At China Change, journalist Shun Ni describes the negative changes she has experienced firsthand in her hometown of Zhaoyuan (招远), China’s “Gold Capital”:
I’ve always introduced my hometown as “China’s Gold Capital.” On Beijing’s Wangfujing Pedestrian Street (王府井步行街), there’s a huge chunk of gold ore displayed in a glass case for tourists to see. Every time I take a friend for a walk on Wangfujing, I always point proudly to it and say, “Look, from my hometown.” The presence of this rock sometimes gives me the illusion that Zhaoyuan is really close to the capital, merely a simple, straight line.
But, the May 28 homicide that shocked the nation has made it impossible for me to be proud. As Cui Yongyuan has said, this incident has brought shame on the whole nation. Zhaoyuan, the erstwhile glittering golden capital, has in one night become the shame of China.
I can’t sleep at night, not just because of this one incident— there is a lot more. I have left Zhaoyuan for 14 years, and I have been wanting to go back in recently years, dreaming up ideas for returning home and starting a business. But every time I visited, I was beset by profound disappointment.
[…] During the 2013 Spring Festival, I had a reunion with my primary school classmates. I told them I was thinking about moving back home to work the land. They sighed and said, “Work the land? What land?” They told me that all the land had been forcefully requisitioned. With farmers who did not want to give up their land, their vegetable greenhouses and tractors were set on fire in the night and they themselves were beaten up and handicapped – property destroyed and family broken. [Source]