Phase 1: Posing Real Questions
Over the course of the last month or so, I have worked to narrow my topic down in Phase 0, and have finally settled down with change and development of Xizhou. My plan is to look on the other side of things, which means to get an opinion from the locals who have experienced the changes. A reminder why: the Chinese government has a habit of oversight, grandiosity, and sugarcoating (See: Cultural Revolution, Tiananmen Square Massacre, Starvation Tolls... ) News outlets also have biases (See: Breitbart, Daily Stormer, NYTimes vs. WSJ) My point is not that the government is bad, because they try hard, but that it is good to have other perspectives.
I have a solid knowledge on modern Chinese history in general, from the second Sino-Japanese War to the Cultural Revolution to Deng Xiaoping to the One Belt One Road Initiative. That said, my understanding about Yunnan is minimal. Yunnan has always been a footnote in Chinese history, and I cannot seem to recall anything major about in the last 60 years or so. The last major thing that had happened was the Flying Tigers, which was about WWII.
Most of my knowledge comes from foreign news (I prefer the NYTimes and the Economist), augmented by bits and pieces I hear. I have a habit of absorbing information about places I have been to, and occasionally do research on topics I find interesting. I have never been anywhere near Yunnan, and know next to nothing about it.
I cannot begin to comprehend the sheer immensity of things to be learned and understood. I have purposedly left my topic open, because I have a feeling it is going to change and develop over my stay in Xizhou(Haha). I think that socio-economic change would be the easiest. Political change is a loaded topic, and I should be careful on how far to dig. Culture would be much harder, as the story would be multifaceted and ambiguous to the point confusion. I could delve into environmental change, but I feel that will be brief.