[photopress:zone_shenzhen.jpg,full,alignright]One sometimes needs a totally outside view to get an idea of the way that China has changed in the past few decades.
John Eby is managing editor of the Daily News which is the newspaper for Dowagiac which is in Southwestern Michigan. It has population of 6,147. The city name comes from the Potawatomi Indian word meaning, ‘foraging ground’. The illustration at the end of the article is Dowagiac during the rush hour.
John Eby came to visit China and wrote an article on the subject which, in a sense, was replying to an article by Naomi Klein in the May 29 Rolling Stone. Here are parts of Eby’s article, edited somewhat:
I found Shenzhen itself, the laboratory for ‘market Stalinism,’ the most fascinating aspect. There’s an aerial color photo of this almost unimaginably sprawling megacity of 12.4 million people.
The kicker is that it didn’t exist 30 years ago. Guess capitalism works better for the Chinese than Americans these days.
Shenzhen used to be a string of small fishing villages and collectively run rice paddies, traditional temples and rutted dirt roads.
[photopress:zone_dowagiac.jpg,full,alignleft]Then it was chosen as one of China’s ‘special economic zones,’ one of just four areas where capitalism would be permitted on a trial basis. Probably because of its proximity to Hong Kong’s port. It expanded and swallowed the surrounding Pearl River delta, now home to 100,000 factories.
Luxury condominiums tower over the city. Many are more than 40 stories high, topped with three-story penthouses.
Many big American players gravitated to Shenzhen, ‘but they look singularly unimpressive next to their Chinese competitors,’ according to Klein.
Klein writes that this is a ‘city of pure commerce, undiluted by history or rooted culture — the crack cocaine of capitalism. It was a force so addictive to investors that the Shenzhen experiment quickly expanded.’
In fact, it swallowed the surrounding Pearl River delta, now home to 100,000 factories.
‘The research complex for China’s telecom giant Huawei, for instance, is so large that it has its own highway exit, while its workers ride home on their own bus line.’
The author is not writing from envy, not condemning. Just expressing his wonder at the amazing success of this special economic zone which started as an experiment.
Source: Daily News
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