Zhongdian is a small Tibetan town in the northeast corner of Yunnan Province, China. It was the southeastern-most area of Tibet before the Chinese invasion of 1950
. After China took control, they split it from the what is today considered Tibet (actually now called Xijang, or the Tibet Autonomous Region**) In 2001, the Chinese government officially changed the name from “Zhongdian” to “Shangri-la
“, but the local population still refer to it by its Tibetan name Gyalthang (རྒྱལ་ཐང་རྫོང)
Traditionally Tibetan, the town has had a large immigration of Han Chinese for decades and most of the new town has a real Chinese feel to it.. Still, the surrounding countryside and the old town has held on to its Tibetan feel and many locals can be seen going about their daily business in traditional clothing customary to their local Tibetan tribes.
I visited Zhongdian in 2005 and in 2007 and the amount that it changed in those two years surprised me, but it is an interesting study in the growth of modern China, and the part that tourism is playing.
Every evening, people meet in the old town's center to dance and sing.
Categories: PHOTOGRAPHY, Tibet, TRAVEL
Tags: China, Ganden Sumtseling Monastery, Gyalthang, Lost Horizon, Shangri La, Shangrila, Tibet, Yunnan, Yunnan Province, Zhongdian, 中國