Compilation: China Yunnan International Culture Exchange Center. Publisher: Yunnan Fine Arts Publishing House. Size: 21 x 29 (cm). Quantity: 239 pages, Year: 2005
“Upstream is where I live, downstream is where you dwell; boundless love is what we have, life on the river is what we share.” Late Marshal Chen Yi wrote this beautiful and passionate poem 47 years ago. In these profound and long lasting verses the poet wished eternity and happiness for all alongside the river.
Originating from the northern foot of Mount Tangula in the Tibet-Qinghai Plateau, Mekong is the greatest international river in Asia. When its two main headstreams Zaqu River and Angqu River converge at Changdu in Tibet, the river is called Lancangjiang. The Lancang-Mekong is 4880km long, with a overall drainage area of 810 thousand square kilometers and a total fall of 5167 meters. The river is known in China as Lancangjiang, with a length of 2161 kilometers, and named Mekong outside China with a length of 2719 kilometers. From the north, Lancangjiang flows southwards across the provinces of Qinghai, Tibet and Yunnan in China. In Yunnan Province, Lancangjiang runs through 8 prefectures and cities including Diqing, Nujiang, Lijiang, Dali, Baoshan, Lincang, Simao and Xishuangbanna. Leaving China in Mengla County, Xishuangbanna Prefecture, Lancang-Mekong runs through Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam before it pours into South China Sea at Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon).
The Mekong is a river blessed with breathtaking natural beauty. Whether snow-capped mountains or verdant plains, its rivulet-woven headstreams or the boundless sea, be it billowing riptide or twinkling calm surface, whether jungles inhabited by wild animals or villages of diversified ethnic groups with rich cultural heritages, sacred Meili Snow Mountain or the Three Parallel Rivers Region, all are naturally bestowed fortunes and ever appealing works of classic beauty.
The Mekong, where the grass is green, elephants howl and monkeys sing, pooling together tens of thousands of biological species from tropic to alpine and jokul zones, is an unique world-class treasure trove of biological resources. Here the flora is complex, concentrated, interweaving and interactive, making it the locus for the variation of some paritcular plants, and a natural incubator for new breeds to be discovered. Here many precious, rare and unique species and living fossils are found, including category one state protected animals such as black snubnosed monkey, Asian elephant, Indochinese tiger, gnu, gibbon, Nycticebus coucang, hornbill, etc., and category two state protected animals such as pangolin, Phayre’s leaf-monkey, Assamese macaque and green peacock. Rare plants include Taiwania flousiana, Podozamites, Abies gorgei, Chinese yew, dove tree, teak, and rosewood.
The Mekong, surging forward restlessly, represents a huge potential reserve of waterpower energy, with completed hydropower stations such as Manwan, Dachaoshan, Xiaowan, all with megawatt capacity, already attracting world attention. The total reservoir storage capacity of hydropower stations in all steps of the trunk stream register over 50 billion cubic meters which, through systematic development and joint operation, will have a positive and significant influence in regulating the water level both in dry and flood seasons, improving shipping conditions and reducing flood disasters along the Mekong.
The Mekong, with its great length and long history, has nurtured the cultures of Tibet, Dongba, Nanzhao, Buddhism and Angor Wat (Khmer), all wonders of oriental civilization. Relics of these civilizations stand today telling of past glory and evanescence of the diversified cultures, shocking, intoxicating and appealing.
The Mekong as a shared resource fosters good neighborliness for international discourse, and has been the link and tie for the people along the river and a passageway for economic and cultural exchange between the nations along its banks since ancient times. People along the Mekong drainage area share common religious beliefs, similar languages, customs and habits. They identify with each other’s culture and have mutually complementary economies and cultures. Friendships among the countries along the Mekong will drawn even closer by the development of the China-AFTA.
The pictures of this photo album present both an impersonal, full and accurate account of the social environment, folk customs, historic sites and natural scenery of the peoples and nations along the Mekong, as well as a comprehensive, complete and detailed graphic record of the Lancang-Mekong, with uncommonly rich content and photographs of rare fascination.
This photo album offers a new perspective by combining the abundance of precious and comprehensive photographs with articles written by experts and scholars in rivers, nature and cultural studies from China and the five countries in the Indochina Peninsula, and for the first time discloses the past and present of the Lancang-Mekong in a comprehensive, objective, realistic and lively manner.
This photo album is a trinity of history, information and fun. It is uniquely heavy with the weight of history, coupled with the review, exploration and reflection of some vital issues involving sustainable development and coexistence in harmony with nature.
The publication and release of this photo album will further strengthen cultural exchange among the people in the Mekong drainage area and thereby promote regional cultural and economic cooperation. Through the preservation and rational utilization of the natural and cultural heritages, mutual understanding and trust among the people along the Mekong can be enhanced, amity and good neighborliness can be further entrenched, and suspicion and doubt can be dispelled. The publication and release of this photo album is also complementary with the strategy of “boosting the cross-border economy and benefiting the people” that Yunnan Provincial Government pursues and is destined to contribute to the coordinated and sustainable development and building up of a peaceful and prosperous Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS).
Beautiful and awesome landscape, rich and abundant natural resources, profound cultural diversity, and a great development potential are the concepts and understandings that this photo album seeks to convey to the reader. We need to cherish and take good care of this Mother River, so that it can continue nourishing the culture and economies of its drainage areas, till the end of time. “Together we drink from the same river, together we build our homestead.”
The book includes the following contents:
Chapter One: Landscape
Chapter Two: Biodiversity
Chapter Three: Cultural Diversity
Chapter Four: Peoples and Their Ways of Life
Chapter Five: Shared Visions of the Future
Chapter Six: Historical Remembrance
The Library of the Vietnam National Museum of History (No. 25 Tong Dan Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi) presents!