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My Personal Asia Pivot

For the third straight year, I am headed to China, where I will teach stu­dents at the Inter­na­tional School at Jinan Uni­ver­sity in Guangzhou, for­merly known as Can­ton in South China.

The trip allows me an oppor­tu­nity to travel through­out China, Thai­land and Myan­mar, where I con­tinue my own “Asia pivot” after years of report­ing on ter­ror­ism and the Mid­dle East.

I will keep you up to date, with my trav­els and tra­vails. I start in Xi’an, the one-​time cap­i­tal of China, where the Terra Cotta war­riors were found in the 1970s. I vis­ited Xi’an two years ago, but I wanted to travel to a nearby locale, where the only empress of China, Wu Zetian (624705), is buried.

Wu was the con­cu­bine of Emperor Taizong. After his death, she mar­ried his suc­ces­sor — his ninth son, Emperor Gao­zong, in 655. After Gaozong’s debil­i­tat­ing stroke in 660, Wu Zetian became admin­is­tra­tor of the court, a posi­tion equal to an emperor, until 705.

She is buried in the Qian­long Mau­soleum, which is some­thing I’ve always wanted to see.

[cap­tion id=“attachment_96751” align=“alignnone” width=“600”] A mural in the Qian­ling Mausoleum[/caption]

Hangzhou, the Venice of China, is my next stop. That’s where the G20 met last year. The city is known for its key role in the early canal sys­tem of the country.

[cap­tion id=“attachment_96749” align=“alignnone” width=“600”] Hangzhou[/caption]

After that, I head out of China as it cel­e­brates May Day, and mil­lions of peo­ple through­out the Com­mu­nist world launch some sort of remem­brance for Inter­na­tional Work­ers’ Day.

In Thai­land, which has no May Day par­ties, I will head to the north, where I will stop in Chi­ang Mai and Chi­ang Rai, the locale for the famed Golden Triangle.

After a few days, I head for Myan­mar, for­merly known as Burma, which is being ruled rather poorly by Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel Peace Prize win­ner who ousted the long­time dictatorship.

But I’m not there for the pol­i­tics; I am vis­it­ing for the famed Bud­dhist shrines in Bagan and Yangon.

[cap­tion id=“attachment_96750” align=“alignnone” width=“650”] Bud­dhist shrines in Myanmar[/caption]

Then it’s back to south­ern China, where I will teach Jour­nal­ism Research and In-​Depth Report­ing for sopho­more stu­dents. Here is what my class pro­duced last year: www​.writ​ing​for​jour​nal​ism​.com. The sto­ries include some about abor­tion, the elderly, urban pol­icy and more.

The Chi­nese stu­dents are among the best and the bright­est, and it’s an oppor­tu­nity for me to see what the next gen­er­a­tion from the Mid­dle King­dom will be like. For the most part, they resem­ble my stu­dents from the United States, but the work ethic is much stronger.

I’ll keep my head down as North Korea, the South China Sea and other issues swirl around me.

For the third straight year, I am headed to China, where I will teach students at the International School at Jinan University in Guangzhou, formerly known as Canton in South China.

The trip allows me an opportunity to travel throughout China, Thailand and Myanmar, where I continue my own “Asia pivot” after years of reporting on terrorism and the Middle East.

I will keep you up to date, with my travels and travails. I start in Xi’an, the one-time capital of China, where the Terra Cotta warriors were found in the 1970s. I visited Xi’an two years ago, but I wanted to travel to a nearby locale, where the only empress of China, Wu Zetian (624-705), is buried.

Wu was the concubine of Emperor Taizong. After his death, she married his successor—his ninth son, Emperor Gaozong, in 655. After Gaozong’s debilitating stroke in 660, Wu Zetian became administrator of the court, a position equal to an emperor, until 705.

She is buried in the Qianlong Mausoleum, which is something I’ve always wanted to see.

A mural in the Qianling Mausoleum

Hangzhou, the Venice of China, is my next stop. That’s where the G20 met last year. The city is known for its key role in the early canal system of the country.

Hangzhou

After that, I head out of China as it celebrates May Day, and millions of people throughout the Communist world launch some sort of remembrance for International Workers’ Day.

In Thailand, which has no May Day parties, I will head to the north, where I will stop in Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, the locale for the famed Golden Triangle.

After a few days, I head for Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, which is being ruled rather poorly by Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel Peace Prize winner who ousted the longtime dictatorship.

But I’m not there for the politics; I am visiting for the famed Buddhist shrines in Bagan and Yangon.

Buddhist shrines in Myanmar

Then it’s back to southern China, where I will teach Journalism Research and In-Depth Reporting for sophomore students. Here is what my class produced last year: www.writingforjournalism.com. The stories include some about abortion, the elderly, urban policy and more.

The Chinese students are among the best and the brightest, and it’s an opportunity for me to see what the next generation from the Middle Kingdom will be like. For the most part, they resemble my students from the United States, but the work ethic is much stronger.

I’ll keep my head down as North Korea, the South China Sea and other issues swirl around me.