Saturday, April 8

Forbidden City

I spend a week in Beijing and was struck by the City's pace. Beijing has a population of 16 million and is the second largest in China after Shanghai. It is 'modernising' in preparation of the '08 Olympics, and the cityline is defined by high-rise condominiums and western-style office towers; much of the old city (and poor neighborhoods) has been demolished.

While there are many striking statistics regarding China, one that has social implications: there are twice as many Chines between the ages of 30-40 than under 15 thanks to the one-child policy. China is aging quickly and unlike India where 75% of the population is under 35, China does not have an expanding labour pool. Any case it was fascinating including the Great Wall, Mao Memorial, Ming tombs, Tianemen Square and Forbidden City (pictured).

Two books I recommend are Anchee Min's 'Empress Orchid' the last Empress of China and Philip Short's 'Mao A Life'.