The North Star Project, 2013-2014 Report Number Two — Qi’ao Island, China, Brock Erdahl

The North Star Project, 2013-2014 Report Number Two — Qiao Island, China, Brock Erdahl
By Brock Erdahl

2.    Qi’ao Island
Zhuhai’s not so distant past has not faded away entirely.  Qi’ao Island, which is located at the northern end of the city, still contains some tiny villages that eke out a living thanks to farming, fishing, and tourism.  In spite of its impressive economic growth over the last three decades and the fact that this growth has helped to raise the living standards of every Chinese citizen in one way or another, income inequality remains a serious problem throughout China.  Even in the most prosperous parts of the country, it is still startlingly common to see abject poverty and extravagant wealth existing side-by-side.

Qi'ao Island 1

Qi’ao Island is also notable for White Stone Street.  Prior to the First Opium War (1839-1842), the villagers of the island fought against and prevailed over British opium smugglers.  The indemnity subsequently provided to the villagers was used to pave the street with white stones.  Given the humiliation of Chinese sovereignty being repeatedly infringed upon by opium smugglers throughout the 19th century and the Qing Dynasty’s (1644-1912) defeat at the hands of British and French forces in two wars over this matter, the battle at Qi’ao is understandably remembered quite favorably today.  The city of Zhuhai even decided to commemorate it with statues.
Qi'ao Island 2

For all of the North Star Project 2013-2014 Reports, see

For all of the North Star Project 2013 Summer Reports, see

The North Star Project: Collaboration between The Middle Ground Journal Student Interns, The College of St. Scholastica, and North Star Academy 8th Grade Global Studies Classes, 2013-2014 School Year Reports.

Under the leadership of our North Star host teachers and student interns, The North Star Project has flourished for two years. For a brief summary, please see a recent article in the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at:

Having re-tooled and re-designed the collaborative program, we are drawing on the experience of our veteran student interns, ideas from our host teachers, and new projects provided by our incoming student interns. This school year The Middle Ground Journal will share brief dispatches from our North Star Project student interns, particularly from those who are currently stationed, or will soon be stationed abroad. As of the time of this report we have confirmed student interns who will be reporting from Mongolia, Southern China, Shanghai, northeastern China, The Netherlands, Tanzania, Ireland, England, Finland, Russia, and Haiti. We also have students developing presentations on theatrical representations of historical trauma, historical memory, the price individuals pay during tragic global conflicts, and different perceptions of current events from around the world.  We will post their brief dispatches here, and report on their interactions with the North Star students and teachers throughout the school year.

Hong-Ming Liang, Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal, The College of St. Scholastica, Duluth, MN, USA, 2013-2014 School Year

(c) 2013 The Middle Ground Journal, Number 7, Fall, 2013. See Submission Guidelines page for the journal’s not-for-profit educational open-access policy.

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Filed under Brock M. Erdahl, Professor Hong-Ming Liang

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