Food and farming
An immense and fascinating country, with stoic and long-suffering people, and influenced by complex even contradictory politics. Yes, there are considerable human rights issues – and privacy and health concerns – and these will be touched upon, though not too much as the book is a thriller, after all!
The country’s most recent reform era began in 1978, but it wasn’t until the mid-1990s that free market ideas started to have a major impact on smaller cities. Locals coped with overwhelming change: the end of government-assigned jobs, the sudden privatisation of housing.
Pollution is serious. Not only dirty air, but contaminated soil and water. Yet action is being taken to combat this (whether fast enough is another matter.) For example, all local cabs and buses in Fuling now run on natural gas, in order to reduce pollution. Hundreds of factories bordering Lake Tai (a huge freshwater lake at risk) have been closed down or moved.
Here are some quotations from a 2013 National Geographic: There is an old saying of China: Dog loves house in spite of being poor; son loves mother in spite of being ugly. That’s our feeling. Today we are working hard, and tomorrow we will do what we can for our country.
Since the late 1970s, about 155 million people have migrated to the cities from the countryside.
Three Gorges Dam is the largest concrete structure on Earth – 5 times as wide as the Hoover Dam.