Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Jinan in Ruins

This city is in a seriously rapid state of development. The government has decided that Jinan will be one of the next big Chinese cities, and they're moving very fast on the idea. It makes sense, the people are lovely and the location (east coast and halfway between Beijing and Shanghai) is unbeatable. 

As always, though, there are growing pains. China is famous for inflicting these pains relentlessly on it's citizens, and Jinan is no exception. When I was here with my brother in July we found an entire block that had been wiped out, and the more we walked, the more wreckage and rubble we found. It was like a war zone, and it was obvious it had been that way for a long time. 

What makes it a little worse, is that having walked through one of these areas, I began to see them everywhere I went in Jinan. Only they weren't always obvious - there are acres of this kind of thing, and it's hidden by these crazy massive poster-cum-billboard things. The billboards are full of advertising and pictures of the future developments, and every time I'm in a taxi and we drive past one, the driver will remark sadly about the future of his town. 

I don't think China will stop. It's a strange dynamic - the Chinese gasp and strain to hold onto certain traditions and cultural relics, and then cannot wait to rid themselves of others. Everything feels like a panic as if it's all a race and you're either running the race for them (by being forcefully relocated) or you're against them (and disappear). 

It's a big country, and it is struggling with a massive population. I have a lot more faith in China than I used to. I genuinely believe they are almost doing their best. The trouble is, at this stage, that according to Western standards, that just isn't good enough. It's all messy and it's all hard. The country is still in the throes of massive reform. They have been getting growing pains in their kneecaps for decades. 

I think it's just going to take time. Time and rubble.

1 comment:

  1. Hopefully not too much of their culture, history or their people fall pray to the bulldozers!

    It was an amazing site though, it reminded me of a post apocalyptic environment. Lite those in many games today!

    The Bro.


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