Thursday, 13 December 2007

The other side of China

While my China trip was great — the people friendly, the culture vibrant, the food amazing (I've lost weight since being home), and the sights breath-taking — there were three major things that bothered me. My three Ps: poverty, politics (i.e. lack of political freedom), and pollution. None of those are unique to China; of course all three are present in many other nations around the world. But if I had to pick three negatives about that amazing country of 1.3 billion, it would be those.

The above is a picture of a large slum right near a portion of the Great Wall in Qinhuangdao. Bordering the sprawl was what looked like a huge factory, seen in the upper-left of the image.

Beauty and poverty, side by side; one, something China is eager to show off, the other is something that, under this government, goes unspoken.

Even in major cities like Beijing it was not uncommon to see a modern, expensive building right next to a shack. This is an adjustment I had to make from my American viewpoint that poverty and luxury are often walled off from each other — sometimes literally.

More China posts coming soon. Sorry for the delay!

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