â€œIn China, university students are an important political force. In a country where there is widespread illiteracy combined with a lack of a democratic tradition, young students filled with some learning and much zeal are political enthusiasts.â€  Collective demonstrations of resolve extended to non-political activities as well. Here West China Union students march in a parade that was part of campus festivities.
Like a number of other colleges and universities founded by Westerners in the early twentieth century, West China Union University was built to modern specifications but in a Chinese style. The main building, with its pagoda-like tower, is an example of this kind of gesture toward tradition.
On the rooftop were the green vegetables drying in the sun.â€ 
â€œI have often thought about the question: â€˜What makes a city glamorous?â€™ Certain cities, Paris, Peiping, New York, San Francisco, have a certain â€˜itâ€™ that most cities lack. One of the factors of a cityâ€™s appeal, I think, is concerned with geographyâ€¦On its narrow peninsula where the Chaling joins the Yangtze, Chungking rises on its steep bluffs out of the mists of its rivers.â€ [17 â€œOn an island in the Yangtzeâ€¦is the Chungking winter airportâ€¦In Februaryâ€™s low water the island was alâ€™ but connected with the Chungking shore.â€ 
â€œAcross the plain to the horizon were the small patches in shades of green. Scattered under bamboos turned ever so slightly yellow were the farmhouses of frame bamboo covered with bamboo matting and rice straw thatching. Occasionally there was a more prosperous, tile-roofed farmhouse surrounded by a wall. Inside were the family, the chickens, the pigs, the water buffalo.â€ [6-7]
Calisthenics. Don Flaherty also witnessed a political demonstration while in Chengdu. â€œThe students at Szechwan National Universityâ€¦which is just down the Min River from Chengtu, once obtained the release of a former City councilor arrested by the secret policeâ€¦[O]ne evening when [the councilor] was walking down a city street he was grabbed by a man in a jeep and whisked off to an unlighted prison cell. His wife got in touch with the Student Self Government Association at Szechwan National University, where he was well known and admired because of his speeches `in the name of the peopleâ€™ thereâ€¦The next morning more than 2,000 students were on the marchâ€¦About one in ten left his classes at West China Union to join the protest.â€ 
â€œThe water is raised by crude wooden chain lifts whose treadles are worked by the feet of of two, four, or even six men.â€ 
â€œWhere there are streams of sufficient force there are water wheels. The force of the water against the baffles turns the wheel, raising bamboo tubes which have collected water and emptying the tubes at the top into a trough, from which bamboos lead to the terraces to be irrigated.â€ 
â€œIn the Châ€™in Dynasty Li-Ping became Governor of Szechwan and engineered the division of the water of the Min River as it enters the Chengtu Plain at Kuanhsien so that the whole plain is irrigated, and thanks to his genius there has never been a famine on the Chengdu Plain.â€ 
â€œThere are also streets whose craftsmenâ€¦produce shoes, furniture, cotton goods, woolen cloth, silk embroideries, pewter, wood carvings, and pottery.â€ 
Foot races at West China Union University
Donald W. Flaherty (1921-1986) taught political science and Asian Studies at Dickinson College from 1951 to 1983. Professor Flaherty had many academic interests, including constitutional law. But he made it clear to students and colleagues alike that his greatest concern as a teacher and scholar was teach about Asia, its history, politics, economic life, and culture. Following his death in 1986, his formers students, friends, and colleagues established the Donald W. Flaherty Lecture in Asian Studies in honor.We may trace the roots of this lifelong passion to his experiences during and after the Second World War. Like many American Asianists of his generation, Don Flaherty served in the Pacific. After the war, he sought a teaching post in China. The images in this presentation are part of a collection of slides taken by Don Flaherty during his residency as a Syracuse-in-China Teaching Fellow at West China Union University, Chengdu, Sichuan. Quoted passages are from Professor Flahertyâ€™s memoir of that time, Broken Bits.
Don Flaherty joined the faculty of West China Union University as an English instructor. â€œWest China Union University is a private institution operated by American, Canadian, and English protestant missionary societies. During the Japanese war its campus was the seat of refugee universities from [Beiping, Jinan,] and Nanking. Now there are some 1500 students on its campus who are students of arts, science, medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, education, and bio-chemistry. About half of the men students dress I western fashion with sports jackets and slacks. There are even a few large knotted tiesâ€¦The other half of the men wear ankle length gowns. These are usually dark blue, and have long sleeves. â€œ 
In Nei Kiang, Don Flaherty rendezvoused with friends to make the rest of the journey by jeep. The roads remained rough but passable with rivers crossed by ferry boat. â€œThe ferrymen begin work at dawn, the postal truck for Chungking usually being the first vehicle across. Just at dawn we reached the end of the road, and drove the jeep aboard the ferry. While we were waiting for the ferrymen to arrive, Olin and I got some boiling water from a man selling tea, and , using the hood of the jeep as a dressing table washed and shaved. There was even time to eat some eggs poached in water sweetened with sugar and wine. The postal truck with my friends of the day before didnâ€™t arrive, and we made the trip across all alone.â€ 
â€œThere were places where manâ€™s geometry was impossible, and the red, yellow, or chocolate brown earth stood chin up. There was little foliage, the hills centuries ago having been denuded of trees in the clearing of the land or because of the great need for fuel. There were clumps of the quick growing, great grass, bamboo, and scattered oil trees of tung and castor, pruned to within an inch of their lives.â€ 
â€œThe road in from the bridge and the old South gate is one of the cityâ€™s main arteries.â€ 
â€œMy room was directly on the city wall at the top of a cliff overlooking the Chaling River. Below were the black tiled roofs of houses hugging the cliff with black wisps of smoke adding to the mistâ€
â€œShortly after five Lusa, the rickshaw puller, and I left our riverside compound for the city. [Huaxida], which is the Romanization of the Chinese characters meaning West China Union University campus, lies just south of the Min River, which serves as a moat around Chengtu. We crossed the river by means of the Marco Polo bridge â€“ so called because it is described in THE TRAVELS OF MARCO POLO. The marble facings were long ago removed, leaving only a rough, old graceful span.â€ 
â€œIn the last twenty years several of the city streets have been widened.â€  On the modern, paved and widened streets photographed by Don Flaherty, bicycles now raced past rickshaws under the watchful gaze of modern police. â€œOn the streets there are a few jeeps and civilian cars. At each bridge there is usually a broken-down truck, unable to make the grade. There are young Chinese, and foreigners of all ages on bicycles. There are many rickshaws: broken down public ones whose coolies wear straw sandals even in the coldest weather, and shiny private ones with pneumatic tires, upholstery, tiger skin lap robes, feather dusters and better dressed coolies.â€ [68-69]
â€œThe coeds skirts are definitely long. Dresses fall to within 12, some even to within 10 inches off the floor. However, they are slit to the knee and it is possible to walk in a Chinese long dress. In cool weather the well dressed coed wears a sports jacket over her dress. The jacket is as simple as a manâ€™s but more colorful. The coed is a bobby soxer. In a land of unheated buildings she has to be. Her shoes are of the sports type, with t-h-i-c-k rubber soles.â€ 
American educators were a tightly knit group and they maintained their school ties and affiliations in China.
Don Flaherty participated in the life of the university, including giving a lecture on contemporary â€œlife and lettersâ€ entitled â€œThe Twentieth Century Limited.â€
Craftsmen engages in the same sort of work usually have shops on the same street. On sliver street, artisans fashion trays, tea services, eating utensils, and delicate filigree jewelry from pure silverâ€¦Since the war brought the aluminum skins of airplanes there has sprung up an aluminum streetâ€¦
Carrying an automobile across the water.
â€œAs the driver [of the postal truck] started down the mountain he turned off his motor. I braced myself. As we free-wheeled around blind S-curves the driver leaned on his hornâ€¦When our momentum became so great that we couldnâ€™t have gotten around the next curve on even two wheels, the driver reluctantly applied the brakes. The brakes were uneven, and the truck began swaying from side to side. I wondered whether I was lucky or unlucky to be seated so as to be unable to see where I would end.â€