In this photo, an elderly man uses a brush dipped in water to write a poem at the Yuan Dynasty City Wall park in Beijing.
Some Chinese practice calligraphy at parks for exercise, while others do it to show off their handwriting.
Chinese leader Mao Zedong and the Communist Party once considered doing away with Chinese characters and instead using a Roman-based alphabet system. The plan failed, but the millenia-old writing system now faces another threat: texting.
Like the rest of the world, more and more Chinese are using cell phones to communicate. And with this gadget offering autocorrect texting, it’s a lot easier to write on a cell phone than by long hand. Even with my limited Mandarin, I can string together a few sentences using the Chinese-character software on my iPhone.
Could these handwriting artists be a dying breed, another casualty of convenience over quality in our technology-driven world?
For the sake of preserving one of the traditions of an ancient culture, which gives this world its diversity, let’s hope not.