The Yangtze River (扬子江), or “Chang Jiang (长江)”, winds eastward 3,915 miles (6,300 km) in all carrying the melting glaciers high up from the Tibet-Qinghai Plateau of 16,000 ft (5,000 m) in altitude in China into the East China Sea by Shanghai. Since the ancient time, the river has provided “water of life” for those who lived by and thrived, while serving as the rudimental foundation for those densely populated along Southwest, Central, and Eastern regions of China to flourish and build invincible civilizations. Wars, be that romantic, idealistic, or simply meaningless, would come and go; and dynasties (朝代) would change hands (and last names) every few centuries or whenever their version of the King Louis XVI shows up, but the river has always been there to stay. Consequently, the history of China and that of the river would intertwine endlessly and seamlessly through the ages for thousands of years. Of course, it has not always been about the beauty, the ingenuity, and the fortitude, their history would also include the Great 1931 Yangtze River Flood <长江洪水泛滥 1930年代>, which ranked as one of the most deadly natural disasters of the 20th Century, killing nearly 4 million people ranging from drowning to post-flood starvation and infections. Most of them are poor and desolate farmers whom received very little help from the war-ravaged Republic Nationalist Government.
It was at this time before the flood had reached its peak, before all hell broke loose with The Huai River(淮河) joining the act, whilst The Great Yellow River (黄河) creating its own havoc just north of Yangtze – a little girl was born in a small town called Huangmei (黄梅县, 湖北) by the Yangtze River, just north of Kiukiang (Jiujiang, 九江), a small but better known city to the Western world in the Province of Kiangsi (Jiangxi, 江西) because it had been one of the oldest Methodist missionary stations.
And that little girl would survive, and then live through it all....
Some where on the other side the earth just 7,500 miles away lies quietly the famous Hudson River (哈得逊河). This great river would flow southward for some 300 plus miles from The Great Adirondacks of Upper State New York, at a mere altitude of 4,300 ft (1,300 m), meandering through the Hudson Valley and rustling into the embracing Atlantic Ocean by the New York Bay, where the Statue of Liberty would stand in the present days. The river, later named after the English navigator, Henry Hudson, would be life to the Native Americans (the Iroquois and the Lenape, who would call the river Muh-he-kun-ne-tuk, the "Great Mohegan", or Muhheakantuck, "river that flows two ways"), and the European settlers when they rediscovered the North America Continent in the 17th Century. It yields an instant treasure for shipping and affords livelihood for railroad yards and towns that would spring up along its banks across the eastern corridor of America. In short, the Hudson River (哈得逊河) brings water of life. In fact, the most notable disaster was manmade: Chemical pollutants such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) being released into the river’s upstream in the mid 20th Century. The harmful consequences to both wildlife and humans ultimately led to the 1972 US Clean Water Act, thereby acknowledging at last the significance in protecting our environment.
The two Great Rivers – passaging through time at the two ends of the planet while flowing from two completely different sources – would of course never have the chance to meet – perhaps not even in a million years – if it weren’t for that little girl who had survived the Great Flood of Yangtze. In a span of half a century, she would somehow manage to touch both streams.
This is the story that will be told over time, and that little girl was the inspiration behind the theme of this website.
Benjamin R. K. Sun (孫賁)
August 31, 2015 [Rev. 11/27/2015]
(a) Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/)
(b) Letters to and from the Perkins Family.
Inspirations Behind The Website Theme