not miss noticing white tiny fluffy objects flying around the city which caused people allergy which reminded us of Islamabad where life for pollen allergy patients become miserable during tree sprouting season.

Beijing hardly look like a city of a developing country because its spacious and clean boulevards with clean air, impress most visitors.
Source: The Nation
Date:4/30/2011