China, where BMW's and Audi's and big American designed SUVs crowd smooth modern highways. China, where sky scrapers touch the sky. Where construction cranes fill the air in every city. Where factories provide the world with goods. China, where the water is unsafe to drink. Where factories paint the Beijing sky yellow with chemicals. China where farmers in remote areas use oxen in the rice paddies. Where workers toil for a few dollars a day. Where corruption is the rule. China, where whole shopping centers are dedicated to selling counterfeit merchandise. China, where having more than one child means fines, and a loss of your job or worse.
Driving on a Sunday afternoon along a modern 6 lane highway, my friend and colleague, a Chinese national and member of The Party, asked a hard question. "Chinese culture is thousands of years old", he said. "America is but a few hundred years old. How is it you have so much and we have so little?"
How do you explain to a person whose culture is 4,000 years of oppression about freedom?
Westerners have tried to solve the enigma of China since Marco Polo. I won't begin to try based on a mere glimpse of the country.
How about a few pictures?
|Rainy, foggy skyline of 'New Shanghai" from the Bund|
|Smiling Buddha at the Temple complex near Hangzhou|
|On the Great Wall near Beijing|