The tales of the heroic struggle of thousands of soldiers over thousands of miles of challenging terrain were held up as the pivotal episode in the early days of the Communist party. It was during the Long March that Mao Zedong emerged as leader with his own vision for the future of China.
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.