Dichotomies Endure, But the Pressure Builds – Howard W. French
In the International Herald Tribune, Howard French writes about the gaps in China between capitalism and communism, rich and poor, and urban and rural lives:
At a casual glance, the giant boomtowns of the country’s east seem very much like first world cities, with the dizzyingly rapid proliferation of skyscrapers and expressways, shopping malls and traffic jams.
Travel a couple of hours inland to the west, though, and you can find parts of China that seem stuck in a past 20 or 30 years distant; places where subsistence is the rule and income levels hover closer to Africa than to the Group of 8-style wealth of Beijing’s dreams.
Or don’t travel at all. Poke around any big eastern city, and amid all of the frantic striving in this new culture of acquisition, and you can find deep pockets of the third world that persist just around many a street corner. [Full text]