This is the world we live in

The Chinese are optimistic about the state of the economy over here, for now at least.  Xiaodu Liu, Partner of Chinese Architecture firm Urbanus, says they have no shortage of work.  (In fact, they are hiring.)  He says this hopeful Chinese outlook on life is a product of living with the Chinese government.  In one party China, people have become accustomed to solving their own problems instead of turning to the government for help.  It’s typical for people to save up large sums of money for emergencies.  I think I read something similar in the NYTimes about the Chinese being cautiously reluctant to spend money while the rest of the world tanks.

But China isn’t totally immune to ‘the crisis’ (I hate that word.)  There is a new city called Dongguan, another Pearl River Delta city just outside of Shenzhen, that has arguably fell to its demise because of its dependence on foreign exports.  It is a sprouting city, completely based on manufacturing, and gets its labor force from small villages in inland China.  A Chinese man staying at the hostel here (who lives and works in New Zealand as a regional planner) told me that nearly 1,000 factories closed down right before the Chinese New Year because foreign investors could no longer afford to buy products.  He has heard that the city, now in jeopardy of becoming the newest ghost town, has turned into a crime infested no man’s land.  The unemployed are robbing, stealing, and maybe worse.  He advises me NOT to check it out.  It would be a lie to say that I am not extremely curious to go anyway.

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