Sunday, 3 May 2015

Chinese Economic Wú


Wú (in Chinese, Mu in Japanese and Korean) is a key Buddhist concept. It means  nothingness, nonexistence, and delivers the message that emptiness is the true nature of all things.
It's hard to say if all things are empty or not, but the Chinese economic miracle has a great deal of emptiness to it. The best illustration is Chinese empty towns. There are ghost towns in every country, but the ones in China are not left by people - they have never been settled by them. They were built according to CCP plans and with money loaned from state banks, but life had other plans than the party.


The biggest ghost town, or rather ghost city, is Ordos in Inner Mongolia. It was planned and constructed to host a million people - complete with skyscrapers, theaters, museums, stadiums, theme parks, and even city bikes. But mere thousands people resettled there. The city is living with strange zombie-like life. Empty buses cruise the empty streets, which are daily swept, even though there's no garbage.
Similar, though smaller, ghost cities, towns and villages are plenty in China. They are connected by equally empty ghost highways. There's nothing interesting in the fact that a communist country produces lot of thing that do not meet any real demand. What interesting though, is that crazy numbers of square meters of real estate and kilometers of roads built in China every year are duly reflected in the GDP growth numbers and serve to many as an evidence of miraculous economic development.

Here's two photo essays on the city named Ordos - by British photographer Darmon Richter and Russian photographer Ilya Varlamov. Have a look, it's quite impressive.

PS China builds such cities not only on Chinese soil, but even abroad. For example in Angola, which is also enjoying an unprecedented economic boom.

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