Lanzhou (兰州) New Area. The Chinese folk classic “The Foolish Old Man Removes Mountains” tells the tale of a 90-year-old man named Yugong (meaning Mr. Fool). The mountains Taixing and Wangwu were blocking the way to his house, so he decided to remove them to ease the traffic. He is so determined that this task cannot be done in his time, the generations after him, one after the other, were to finish the resettlement of the mountains. Mao Zedong gave a speech with the same title, The Foolish Old Man Removes Mountains, in calling an international united front of the proletarians against imperialism and capitalism in 1945 when the communist China was founded.
The classic has its contemporary version in today’s China – in Lanzhou New Area, Gansu (甘肃) Province, hundreds of mountains are being removed to build a new city. The advertisement renders the vision of a green garden landscape with 14 new universities with boulevards of eight lanes for traffic and transportation. Structures of buildings are erected one after the other. On every street corner, surveillance cameras on poles are set for the future control society. Wide freshly paved streets with newly planted trees are located in the former desert.
The new area of Lanzhou, after having changed the natural environment is supposed to be a university town to make people wise, which is not only the reversal of Mr. Fool in the classic tale, but Mao’s speech against Capitalism. The New Lanzhou is still waiting for its dwellers to move in.