Lyric Hughes Hale: Examining the myths: The China outsiders dont’ know
BEGINNING with Marco Polo’s sojourn in China in the late 13th century, there have been two Chinas ” the China of the imagination, as interpreted by Westerners, and the real China as experienced by the Chinese. Post-imperial China provided some of the most powerful images of the 20th century.
As we still see in old newsreels and magazines, Shanghai in the 1930s was a center of international glamour and intrigue. Next came the utter destruction of World War II, then Mao’s China and the rampages of the Red Guard.
Today, China’s economic rise, symbolized by space-needle towers and construction cranes in major cities, occupies a similar romanticized place in the minds of foreign commentators. As I write this article while flying over China, I am reminded of what lies beneath. China has its own vast and enduring reality, its own strengths and its own weaknesses.