I am just astounded by the new china. Twenty one years ago when I was in Qing Dao people spit on the sidewalk everywhere, since then there has been a national campaign to eliminate this habit…and it worked. There was no building more than ten stories tall 21 years ago and now there are about 41 Chinese cites that dwarf New York. Twenty one years ago there was fear was everywhere and now they discuss democracy on Television. This week in China Jimmy Carter came and celebrated Chinese war heroes of WWII, Bill Gates and Warren Buffet are here now trying to talk Chinese millionaires and billionaires to give all their money away to humanitarian projects before they die; and Japanese dealerships are springing up where the Japanese once bombed Chongqing without mercy.
Also, this week China announced at the Davos economic summit that it has surpassed Japan as the number two economy in the world. China is on the verge of making history and becoming a true world power. We will probably look back at the economic collapse in the West of 2008 as a turning point in world history. I am glad to be in China now to observe this dramatic shift.
Today I went in to Chonqing to buy groceries with some of the teachers. It was an enjoyable morning visiting with the other foreign teachers. We went to a store called METRO which is like a Wallmart, Sam’s and Home Depot combined. I was strangely uncomfortable with the excessive materialism and slightly sad. Thew new China is the product of students I taught 21 years ago in Qing Dao (then it was Ting Tao famous for it’s beer). I remember how they would tell me in whispers and in secret meetings how they dreamed of an open and free China. It still isn’t there but this nation has come a long ways and the people in power now are those former students.