CHAPTER 16

Taiyuan: Opium of the People

In 1908, Gustaf Mannerheim noted the rich coal and mineral deposits of Shanxi province. “In the future,” he wrote in his military report, “its material riches will be an inexhaustible source for the state treasury.” Its modern mining and steel industries were still nascent and largely dependent on foreign investment, experts and technology.

Since then, Shanxi has indeed become prosperous thanks to coal, iron and steel, but it is still considered backwards relative to the economic development in other provinces. In addition, its industrial development has come at considerable cost: it is the largest coal-producing province in the country, with 270 billion tons in proven reserves. As a result, Shanxi has the ignominy of having sixteen cities on the State Environmental Protection Administration’s “black list” for air quality below grade 3, meaning they suffer serious pollution. Touring the provincial capital of Taiyuan was physically draining as a result of the heavy pollution.

Route Map


View Horse That Leaps – Eric Enno Tamm in a larger map

Photo Map

Click on the icons to view the photos of my tour of Taiyuan.

Slideshow


Resources

For more information about Taiyuan, check out these links:

Taiyuan Iron and Steel Company (TISCO)
Taiyuan on Wikipedia
Evergreen Missionaries in Taiyuan
Taiyuan Massacre on Wikipedia
Taiyuan Municipal Government