Chinese triumphalism may seem strident at times, but it’s not entirely unwarranted
The development of China in recent decades is best considered as geography, not landscape. The combination of market forces with what was coyly labelled ‘socialism with Chinese characteristics’ has achieved something previously unimaginable.
At the end of nearly a century of conflict and unrest culminating in the Cultural Revolution, it was hard to picture China at peace, let alone prospering.
Today, it’s hard to imagine otherwise.
Most people still think that China’s great wonders are the Forbidden City and its Great Wall. But these are dwarfed by its current transformation.
The pastoral arcadia that characterised its classical landscapes is gone.
Where cormorants once preened on posts on the Yangtze’s shores, the horizon is now punctuated by steel construction cranes perched atop half-completed buildings.
They are almost literally everywhere. In the suburbs of Hefei city, I counted 32 of them outside my train window. Continue reading