VANISHING ROOTS - Paolo Marchetti Photographer

Unseen & Untold China

In southern China, bordering Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar, the last Himalayan peaks protect a very special region: Yunnan, literally “south of the clouds.”
In China, which for vastness’ is the third nation in the world after Russia and Canada, are living more than 1 billion 300 million people. A resident on five of the planet Earth, is Chinese.
93% of China’s population is represented by people of Han ethnicity. The remaining part of the Chinese population is fragmented into 56 different ethnic minorities, more than half ‘of whom live in the far South-west of the country, just in Yunnan.
These populations are highly heterogeneous from the point of view purely socio-cultural and religious.
Their culture, with appropriate specifications, is a mixture of different religious elements which come together in a strange syncretism between them, many beliefs, including Taoism, Confucianism and Buddhism, but there are also elements of primitive-based shamanic religions, other borrowed from Islam, and to a lesser extent by Christianity.
Ancient traditions and cultures characterize these populations, whose ancestors can still be found before the Qin and Han dynasties, over thousands of years ago.
These people, who often live in conditions of substantial isolation, are the last repositories of ancient languages that are dying, heirs of ancient traditions such as knowledge of medical herbs or clever construction of houses in dark pine.
What is quickly weakening the identity of these ethnic groups?
For decades now, many efforts are made by the Chinese government to extend its economic influence in areas populated by ethnic minorities and the imposition of political and socio-cultural development in the territory, is rapidly demolishing the identity of these populations .

The chinese regime has put his focus to the regional economic development by financing large scale projects, especially for energy supply, such as dams, oil pipelines, refineries and a vast plan of infrastructure entrusted to chinese companies etc..
China continues to sign bilateral agreements for its supply of highways, linking the province of Yunnan with Burma state.
Today the settlements key to the work of extension of infrastructure and energy investments are precisely the lands of certain ethnic minorities, their villages were swept away by the great works promoted by the Chinese government and promoted by neighboring economic giants.

The direct consequence is the extinction of an ancient culture in favor of a policy of regime only determined to accelerate the exponential growth of its economy.

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