Monday, December 9, 2013

The Village that Knows it's a Town

A's homework tonight was to do some research about Huaxi in East China. Forty years ago it was little more than a village, with oxen wandering down unpaved roads. Then, through an interesting mix of socialism and capitalism-with-Chinese-characteristics, it has become known as The Richest Village in China. Wu Renbau, one-time farmer, local Party Secretary and now mayor, has introduced hi-tech agriculture, steel making and textile manufacturing.
The core 2,000 original inhabitants live in identical villas, all adults have expensive cars, and there's free, high-quality education, healthcare and... cooking oil for all. It's even listed on the stock exchange. The price to pay is uber-conformity, a 7-day week and nothing to spend your money on (there don't appear to be many shops or any night life). There is however, a park with replicas of the Great Wall, the Statue of Liberty and the Arc de Triomphe, as well as the quite stupendously ugly Longxi International Hotel, which is taller than the Chrysler Building - and there the comparison ends.

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