Every month Salween Stories launches a new set of stories from a town or region on the Salween River Basin. This month they take us to Nujiang, Yunnan, China, the start of the Salween River and home to the "Grand Canyon of the East," a variety of ethnic communities, a an ecosystem unlike any other.
The Nu River (怒江), also known as the Angry River, is located in Nujiang Lisu Autonomous Prefecture, Yunnan Province, China. Its origin is the Qinghai-Tibet plateau, nestled between the Gaoligong and Biluo Snow Mountains.
Known as the "Grand Canyon of the East," it is home to various ethnic groups (Blang, Palaung, Lisu, Nu, Drung, Pumi and Tibetan), who make up 92.2% of the prefecture’s population, with the entire basin in Yunnan having a population of over 4 million people. This region is diverse in biodiversity, and linguistically and culturally, with its people practicing a wide array of religious/spiritual beliefs and traditions.
Significantly, after decades of these plans for hydropower development, the Chinese government is now rethinking its approach and setting up the area with special protections and legal standing in order to shed a "green" light on the area’s natural beauty, people and resources. This conservation pathway has taken on the form of establishing a national park, which gives priority to ecological protection, and protecting indigenous people’s culture and way of life. This new vision aims to generate income and alternative livelihood from increased eco-tourism once the park officially opens to the public.
Please visit the Salween Stories website to discover more about the local history, myths and customs of Mong Pan. View the trailer below: