The end of the year is a special time in which editors and writers around the world recycle content from the previous twelve months and repackage it as new content. We at GoKunming are not above this practice, so here's our look at the people and events that shaped 2009 in Kunming and Yunnan.
China and Vietnam finally got around to demarcating their borders where Yunnan meets Vietnam, a big step forward for the former foes. A Yunnan Copper executive was sentenced to death for accepting bribes. Yunnan University set up a Confucius Institute in Iran.
GoKunming cycled into southern Yunnan's jungles and Yuxi contained a cholera outbreak. Yunnan snub-nosed monkeys were rebounding from the brink of extinction. A new airport opened in Tengchong. The death of Li Qiaoming in Jinning police custody raised eyebrows nationwide when the police said he died while playing "elude the cat", a Chinese version of hide and seek. The subsequent PR fallout was handled in a rather interesting fashion by Kunming publicity department wunderkind Wu Hao.
An elderly woman in Kunming got off with a warning after being busted for growing more than 60 poppy plants on her rooftop. The Kunming government was grappling with drought. Documentary film festival Yunfest returned to Kunming after a four-year absence. Kunming was named host city of a national amateur tennis league.
GoKunming spent a tipsy afternoon in the corner of a bar with the Tribal Moons. Hemp production was being promoted in Yunnan by the central government as a means of poverty alleviation, while Yunnan's rivers and lakes were going to pot. Mining, hydropower stations and prescription drugs were filling the coffers of Yunnan's richest residents. Yunnan was on alert against H1N1.
The Wal-Mart at Xiao Xi Men was evacuated after a bomb threat was phoned in by an unknown individual. GoKunming took a peek into the world of alcohol promotion in Chinese bars and KTVs. Dali, Yuanyang and Chengjiang were hoping to become World Heritage Sites. Yunnan's dairy industry was still suffering from the fallout of 2008's melamine scandal. The United Nations was worrying aloud about the impact of dams on the upper reaches of the Mekong in Yunnan.
No cocaine was found in Red Bull being sold in Kunming. The municipal PSB had its hands full dealing with the "virgin prostitute" case. Bus passengers repelled a robbery attempt by two knife-wielding men, leaving one of the would-be robbers dead and the other seriously injured. Dali announced that it was going to build a massive amusement park. Kunming hosted two trade expos that generated US$2 billion in contracted and actual transactions. Pollution was killing off the endangered Mekong dolphin.
The Yunnan government was pushing for a new Eurasian land bridge that would connect Shenzhen with Rotterdam via Kunming. Kunming's economy grew by 8.8 percent. China's central government criticized a dam being built between Yunnan and Sichuan for misallocation of funds and Chinese President Hu Jintao toured Yunnan to emphasize ethnic unity in the wake of the Urumqi riots.
Kunming's chengguan were still unpopular and another detainee died in Kunming police custody. India pulled out of the plan to revive the Stilwell Road linking Kunming with Ledo. Kunming had the second-cleanest air among Chinese cities and Yulong Snow Mountain's glaciers were disappearing. Ethnic Chinese refugees from Myanmar were fleeing into Yunnan by the thousands.
Kunming's rainy season was not so rainy. Kunmingers were being asked to spit their phlegm into small "environmentally friendly" bags. A plan to link Kunming and Dali via high-speed rail was announced. Rebranded Shaolin temples opened in Kunming's Guandu district.
GoKunming visited the Dwarf Empire. China was pressuring Myanmar to stabilize its border areas near Yunnan. A Kindergarten teacher admitted to pricking students with a syringe as punishment and a Yunnan University professor held China's first UFO forum at Dongfeng Plaza.
Mastodon fossils found in northeast Yunnan were providing clues on the evolution of mammals. Phil Mickelson announced plans to open a golf course and academy in Kunming. Arun Veembur passed on. Yunnan was coping with a water crisis. Shafted Luosiwan shopowners scrapped with the police. Kunming was adding 900 cars to its roads daily. An alleged American "ecoterrorist" was sentenced to three years in prison in Dali for selling drugs.
Dali opened a government-funded gay bar. The Trans-Asian Railway's future was in doubt because of a spat between Thailand and Cambodia. The Yunnan Honghe Running Bulls were kicked out of the CBA. Kunming sentenced gang leaders to death and the third detainee in one year died in Kunming police custody. China and Laos agreed to create a cross-border nature reserve. GoKunming went on a much-needed bicycle trip to the Vietnamese border.