Sweep ‘Em off the Streets

We all stopped and watched the balloon vendor as he scampered wildly to escape the cops. He insisted in keeping his balloons, chair and air pump with him as he escaped and I yelled (in English because I was excited) for him to forget that stuff and just get away. As if that were possible … Continue reading “Sweep ‘Em off the Streets”

Chinese Embrace Progress

It took me a long time to figure out what the banner above the Foreign Expert Building meant, but finally one of my more studious colleagues translated it for me: "The Falun Gong is an international antigovernment tool." Yes. This banner was hanging in the middle of one of the busiest walkways in Southwest Normal … Continue reading “Chinese Embrace Progress”

Risk and Promise

China is just days away from WTO membership and the problems forecasted by many analysts, including this young hack columnist, show no signs of disappearing on their own. Chinese peasants still rely on animals, ancient utensils and sweat to till their fields, urban unemployed still prowl the streets hoping for a yuan or two, the … Continue reading “Risk and Promise”

Afghanistan and Chinese Power

Not many countries are developing as swiftly as China. After 50 years of foolishness, despair and acute poverty, the 1980s and ’90s came as a thunderbolt for most Chinese. As a result, the development is most uneven, with the latest Benz honking furiously at peasant-pulled vegetable-laden go-carts in the middle of a somewhat-paved garbage-strewn thoroughfare. … Continue reading “Afghanistan and Chinese Power”

New War May Reveal New Superpower

On this 52nd anniversary of the founding of this magnificent nation, not much transpired. Girls dressed up as they always do and pranced around this or that stage. Men toasted each other, bought stuffed toys for 200 yuan, pretending to be rich. Pink ballons were the rave this time around. The balloon hawkers stared into … Continue reading “New War May Reveal New Superpower”

A Chance for a New Friendship?

For traditional rivals of the US, the tragedy in New York and the ensuing “War on Terrorism” have provided a chance to wipe the slate clean and establish a New World Order. Russia and the various -stans, especially Pakistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan have offered up their land to the Western coalition, in return for – … Continue reading “A Chance for a New Friendship?”