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Documentary shows hidden China

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Brooke Grasso
Metro Editor

Every Friday night, the Students Engaged in Environmental Discussion club shows a movie meant to inform students, faculty and staff on topics that affect the planet and spark conversation.

“The Heart of The Dragon” was featured Nov. 20 in the Arts and Communications Building to show “the last hidden world of China,” as described by the narrator. This episode in the Wild China documentary series by the BBC gave the audience vivid images of some of the highest mountains, searing hot deserts and cold tropical seas.

“It showed us a new image of China that isn’t seen commonly,” said Justin Yeh, a sophomore business major.

“There is so much nature and so much opportunity to explore China.”

The documentary discussed many places in China that have never been seen.

“We see it in such a mechanized way, that we aren’t able to fully appreciate it for what it is,” Yeh said.

The audience was taken on a trip around China and shown some of the traditions that are still being upheld, although many are giving way to urban life.

These lifestyles and traditions include using all of their resources and continuing to cultivate rice paddies.

Many of those still living in areas of China that have not been urbanized use every resource they have and rarely waste anything. Cow manure can even be used as fuel.

“Any native culture that lives in contact with the land understands you have to have a cycling process,” said Jay Jones, professor of biology and biochemistry and adviser of SEEDS. “Sensitivity to nature is something that you come to know with contact and we are isolated.”

Video of animals in their natural habitats was also portrayed throughout the documentary. However, it was also mentioned that animals in China are facing competition for space and resources because every square inch of land is being pressed into cultivation.

Langur monkeys, baby Chinese alligators, bats and more were all shown up close, cleaning themselves, searching for food, playing and relaxing.

A night scene of a bat flying through the air above water showed the bat hunting for its food, and when it finally caught a minnow it was able to eat it while hanging upside down. The documentary described this as especially interesting because bats are blind and do not have any hands.

Another animal shown was described as “China’s strangest creature.” The Chinese giant salamander is also known as the baby fish, because when it is under stress it cries out like a baby does.

These animals can grow up to 1.5 meters long, making them the largest amphibian. Unfortunately, they are endangered because although they are illegal to hunt for, they are desired for food.

The movie nights are held every Friday in the Arts and Communications Building Room 212 at 7 p.m.

“We always discuss what we see, and learn,” Jones said. “This is a service too, we provide educational awareness we don’t normally get.”

Brooke Grasso can be reached at

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