In the 1980’s whenever I went to China people would stare at me as I was funny looking to them, not only because of my skin and eyes but my clothes stuck out like a sore thumb. They were all dressed in Mao suits that were army green or navy blue. The kids would laugh and point at me. I took a train too Nanjing on business but since I all ready told you how great the train system is in China I will jump forward to my arrival at the train station in Nanjing as the train ride was uneventful.
Upon arrival at the Nanjing train station and making my way out of the station gates, I noticed there were many police or Army soldiers with their AK 47 rifles. I do not know why there were so many at the station because normally you did not see many police around. When I was near the exit a woman with a baby strapped on her back came running up to me with her hand out begging for money. She was dressed in old torn clothes and by her appearance looked like she had not bathed in a few weeks. In China begging is against the law. It is unlawful to beg or to give money to beggars. The police saw this woman approach me and took immediate action. One officer ran over, and with the butt of his rifle struck the woman in the head and knocked her down, just missing the baby. I was surprised and stopped to help the woman but he started yelling at me and waived his gun at me to keep moving. I got outside the gate and looked back and she was getting up with the help of the police who took her arm and led her away. I didn’t stay around to see where they took her and proceeded to the taxi stand.
At the taxi stand was a horse drawn cart with three men dressed in old dirty furs that made them look like mountain men. I wished I had a camera but as a rule I never took a camera into China for fear of taking pictures that were not permitted. You had to be very careful in those days. I didn’t want to be arrested as a spy for taking pictures and thrown into a Chinese jail to rot.
The three mountain men, looking like something out of the 1800’s, wearing dirty fur jackets, hats and pants. One man came up to me pointing toward their horse drawn cart. I carefully observed him as he had a gun. I looked and all of them had guns. The guns were old flint lock type and had to be 200 year sold. The man’s hands were ruff, and dirty. His face was weathered and looked like dried up leather. It was clear this guy had spent most of his life living in the outdoors. I walked over to the little wooden cart and it was full of animal furs and animal parts. I saw a tiger head, tiger rug, tiger paws, bear rugs, and bear paws were all piled in the cart. They were trying to sell these animal skins and furs for money. I knew the tiger was on the international endangered list of animals and is not to be killed, but I sure would have liked to buy that tiger rug. It was so big and beautiful. I refused to buy it because I did not think I could get it back into the states and I had no way to carry the huge thing. Every time I refused one animal they would present another.
Finally they offered me the best item of all, the Tiger penis. Tiger penis is a valuable item in Asia and it is used by the herbal doctors. It is also believed that eating the dried tiger penis will give you more testosterone. The penis was about 16 inches long and had the testacies still attached. The one mountain man spoke in his best English; Tiger penis one hundred American dollars. The Tiger rug was only fifty dollars. I refused the offer and they were all disappointed as I walked away to get a taxi.
In 1993 China band the sale of Tiger parts and bones which are in big demand for their healing and aphrodisiac qualities sited by Greenovate on the world wide web. Tiger skins have become much desired among China’s rich. A skin sells for up toUS$20.000 and a paw for $1,000. It is estimated that as of 2010 there are only 20 wild tigers left in China. There is a zoo in Guilin China that raises tigers and bears but no one knows what they do with these animals.
I went to Nanjing Electronics company for a sales meeting. I told them of the mountain men selling Tiger parts and they advised me this was normal for these men come to Nanjing from the mountains to sell the animals they had killed while hunting. They called them Tiger Hunters. I explained that killing a Tiger is against the international law. They advised me international law does not control what happens in China. The subject was dropped and no more was said.
Nanjing is the capital of Jiangsu Province. To get to Nanjing the best way was to take a train from Shanghai. There was only one plane per day and taking airplanes in China then was dangerous because they used Russian planes. Planes were never on time and sometimes they would not show up leaving you waiting all day. China never published how many plane crashes they would have and if you died in a plane accident your family would never know what happen to you. That scared me so I always tried not to fly while in China.
Nanjing is located on the Yangtze river and was established around 400 B.C. according to Wikedia. Emperor Taizu of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) conquered the city and some years later the emperor made Nanjing the capital of the China. Nanjing was also a key city in the Opium Wars in 1839 which China lost to Great Britain and then signed the Nanjing Treaty which ceded Hong Kong to Great Britain for 99 years. This is how Hong Kong came under British control. Great Britain was the largest sea power in the world at the time and had large trading company settlements in Hong Kong. The treaty lease has expired and China now controls Hong Kong once again. During World War ll the Japanese committed the Nanjin massacre killing some estimated 200,000 Chinese people.
Coming next Part 6 China and Dr. Chen
References: Tigers, http://www.greennovate.net/2010/05/getting_tough_on_saving_tigers/