Chinese Cities Aren't as Bad as You've Heard

Lisa Gu pens a passionate defense of Chinese cities in response to a recent article that claims they are virtually "unlivable."
September 2, 2012, 11am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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Spurred by a recent article by Isaac Stone Fish appearing in the journal Foreign Policy that claimed China's cities, "with their lack of civil society, apocalyptic air pollution, snarling traffic, and suffocating state bureaucracy, are still terrible places to live," Lisa Gu comes to their defense.

Responding to Fish's criticisms point-by-point, she describes the country's advances in education, low per-capita greenhouse gas emissions rates, investment in infrastructure, and opportunities for personal freedom. "China clearly is no paradise," admits Gu, "yet the world should recognize how significantly the quality of life has improved over the stereotypes of the past."

She continues, "I'm often deeply saddened by the way in which China is so often portrayed in western media. China's growth and development over the past few decades has been vast, and it possesses potential for a more affluent future. Westerners may refer to China as ‘unlivable' but for me, and hundreds of millions of people like me, China today is more than simply livable, and it will continue to improve as time goes by."

 

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Published on Friday, August 31, 2012 in New Geography
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