Any recent visitor to China will have come away astonished by the pace of change. Huge, new buildings pop-up everywhere. The government has a strategy of planned construction of whole new urban centers. While the Special Economic Zones (SEZ) of Deng Xiaoping's era have prospered there is now more than example of how this strategy has failed to deliver. Ordos has been widely featured as a modern ghost town because a local boom from coal mining did not take place. Other developments within Tianjin, Kunming cities and at Yingkou, Liaoning have also failed to find take-up by companies. The government strategy seems to be moving from designating new cities to develop to following industrial development - only putting new urban cities where there is a demonstrable need for them.
The import of opium from India had a devastating effect on China. Although opium had been graown and used in China for centuries the import of huge quantities of the British controlled trade into Guangdong proved far more addicitive. It was the government officials who were most affected and even Dowager Empress Cixi used opium. Attempts to stop the trade led to two wars with Britain which China lost. Read More
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