Shanghai success

10 Mar

The rise of Shanghai, symbolized by the literal rise of its Pudong skyscrapers, is recent story. This piece takes a good look at how China’s premier city, Beijingers might disagree, surged into the modern age after many decades of decline in the 20th century. In the late eighties, it was Shenzhen that was intended to China’s shining light in the quest for economic success. Yet through strong efforts by its leaders, Shanghai became China’s premier global city. One thing I didn’t agree with at all was the author’s strong criticism of China for seemingly losing its culture and looking to the West for new ideas and knowledge. There’s a trace of first-world patronizing, as in the real China is what existed in the past. Apparently he forgets, or deliberately ignores, the fact that Hong Kong and Taiwan, the more advanced parts of Greater China, have both borrowed significantly from Western knowledge, ideals, systems, and technology to reach where they have. There are some reasonable critiques, like about the dearth of quality in Shanghai’s art and cultural scene, which lags behind Beijing, and the symbols of previous colonialism in the privileged lives of Western expats and wealthy Chinese. Despite this, the article is a good read.

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