Asia

China Rediscovers Rural Life (Cue Applause)

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Another period of singing the virtues of Chinese Communist Party (CCP) direction seems upon us, at least when it comes to steering an economy.  Just as after the Great Recession of 2008-9, China’s rebound from the Coronavirus Covid-19 has led the world. Of course, the official statistics always bear scrutiny, and public debt levels probably lend a false note to stimulus measures. But a 4.9% growth rate in third-quarter GDP looked great.  read more »

Xi'an: Ancient and Modern: The Evolving Urban Form

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Xi’an (pronunciation) is located in central China, on the Wei River, a tributary of the flood-prone Yellow River (Huang He). Xi’an is at the bottom of the “Ordos Loop” (see Surprising Ordos: The Evolving Urban Form), which is formed by the Yellow River’s sharp northward turn upstream at Lanzhou, toward Inner Mongolia (Nei Mongol).  read more »

International Hong Kong Banks Embrace Working at Home

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In a November 13 article entitled “Hong Kong banks lose appetite for prime space in world’s costliest city as work-from-home becomes permanent after pandemic,” the South China Morning Post (SCMP) reports that some of the strongest financial institutions in Hong Kong are embracing working at home.  read more »

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Hangzhou: The Evolving Urban Form

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Hangzhou is the capital of Zhejiang Province in China. Hangzhou’s historic core is located approximately 160 kilometers (100 miles) southwest of Shanghai and approximately 1,100 kilometers (675 miles) from Beijing .It is the largest municipality in Zhejiang, having passed Wenzhou within the last decade.  read more »

The Real Winners

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Progressive ideologues often like to evoke the idea that they speak “truth to power,” but this year it’s their leaders who are consolidating their clout.  read more »

Japan Prefectures: COVID-19 Fatality Rates and Urban Densities

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Japan has done remarkably well in controlling the Covid-19 virus. The nation’s death rate per million population at 0.9, is very low by international standards and the lowest among the G-7 nations. Yet there are significant variations among the prefectures — as elsewhere — by urban densities.  read more »

China and India Rejecting Renewables for Coal-fired Futures

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China and India are NOT buying into the global alarm movement. Never in human history have we seen two countries (China and India), each with over a billion people, in need of such gargantuan amounts of energy to keep their economies accelerating and their citizens alive.  read more »

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Chinese Science Fiction's Disaster Dystopias

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In Ma Jian’s new novel, the protagonist, Ma Daode, may be a corrupt, womanizing local official, but he is a corrupt, womanizing local official with a mission. His goal is to develop a drug that will allow President Xi Jinping’s vision of a glorious Chinese future to dominate not only citizens’ daily lives but their sleeping hours as well. This is his utopian quest. The China dream, Ma Daode suggests, “is not the selfish, individualist dream chased by Western countries.  read more »

Slower Municipality Growth in China: 2010-2019

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China, which many see as the exemplar of rapid urban growth, is accelerating its own shift towards greater dispersion.

During the 2000s, the largest municipalities (formerly called prefectures) of China grew very quickly. Much of this was a result of an increasing “floating population,” people who moved to the cities from rural areas for employment, especially in factories producing goods for export and in construction. Between 2000 and 2010, according to the China Statistical Yearbook: 2019, the floating  read more »

Face Panties

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I bought some washable masks for everyday outings. My neighbor took one look at them in the laundry and instantly labeled them...

Some years ago I was enjoying another visit to Japan when I noticed ordinary people wearing face masks. It wasn’t everyone. And it wasn’t all the time. But it was common enough that no one seemed to notice or care.  read more »

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