2006/07/31

[Culture] China Rises


Sophie
Originally uploaded by LeJyBy.
I just watched a DVD "CHINA RISES", produced by the "Canadian Broadcasting Corporation". Among the things that impressed me the most, beside the horrible conditions of some of the workers, which (at least European) news media like to point out, is on one hand the huge amount of pollution released, and on the other hand how much arable lands have been devastated. Some other facts are worth of notice: still more than half of the products exported from China are produced by state-owned companies: it seems to me that the opening of China to private entrepreneurship can be seen as a clever combination of incentive to innovation with still a good part of good planning. How much planning was left, and how much improvisation, was heavily questioned at some point of the DVD, expressing in particular worries about the capacity of China to produce food to sustain its own population. The part which pleased me the most was the interview of Zhang Yue, a Chinese millionaire who got rich selling air-conditioners which consume less electricity and pollute less. He was very eloquent talking about the pollution in China, and the English part of the website of his company, Broad Air Conditioning, beside its various typos, is as eloquent as the owner. The guy seems to be also funding his own farms to provide food for his employee and himself: the kind of initiative that western companies are so cynical about. Second of my list of favorites passages, among the extra videos on the second DVD, "A panorama of present day China": from the beautiful country-side to the illuminated new cities, accompanied by a variety of very nice music, ir reminded me of the music of Philip Glass, who composed the music of the Qatsi trilogy. The future new chair of my department seems to have an odd fascination for the future of China, I wish he could see this DVD! I am also reading "Collapse" from Jared Diamond (who wrote the master piece "Guns, Germs and Steel" that I read earlier): there is a chapter on China, I am curious to see what he has to say....
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