China, again

So I’m on the move again, sitting in Kuala Lumpar Airport awaiting my connecting flight to Beijing. It’s only been a month in India but a last minute opportunity has cropped up and I’ve taken two weeks leave from work. I’m not done with India yet, honest! I will be traveling the length of China with the NGO, SUCHEN (Sustainable Chinese Enterprise) who have partnered up with the academic institution, TED to organise conferences in China themed around sustainability. Along with a handful of other expeditioners sponsored by SUCHEN, I will attend four conferences in Beijing, Xi’an, Chengdu and Hong Kong, stopping off at various points along the way and documenting our progress.

How apt it is that I should be returning to China. The place seems to be some sort of magnet for me, and I’m curious because I don’t know why. Perhaps its telling of the extent to which China has placed itself at the centre of foreign affairs the world over. I was first in China two years ago on a summer school programme in Beijing. Then an exchange programme in Hong Kong for a semester. And I’ve never been entirely disengaged from Chinese affairs whenever I’ve been elsewhere. On this trip I’m particularly interested in the corporate side of sustainability in China. Such a rapidly growing economy but with great disparity and so many questions about how such development can be sustained. My flight is boarding. I will endeavor to keep you informed, as long as the Great Firewall of China permits…


2 Responses to “China, again”

  1. 1 Demi Magnolia September 24, 2009 at 6:12 am

    way too much of the seemingly economic growth comes at the expense of its thousands of citizens. All the stories that you heard and even saw everyday happening around you become the drive of so many to escape. No question that the nation has changed drastically over the past a couple of decades.
    But where is it heading with all the hidden problems, conflicts and the growing discontent ?
    When you look at china’s contemporary history, every 30 years came a historical change. Yes the world is watching. For all classes in China, everyone is expecting, not expecting the same but all are expecting the change. 🙂

  2. 2 Simon September 24, 2009 at 6:45 am

    Precisely! For me, the biggest challenge to China now, education aside, is the widening income gap. I recently heard the difference between the average salaries of the highest and lowest paid industries is 11:1. That is insane. That is the stuff that sparks uprisings and revolts.

    China has a dual economy; rapid growth is fueled by rapid urbanization, but it leaves behind a stagnant rural economy that makes up a significant proportion of the population. Sure the pie is getting bigger… but not everyone’s slice of the pie is getting bigger. That is unsustainable. China, we are watching you!!! Thanks for the comment Demi.

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