China Tour 2010 Pre-tour Talk

2010 China tour

Pre-tour Talk

Conservation of Old Shanghai and the Water-towns of South-east China
Date: Saturday 15th May 2010
Time: 4.30 pm
Venue: Room G3, SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies), University of London, Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG


In the wake of modernization, much of China’s old buildings and streets have been demolish
ed and replaced with monstrous high-rises.  Shanghai, under greater pressure than ever to develop, is no exception.  The iconic colonial buildings along the Bund would have been destroyed, if it had not been for Professor Ruan Yisan of Tongji University in Shanghai.  Renowned urban planner and fierce campaigner, he has saved many of Shanghai’s old buildings and districts, which have now become the city’s landmarks.

In the rural areas of south-east China, too, Prof Ruan has been instrumental in refurbishing water-towns, such as Suzhou, Shaoxing and Wuzhen, so that they can attract tourists while keeping their rustic charm. But he’s racing against time ….

Our Chair Peng Wenlan will be showing a short documentary about Prof Ruan’s work in Shanghai and its surrounding villages.  This will serve as a prelude to our summer tour, which will start in Shanghai – where Prof Ruan will take us on a guided tour of the city – and follow a trail of water-towns in Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces.  Their magic has inspired many a poem and they have provided the setting for films and novels.  Many of these towns are also renowned for their handicraft industries.

All are welcome to attend the talk.  Those interested in joining the tour will have a chance to ask questions.

Please email us at to reserve your seat. (Non-member contribution: £3 if attending only this part of talk)