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Sat 28 Nov 2009
"If you have land, how can you not have money?"
Category : Commentary/PresentAtTheCreation.txt
I've been reading "Prisoner of the State: The Secret Journal of Premier Zhao Ziyang". I think it's a very important book - essential reading for anyone who's fascinated by China's rapid development. There's a "present at the creation" quality to all these pages.
For example, if you've ever been to Shanghai you'd invariably hear about how the east bank of the river Pu, across from the Bund, had all been farmland just a few years back. Now it's full of skyscrapers. How did it all happen? How were the seeds laid from which this growth occurred.
And so it did, with predictable results, and the development of Shanghai was delayed much longer than it should, until 1992, when Deng Xiaoping, worried that the Tiananmen incident had forever tarnished his legacy, took his famous tour of the southern regions to revive reform.
But Shanghai eventually did develop, and at such frightening pace, probably because it was filled with people "skilled and familiar with capitalist behaviour", as anti-reform hardliner [party elder] Chen Yun had feared.