Although both Beijing and Shanghai were popular cities in China, their different geographical locations changed their fates wholly, leading to distinct imprints in Chinese history. Their diverse historical developments could be demonstrated through Becker's City of Heavenly Tranquility: Beijing in the History of China and Wasserstrom's Global Shanghai, 1850-2010, as they provided rich outlooks into the unique constructions of Beijing and Shanghai.
[...] (Wassserstrom 67) Then, when I witnessed Shanghai in 2009, I noticed that the architectures of the Bund were remarkably varied, demonstrating how the marks of imperialism were still strongly visible, and that there were little changes taking place since 1900s. However, despite the fact that urban Shanghai has always been in the state of modernity, it was still in constant fervor of deconstruction and then reconstruction to capture the latest sights of modernity. An example would be the overwhelming presence of World Expo 2010 mascots, as they symbolized Shanghai's drive to be heavily globalized, despite the fact that it was already in a modern state. [...]
[...] This is further illustrated through Wasserstrom's remark, where divide between Shanghai's attractions as a place to live and its status as an emblem of national humiliation made the relationship between cosmopolitan nationalists and the city a complex and ambiguous one.” (Wasserstrom 68) Thus, based on these examples, it was lucid that Shanghai was filled with so much uncertainty and contradicting perspectives that one needs to look at it in a gestalt manner to truly comprehend its nature of commercialization. Although the complex natures of Beijing and Shanghai were heightened through China's process of deconstructing and then reconstructing their cities, their inherent significance as the political and commercial centers remained the same. For instance, when I went to Beijing in May 2009, I heard that the Hutongs were being destroyed at a rapid rate. Then, according to Michael Crooks, many of the destroyed spaces were reserved for the Beijing 2008 Olympics site. [...]
[...] 17) Although the rigid Great Wall embodied a strong sense of security, courage and protection, the manner in which it failed to stop the Manchu armies from invading portrayed how stones of Beijing therefore tell a story of greatness, of courage and resistance, but also of defeat and humiliation.” (Becker 18) More importantly, the failure was significant, as they seemed to reinforce the atmosphere of constant political turmoil surrounding imperialism in pre-1949 Beijing. The unstable political nature of Beijing became visibly surfaced when it reached the 1800s, where China was facing a national crisis. [...]
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