Friday, April 18, 2008

China: National Geographic issue "Inside the Dragon"

The May 2008 issue of National Geographic is a special issue, "China: Inside the Dragon". The issue includes a standard wall map, and many spectacular and disturbing still photos, such as one of a manmade desert in northern China where sand dunes are 1500 feet high and unstable. The main article is by Peter Hessler with photographs by Franz Hoffman.

One banner page reports that China's "one-child policy created a generation of only children that numbers 90 million" of "little emperors" or "little professors." The male to female birth ratio is 1.19, and excess unmarried men are called "bare branches" (as if to echo George Gilder from the 1980s). 45% of Chinese women don't want to get married and disrupt their careers (p 54).

China will bypass the United States as the world's largest economy by 2018, and alreayd has the world's largest death rate from air pollution.

On page 46, "Chinese history has become the story of average citizens. But there are risks when a nation depends on individual dreams of 1.3 billion people rather than a coherent political system with a clear rule of law." It is a bit of a paradox that China suppresses free speech and individual liberty, then.

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