"There’s a certain Chinese flavour in the air at the moment." That's how I started a post over on my Great Exhibitions blog about some of the China exhibitions opening this year. As I said over there, it's mostly fuelled by the upcoming Bejing Olympics in the summer, but interest in China has spilled out well beyond sport. I even watched a fairly big segment on Newsnight yesterday about the changing business and trade union relationships over there.
Something in all has made me start to investigate a possible holiday to China at the end of the summer. I'm interested in visiting some of the impressive-looking architecture in their Olympic village (although after the sporting events are all over), as well as their other new building projects, and of course their amazing historic monuments. I'd also like the chance to get a feel for the culture and way of life of the huge population that live there.
Perhaps though, I'm just getting caught up in all the hype. Perhaps visiting a country purely on the back of their international tourism marketing and a sporting event isn't a very sensible way of picking a holiday destination.
China is also a political hot potato. Their human rights record is being widely condemned. There's the protest and unrest surrounding the Tibetan issue, and many people (including Steven Spielberg) have called for a boycott of the Olmypic Games.
I have to admit, I haven't invested much time in reading about these issues and the political backstory behind them. I realise I probably should. Planning a visit to China might give me the impetus to learn more, and if I visit the country, I can try and discover some of the situation for myself.
At this stage, I'm still making my mind up and open to persuasion. Should I visit China? If I do, what should I see and do?
If I do go, I'd like to record as much of my experience as possible - shooting video, taking pictures, blogging (or at least writing notes for blog entries to post when I get back) and so on.
What do you think?