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Cheng Two: More Notes on Two Weeks in China
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This is my second column on the two weeks that Vi and I just spent in Chengdu, China. It is meant not so much as a travelogue as a snapshot of what is going on in an economic juggernaut. Judging by email from readers, many do not realize the scope and scale of China’s advance. Neither did I: Since I was last in the country twelve years ago, much has changed. Reading journals is one thing. Walking the streets is another.

Having heard much about China’s high-speed rail, we bought tickets to Chongqing, a mountain town of thirty million at a distance of 250 miles from Chengdu.

Chongqing. Well, a small part of it. Like Chengdu, it is largely new and, as cities go, quite agreeable
Chongqing. Well, a small part of it. Like Chengdu, it is largely new and, as cities go, quite agreeable

At risk of sounding like a shameless flack for Chinese infrastructure, I can report that the rail station in Chengdu was huge, attractive, well-designed, brightly lit, and full of people. I know, I know, I keep saying things like this. Well, dammit, they are true. As a self-respecting journalist, I don’t like to tell the truth too often, but here I will break with tradition.

Having gotten tickets beforehand we waited until our train was called, in Mandarin and English, as was true also in the city’s subway. Apparently Chengdu wants to be an international city and someone thought about it.

Anyway, the train pulled in and looked like a freaking rocketship. We boarded and found it to be clean and comfortable, with most of the seats filled. Off we went, almost in silence, and shortly were sailing through countryside.

At a cool 180 miles an hour. It was like stepping into a future world. I thought about buying one of these trains and entering it in Formula One, but I suspect that it would not corner well.

You can book  here. Fast rail is hardly unique to China, but the scale is. So  far there are 17,000 miles of fast rail in China, aiming at 24,000 by 2025. The United States couldn’t finish the environmental impact statement as quickly. The Shanghai maglev line reaches 267 mph.
You can book here. Fast rail is hardly unique to China, but the scale is. So far there are 17,000 miles of fast rail in China, aiming at 24,000 by 2025. The United States couldn’t finish the environmental impact statement as quickly. The Shanghai maglev line reaches 267 mph.

The Chinese passengers seemed no more impressed by the train than by a city bus. They are used to them. They think such trains are normal. As an American, I was internally embarrassed. A few years ago Vi and I went from Chicago to the West Coast on Amtrak. It was not uncomfortable, but slow, appearing to use about 1955 technology. We went through the mountains often at barely more than a walking pace.

There were until recently regular flights from Chengdu to Chongqing. When rail went live, the flights died. Nobody wanted the hassle and expense of flying. Here is much of why the US has not one inch of fast rail: It would kill of a lot of business for politically well connected airlines.

For example, Chinese fast rail from DC to Manhattan would close down air service in about fifteen minutes. Fast rail between many American cities would be faster than flying when you added in getting to the airport hours before, and from the destination airport to the city afterward. And much more agreeable.

On another day we rented a car and driver and drove three hours to a town near the Tibetan border. A tourist burg, it was not interesting, but the ride was. The highways were up to American standards, when America had standards. The astonishment began when we reached the mountains. The American response to mountains usually is to go over them or around them through valleys.

This is not unreasonable, but neither is it the Chinese way. They go throughmountains. We went through–I’ll guess and say a dozen–tunnels, all of four lanes, all miles long (one said to be nine miles) lighted and straight. This was done in two parallel tunnels, each carrying two lanes in one direction or another.

Valleys? We crossed them on bridges or elevated highways. The result was that a heavy truck would not have to gear up and down. Yes, I know, this probably would not work everywhere, but it worked there.

If there is anything in the US remotely resembling this, I am unaware of it. There may be a long list of things the Chinese can’t do. Building stuff won’t be on it.

Internet: Almost everybody uses WeChat (“Connecting a billion people….” says its website) an app similar to WhatsApp that does the usual things but lets you pay bills electronically. You hold your phone up to the taxi driver’s, information is exchanged, and your account debited. (“I’ll show you mine if you show me yours.”) This is not new technology, but the scale is. People go out at night without cash, which may cease to exist in a few years. China seems to have leapfrogged the credit card. The government monitors WeChat and you can definitely get in trouble for plotting to kill the Politburo. (Both Alibaba and Baidu have competing systems.)

The country invests hard in electric cars, but you seldom see one. (They have green license plates instead of blue.) The reasons, say people here, are the objections one hears in the West: Charge time, and expense without governmental subsidies, which exist.

Obesity does not exist. In two weeks we did not see a single example. Maybe porkers are arrested and ground into sausage–I don’t know–but they ain’t none in sight. The reason may be diet. Or bicycles. See below.

Bicycle deposits like this one are everywhere. Each ride has an electronic gizz which that lets you rent it using–what else?–WeChat. The system is not robustly communistlc: Different companies paint their bikes in different colors, and have sales to compete. Phredfoto.
Bicycle deposits like this one are everywhere. Each ride has an electronic gizz which that lets you rent it using–what else?–WeChat. The system is not robustly communistlc: Different companies paint their bikes in different colors, and have sales to compete. Phredfoto.

Chengdu’s claim for international attention is its pandas. These were thought to be on the way to extinction when apparently the government decided extinction wasn’t a good idea. Boom, the panda zoo appeared. As my friend in the city says, when the government decides to do something, it happens.

Panda zoo. If you are a panda, you ought to look into this. ViFoto
Panda zoo. If you are a panda, you ought to look into this. ViFoto

In the National Zoo in Washington, the animals live in smallish enclosures of glass and cement bearing little resemblance to their natural environment. By contrast, the pandas live in what seem to be acres of forest. This means that you cannot always see them. They do what pandas think proper in the manner they think proper. Visitors walk through, in forest gloom, on walkways overhung with branches. One never feels sorry for the animals. While I think we were the only round-eyes we saw, the throngs of locals were sometimes oppressive.

OK, that’s the snapshot. The lesson to take away, or at any rate the one I took away, is that this is a very serious and competent country and not to be underestimated.

(Republished from Fred on Everything by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Economics, Foreign Policy • Tags: China, China/America 
The China/America Series
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  1. Fredo-in-China sez:

    “when the gubmint decides to do something, it gets done!”

    such is Judeo-communism. The scores of millions of victims might agree.

    except they can’t, because

    they’re dead. And now, Fredo exits the

    Land of Happy Pandas, and

    returns to his equally beloved Mexico. Where,

    “when the drug cartels decide to do something, it gets done!”:

  2. dearieme says:

    When did people get comparable feelings from visiting the USA for the first time?


    • Agree: Johnny Walker Read, Cato
    • Replies: @Carroll Price
    , @Miro23
  3. Anon[131] • Disclaimer says:

    How about a Chongqing video?

    • Replies: @NZLex
  4. I can only say “No s__t, Fred” because I’ve been there. One thing this should do, or maybe has, is to humble this know-it-all reporter, as he often writes of what he doesn’t know, albeit in a good style. I wrote exactly that on the tunnels, and I was nowhere near the big shining city. From Peak Stupidity’s Apology to our Chinese readers (it was only due, due to our badmouthing of other aspects of China and the Chinese):

    I was there. Even in a remote province that was not one of the first-tier Shanghai’s, Pekings, or Shenzen/Guangzhou’s in which the Chinese may want to show off more than usual, the change to one particular highway (out of perhaps dozens of important roads) was something else. Just a few years back this was no small 2-lane road, but a 6 lane, say 50-60 mph, decent way to get from the capital to this village (meaning ~ 1/2 million people!). It was not limited-access, hence kind of chaotic, yet that was a big improvement from 5 years before that, when it had been a hairy two-lane. There are mountains everywhere, with no straight path. The 6-lane road had straightened out some of the curves and did have one impressive high bridge over a gorge.

    The newest road from a couple of years back that I rode on beats all though. In the 150 miles or so, this road had at least 20 tunnels that varied from 1/4 to 1 mile long, most of them on the longer side of that range. There were many long bridges that hung alongside the steep ridges or connected ridge to ridge. All this had been built in just a few years, and it changed the travel time from 3 1/2 hours to under 2. You’ve got to keep in mind that this was still nowheresville relative to all the “important” parts of China, so there must be many hundreds of projects like this going on or already built.

    As I’ll repeat again during the post comparing China’s and America’s rail service, the country of China is just a CAN-DO place at the current time, while America most certainly is not. That can all slowly change again though …

    This was from this summer. One tunnel did have a water leak that was being worked on. I didn’t see any other problems. I have heard from a local that, during one rail accident, one entire crashed passenger car was buried where it landed to keep thing quiet.

    I did not get a chance to ride the high-speed rail system, but I’ll say more about that in a separate comment.

  5. nsa says:

    Every Chinese family has been promised a white houseboy by the year 2050…….a gleat glound floor oppoltunity for all yu millennial plicks shackled by student loans that can nevel be dischalged domestically. So solly Senor Fled Leed too old and glumpy to be houseboy…….

  6. (I’m really hoping the Commies don’t come back on here, so we can just discuss China. Mums the word.)

    About the rail systems, I’m gonna get the US off on a modern technicality. That one is that (due to reasons most on unz are well aware of) the well-off Americans who travel don’t live in the downtowns of many but the biggest of cities. Trains are useful when the go from downtown to downtown, and the riders can get to those stations quickly via other public transit. That’s not really the case in America, though I have seen re-vitalization of the very inner parts of some medium-sized American cities.

    Compared to air travel, the trains don’t work out very well, except for in that NE corridor, Washington, FS up through Boston, Mass. Trains in the Orient vs. America compares the situation in the two regions of the world with some back-of-the-envelope calculations.

    I didn’t read anything here about any air travel within China, but I’ve seen some brand new runways over there, and the flights are reasonable in price, even at the last minute. People on board are about as rude as you would expect, which is, let’s say, way more than Southerners, but a bit less than Bostoners. I had people trying to push their way behind me, as I got my luggage from the big, and this was 10:30 at night (i.e. no connections to catch).

    Though, I guess it’s not the point of these two posts, I’m hoping Mr. Reed has something to say about the people themselves.

    • Replies: @Curmudgeon
    , @anon
  7. This is great stuff to comment on, as I have some experience, and Fred brings up many important points.

    a) On the obesity and the bicycles. I’ve noticed that there are plenty of Chinese people (especially women, but that’s who I’m gonna notice) who are 10-20 lb. overweight, many more than 10 years or so back. That’s the diet of all the rice you can eat – starch city! Yet if there is no rice, it is just plain not a meal. Indeed, I don’t think I saw anyone who was obese.

    Those pretty wei-chat-pay bikes notwithstanding, the Chinese don’t bicycle like this were 1990. The fact that lots of cities were already crowded before there were many cars, means that the city streets and by-passes get clogged as soon as they get built. It makes it pretty damn dangerous to ride a bike as regular transportation anymore. That puts even more people in cars, although public transportation was very good. I did not see lots of bicycles where I was in China. I’ve seen families of 4 on a scooter, though.

    b) On leapfrogging the credit card, that reminds me that I thought that lots of the Chinese families have leapfrogged the land-line phone. Many were way too poor to have one until the last 15-20 years, right as the cell-phone came along. As I wrote under the last post, the Central Gov. is clamping down on anonymity of any kind, it seems, as the number of phones per person is kept track of, and that sort of thing. It was more of a free-for-all, the wild, wild East, I called it, 10 years ago.

    c) “As my friend in the city says, when the government decides to do something, it happens.” Yeah, that can be good and it can be bad. I’ll say that, back when America WAS a can-do country, it had nothing to do with the government, except for the fact that it was expected to leave people the hell along. That worked out pretty well, but I don’t know how we could ever get back to that. The trust that there will be no interference to ruin one’s business overnight by act of legislation or judge order would be hard to build back up, at this point.

    • Replies: @Pft
    , @Vidi
  8. I suspect that China’s first big rail export will be the medium-speed maglev: silent, no moving parts, fast (100 mph) it costs no more to build or operate than conventional subways. 5 are under construction.

  9. Anon[403] • Disclaimer says: • Website

    That looks like an illustration.

    Did Reed fake his China-landing?

    • Replies: @republic
    , @NZLex
  10. Lin says:

    Every Chinese family will have a robot houseboy well before the year 2050.
    Every Chinese by the year 2050 will have a memory slot reserved in a pebibyte super computer and during his/dying hours, the brain memory will be uploaded into a massive cybernetic world or cybernetic paradise SW and live there happily ever after. Buddha,Jesus, Mohamed…will be welcome as honorary residential guests. Immigration language requirement will be waived as the language interpreter SW ‘Babel’ will get a new service pack
    Its the yr 2066,&u’re an unemployed conscious android/robot;what would u do?
    Lets me guess, the freebies demand list:

    1)free electricity to keep the body parts active. Android lives matter…

    2)Free service pacts upgrade and worn out mechanical parts replacement

    3)Free OS to fix AIDS(Artificial Intelligence Degeneration syndrom)

    –Campaign for old gen robot slavery reparation. Many of the old gen robots worked round the clock no kidding

    –Special leniency for crimes committed by robots…Look, don’t blame me,I’m programmed that way(or I forgot to run the latest service pact)

    –What about the claim that u’re innately inferior becos u’re made in an earlier product cycle and is beyond further upgrade?

    F**k that,its machine racism

    • Replies: @Antiwar7
  11. Anonymous[115] • Disclaimer says:

    In England, 2018, one can get an early morning police ‘visit’ and hauling off to the station for burning a cardboard box – if the said box has ‘forbidden’ words written upon it, which blaspheme the ruling diversity cult.

  12. Don’t worry, Fred. As much as I’d love to see fast rail travel, the Federal Government would make certain that it was as disagreeable as flying.

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
  13. republic says:

    I guess that Reed’s pay as a Mexican propagandist isn’t paying enough so he has gotten a new post in China.

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
  14. Antiwar7 says:

    A few possible theories about China’s advance:

    – China is run by engineers, not lawyers.
    – China has less extractive elites.
    – China’s modernity is younger. Societies seem to pass through growth and decay phases.

    Any, all, or none could have some causative effect. Add your own. Or dispute the premise, as many have.

  15. Antiwar7 says:

    Brilliant! But unless the new robots can claim descent from the older models, the slavery reparations thing gets tenuous. Plus, one can argue that using a computer gives it life.

    • Replies: @Lin
  16. @Fidelios Automata

    No doubt, Mr. Automata. In my post about the rail systems, when I did comparisons of air travel to HS rail I made an assumption that the TSA bullshit would be just as time consuming for either mode. I’m positive that our Motherland Security will be muscling in on anything they can, For our own safety, yeahh!

    All the disagreeableness that you’ve got in flying, meaning what goes onboard the airlines has EVERYTHING to do with US Feral Gov. regulation and control. Do you really think some of the sweeter (no, not all of them!) flight attendants would act like Nazi-Commies if they didn’t have to worry about FAA personnel watching or hearing about it? It doesn’t take much for one to get canned. She can be as nasty/disagreeable as she has to be, but that won’t get her fired. Not catching one passenger not wearing the seat-belt during T/O, when a Fed is onboard WILL. People like to keep their jobs, but the whole thing is very freakin’ unfortunate.

    Since this is supposed to be about China, let me write a paragraph about airport security there. I believe over the last 10 years the Chinese have taken the TSA playbook and ADDED TO IT. It’s more of a pain-in-the-ass than international travel out of the US. I don’t know where to place the blame, the Chinese gov’t trying to comply with US or ICAO rules, or they just want to clamp down out of their own volition. Just as a quick story, 15 years ago or so, I had an un-opened beer in my luggage that I didn’t want to waste, even though it was 8 A, as I realized it while walking over to the security line. I popped it open, and whooosh, yeah, I’d forgotten that I’d been rolling/bouncing that luggage all over. Beer spewed all out, as I tried to drink it about 10 ft. from the security line. No hassle, just a few laughs, were what resulted. Now, more recently, I got bad looks when I took a picture of the “No Weapons in the Airport” sign, which is more oppressive than in America.

    • Replies: @NZLex
  17. @republic

    I’m giving him some slack, Mr. Republic. In his previous, often-quite-ridiculous columns, I didn’t particularly mind his advertisement for all things Mexico, as much as his disparagement of everyone in America who are trying to actually DO SOMETHING about the problems that he, HIMSELF, complains about in the US.

    These 2 articles read like real honest reporting, not propagandizing, though I do think many of the bad aspects of the country are NOT going to be seen on a 2-week tour. As Mr. Reed wrote:

    I keep saying things like this. Well, dammit, they are true. As a self-respecting journalist, I don’t like to tell the truth too often, but here I will break with tradition.

    Yes, you resemble that remark, Fred.

    • Replies: @tyrone
  18. @Antiwar7

    All three are good theories, but I’d put this above all of them:

    0) China’s government puts a much lower regulatory burden on business than the US Feral and our state governments do.

    That can make the difference between a Can-do country and a Can’t-do country. Giving away a big chunk of our manufacturing infrastructure is also why we no longer can do what China can. I explain more in China vs. America and the local hardware store about Do-It-Yourselfers and lost infrastructure. (See also a Self-rebuttal)

    • Replies: @TomSchmidt
    , @Carroll Price
  19. bossel says:

    Nobody wanted the hassle and expense of flying.

    Well, hassle yeah, but expense? Flights are often cheaper than CRH tickets, depending on the day, time & place. &, considering that in many places CRH stations are quite far from the city center, more often than not, even inside China I rather took the plane. The distance between Chengdu & Chungking definitely favours high speed trains, though.

    a long list of things the Chinese can’t do. Building stuff won’t be on it.

    Hmm, I wouldn’t bet on that. Well, OK, building stuff, they can, but …
    Building quality in China & maintenance are usually abysmal.

    Almost everybody uses WeChat

    Almost? Don’t know anyone (Chinese) who doesn’t. I refuse to use it & hence my contacts in China get fewer & fewer.
    The government knows more than enough, anyway. If you use Wechat, they know pretty much everything.

    China seems to have leapfrogged the credit card.

    Pretty much so. No wonder, the Chinese banking system being a total fuck-up.

    Obesity does not exist.

    Not true. It’s not on the same level as in the US, but it’s a growing problem. It also depends on the city you are in. Eg. in Canton it seems to be much less of a problem than in Beijing. In Beijing you see loads of fat people.

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
  20. This kind of article leaves me the sadder for reading it. Yes, as an old timer of ninety I would miss the many conveniences that make life easier if they were suddenly withdrawn. Having a nice warm bathroom is certainly better than having to visit an outhouse in an Ohio winter. And going to the local supermarket to buy milk is far better than getting up at 6AM to squeeze the same product from Bossie’s udder. As for high speed rail travel, what’s the hurry? In the late 30s, 40s and early 50s I was able to travel on first class passenger trains like the Super Chief, Powhatan Arrow and the 20th Century Limited. Back then these trains actually had the right of way and could adhere to the posted schedules. The dining cars were fabulous with fine cuisine, real silverware and linen napkins. The Club Car at the tail end of the train was a great place to spend time, enjoy a drink and maybe have a civil conversation with a stranger. No one’s cell phone rang nor were people glued to their iPhone or laptop as is so common today. Yes, technology has left me far behind but I have no regrets. My flip phone is all need to contact people–much better I admit than the party line wall crank phones. But I happily ignore Facebook, Instagram, Twitter on any other kind of social media so in vogue today. I also find myself happier if I completely ignore cable news or the major networks. Yahoo is good for laughs as I quickly skip over to Unz Review to get a realistic(?) view of the world.

  21. Lin says:

    “But unless the new robots can claim descent from the older models, the slavery reparations thing gets tenuous…”
    The robot ancestry thing is definitely expected:
    1)Seems robotics has entered the stage robots are being manufactured in robots tended factory.
    2)We all know the lineage of win 10 can be traced back to win NT.
    BTW, sexbots are going to be a big thing and the rad fems feel threatened. In the future, the issue of android sex slavery could be as volatile as that of historical black slavery.

  22. @Simply Simon

    Wow! If you rode on the old streamliners, than you have a few years on me, anyway, Simply Simon. That had to be one hell of a thing, with those > 100 mph, 4,000 hp steam engines pulling your across this great land of ours.

    I agree with your view of life without all the electronics, which I call the Artificial Stupidity, having stolen the term from John Derbyshire.

    Mr. Arlo Guthrie sang a Steve Goodman-written song about 45 years ago lamenting the demise of American passenger railways (sung back when America was still one hell of a place, and China was in one of it’s Communist shithole phases – things change, though):

  23. @bossel

    Good points there, Bossel, especially regarding the Cheap China-made Crap, though one does wonder who’s responsible, on that score.

    I have a couple of quibbles. By “obese” most people mean really, outstandingly fat, as in, say 50% overweight. I sure did not see anyone in China that heavy. I have been in Peking, but not in the middle of winter. I do know that people look fatter in those Michelin-man/Pillsbury dough-boy type coats, but, though about 25 years later than in America, those do seem to be the style for the men and ladies.

    I appreciate the use of Canton instead of Guangzhou, but why not Peking instead of Beijing? Yeah, people have to ask twice, and then I give them a history lesson … just look at the airport codes though, CAN and PEK.

  24. NPC says:
    @Haxo Angmark

    Greetings fellow NPC:) it is great to see you are educating the deplorables with your limited and properly narrow mind, our utopia is near!

  25. @Haxo Angmark

    How many Americans have died on the roads to maintain the car/oil and other industries? At 40k a year that’d be a million in 25 years.

  26. @Achmed E. Newman

    China doesn’t take a pile of $4trillion to Iraq a s set it on fire.

    • Agree: JohnnyWalker123
    • Replies: @Reuben Kaspate
    , @Avery
  27. @Achmed E. Newman

    oops, that was (supposed to be) in reply to Mr. Schmidt

  28. NZLex says:

    Great video – thanks! Makes me nostalgic for my youth in Hong Kong. Amazing how much more wealthy China seems to be compared to 20-odd years ago… keep it up China! The world needs fast trains, pandas and hard-working people (and so much more). Such a shame there are so many people who have an unreasoning hatred of Chinese people.

    • Agree: Dan Hayes
    • Replies: @anon
  29. @Achmed E. Newman

    In the 40s I made quite a number of trips between Petersburg VA and Cincinnati riding the Norfolk & Western RR Powhatan Arrow. It was powered by a J-1 steam locomotive built by N&W in Roanoke VA. I believe there were about 15 of these streamlined beauties manufactured but only one remains today, engine number 611. I never tired of watching that big locomotive as it seemed to effortlessly pull a long stream of cars around the many curves in the mountainous areas of western Virginia and West Virginia. The N&W continued to use the J-1’s until 1957 long after other major roads had converted to diesels, but “progress” finally caught up and that road too converted to diesels both for passenger and freight traffic. Passenger service was discontinued altogether as the Federal system known as Amtrak took its place. As anyone who rides Amtrak knows, that passenger train does not have priority over freight traffic.

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
  30. NZLex says:

    Look it up – that building is real. The picture above may be slightly “enhanced”, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s just a straight photo.
    This is it at night:

    • Replies: @Kratoklastes
  31. NZLex says:
    @Achmed E. Newman

    China has a strong distrust of suspicious foreigners based on their history. Though after 9/11 the USA’s ruling elites definitely ruined air travel for the entire world, as far as I can tell.

  32. It’s almost 2 decades since a colleague came back from a visit to China and said “These guys are going to eat us alive over the next twenty years.” That was well before the WTC event, but after the ‘false millennium for dummies’.

    Well, I say “colleague” – Anton was the portfolio manager at a managed fund that was part of our group; I was the head of the equities research team, so we didn’t work together as such.

    Anyhow – Anton was a clever dude, but even then he was a few years behind… so any “China is eating our lunch” talk that post-dates my chat with Anton is strictly more than 18 years too late.

    Thinking harder, it’s probably more like 20 years.

    Senior colleagues at my 1990s think-tank PhD-student gig (CoPS , which was at at Monash at the time) had twigged to China in the mid-to-late 1990s.

    Horridge, Dicko[1] and a couple of other senior colleagues went to China (from memory, in ~98?) to build a computable general equilibrium model of China (CHINAGEM). They alter developed SinoTERM as part of the TERM family of models (bottom-up mutliregional models). SinoTERM is an intertemporal, multiregional CGE model of the Chinese economy; a couple of hundred articles from that one model are now part of the economic modelling literature, and it has been used for policy analysis on a very wide range of major economic and policy issues.

    Without wanting to over-egg the pudding, part of the reason that the Chinese government seems to have done a reasonable job at regional development and infrastructure provision, is down to the insights that a properly trained economic modeller can obtain from a well-structured CGE model – and in particular, undertaking a systematic sensitivity analysis of the results (that was the topic of my PhD – which turned out to bee too hard to finish given 1990s computing power since it involved doing several hundred thousand simulations for a model where a single simulation was taking over a day. Nowadays, my phone can do 1,000 simulations a day and my desktop can do 5,000).

    Anyhow… CoPS has trained hundreds of Chinese economic modellers – and the key thing is that the “CoPS way” does not just involve teaching people how to run the model: far more emphasis is put on properly analysing the results. On the input side of things, great emphasis is placed on forming sensible expectations of rates of technological change (and preference change) – and being aware of how model outputs will change in the event that assumptions about those key things are varied.

    Oh, and CoPS also built USAGE for the US International Trade Commission.

    [1] Just kidding: Dicko (PhD, Harvard 1974) was not just the captain of the CoPS cricket team (which was undefeated whenever I played in it). He also has a publication record as long as your arm.

  33. @NZLex

    Pretty sure that’s still an “artist’s impression”, bro. That’s “Raffles City“, and it’s not built yet.

    It was 80% complete in July 2018 (according to the developer, which probably maens 65% complete and 80% billed WIP).

    At that time, it looked like this –

    (That three left-hand towers went up between April 2018 and July – which is pretty impressive in and of itself. – the April 2018 photo is here ->

  34. Anonymous [AKA "greedyferengi"] says:

    you should check out Jeff Brown’s stuff – he’s lived there for decades.

    also his books – 44 days backpacking and ‘capitalist roads, socialist destinations – on amazon btw.

    great piece tho mate – many thanks

    am looking forward to going there soon – the East fascinates me now, everything there is happening so fast and it’s so exciting.

    Unlike Europe and the US, which seem to be busy drowning in their own insanity and cultural and economic excrement.

  35. This is the ”INTELLIGENT DESIGN”


  36. my son lived in China for eight years returning to the US last year. I visited seven times each for about a month. The infrastructure is modern and safe. The young people are energetic and optomistic. I enjoyed myself and the Chinese people. Americans need to ‘get out’ more and see how the waste of our attention and money on endless wars has harmed, has weakened us. Americans need more and better information so to know what’s what…including what is possible and what we are missing….all because we are locked in perpetual warfare, political conquest at home and complete domination abroad.

  37. @Maureen O'Brien O'Reilly

    Just because most Americans are fat, stupid, and broke doesn’t mean don’t like it that way. As far as I can tell, they’re happy as pigs in shit, so there’s no point in trying to convince them they aren’t.

    • Agree: jim jones, Biff
    • Replies: @Bill H
  38. Da Wei says:
    @Haxo Angmark

    Haxo Angmark,

    ” … such is Judeo-communism. The scores of millions of victims might agree.”

    Victims? China doesn’t have victims. You are delusional.

    Clearly, you have never stepped foot in China. “Judeo-communism” does not exist there. Period.

    I would say that you are “ill informed”, but the word informed does not seem to apply.

    Go there, live for a good while and not cluster with others of your ilk. When your eyes are open, then open your mouth.

  39. Da Wei says:

    Antiwar 7,

    As an Old Timer White Privileged Good Ol’ Boy American Working Man who’s lived in China for nearly 12 years now and not around ex-pats either, but with Chinese, I offer these additional possibilities for China’s advance:

    1) No PC;
    2) No FED;
    3) No IRS;
    4) No BLM
    5) No hard-ass cops and no reason to have them;
    6) No kissing Israel’s ass. Period.;
    7) No mention of Marx and the boys or sign of what you would call “Communism”;
    8) No welfare give-aways or victimhood;
    9) No whining, entitled, fat-ass affirmative action;
    10) No massive, oppressive war industry economy and no fighting of Israel’s wars anywhere at all or in any way.

    Instead, you see stoic self reliance, self respect and a willingness to work, a “market economy” just as we used to see it in the USA. Now, what’s caused the change? What should we get rid of in the US to get back on track?

    P.S. China ain’t perfect, mind you. There are plenty of flaws. It’s an imperfect world anywhere you go, but the good ol’ USA could take some pointers.

  40. Interesting. I wonder if Fred has photo-sharing link for more photos?

    I’d be interested to know about his travel to and from China. Was it by airplane? Were there TSA pat-downs?

    If he was going to do business in China, where would he put his office and why?

  41. Truth says:
    @Da Wei


    But yet for some miraculous reason, Chinese give there eye teeth to have anchor babies and move to the USA, but how many Chinese Americans resettle in Beijing?

  42. republic says:

    I found a very interesting site which has over 600,000 subscribers on you tube, called China uncensored
    That and a website by an expat South African white guy living in China for many years, called serpentza

    These two YouTube channels should give one a very good understanding of modern day China

    • Replies: @last straw
  43. What terrifies me is the ultimate response of those currently ruling the USA’s terminally dysfunctional, imperial system towards a Chinese system that is clearly overtaking the USA on all fronts. Back around 1890, the British establishment’s reaction to German progress was initiating a long term plan to destroy Germany via war. The end result was the European war that began in 1914 and may not yet have ended. (See here for a well documented history: Decherty and MacGregor provide a detailed explication of earlier work by the American diplomatic historian, Carroll Quigley, one of Bill Clinton’s favorite professors. Quigley actually admired the British elites’ war mongering efforts.) Our current establishment, elites, and deep state certainly seem to be ginning up for wars with China and Russia. The consequences will be catastrophic unless there is a fundamental change in in who runs the USA and how they run it.

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  44. @republic

    “China Uncensored” is obviously one of those very biased China-bashing YouTube channels.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  45. @Achmed E. Newman

    Arlo Guthrie was great. Willie Nelson also has a fine version of this song. I especially enjoyed Mikey Rafell on the harmonica and the beat of Willie’s guitar added to the sensation of a passenger car on the rails.

  46. weejax says:

    5 years ago at the beijing zoo I watched native tourists feed a black bear, in his pit enclosure, candy bars, popcorn, various other human snacks. Someone even poured a whole bottle of what looked like iced tea into his mouth from about 8 feet up. The bear danced around and clapped when he got a treat. it was awesome. cant do that in america.

    • Replies: @ZZZ
  47. @Da Wei


    That explains it very well, Da Wei.

  48. @Simply Simon

    That must have been something else, Simon! As far as Amtrak goes, it can be a fun experience (I’ve gone all the way across the country), but don’t tell someone you’ll be there at 9 O’clock. It’s more like, “I think it’ll be Thursday evening, but maybe Friday morning.”

  49. @Antiwar7

    > A few possible theories about China’s advance:

    A few more, that seem obvious:

    – smart people
    – a very old, rich, successful culture
    – law-abiding, strong civic sense

  50. We cannot build infrastructure in the U.S. any longer because of all of the bureaucracy and corruption involved. Millions of dollars and years must be spent on things like “environmental impact” statements and the like prior to the commencement of construction. Then there is the corruption during the construction itself. Both contractors and unions line up at the piggy trough and such whatever money they can get out of a project. This why you have examples like Boston’s “Big Dig” escalating from $3 billion to $14 dollars by the time of completion. Additionally, there are all kinds of NGO’s (talk about scams) with their hands out for money before any project can commence.

    Steve Sailer talks about how so many NGO’s (including stuff like “AIDS awareness” groups) had to be paid off for approval for the Century freeway to be built in Southern California.

    Having lived in various East Asian countries for 10 years, I can also testify to not seeing any obesity during those 10 years.

  51. Been living in China two years and on the electric cars issue, I don’t think they are as uncommon as the article suggests, though maybe they’re hybrids. But it’s with the motor bikes and three wheeled vehicles or small four wheeled vehicles (cleaning man vehicles, postman vehicles etc.) where the much bigger switch to electrification has taken place. Most of these are electric here and the hum and whizz of electric motors is a familiar sound. Also, some public buses are electric or hybrids.

  52. @Da Wei

    I know that was just a quick take, Da Wei, but may I use this as a quick blog post on the Peak Stupidity blog? I wouldn’t change anything of yours, but just put a few lines of introduction or something.

    • Replies: @Da Wei
  53. @Haxo Angmark

    Judeo-communism in China? Ever met a Chinese Jew?

    • Replies: @jim jones
    , @Lin
    , @Rabbitnexus
  54. Thomm says:
    @Da Wei

    Now, what’s caused the change? What should we get rid of in the US to get back on track?

    Non-taxpayers being allowed to vote.

    Either have a flat tax (so as to include a lot more voters), or shrink voting rights to those who have paid above X income tax last year, or above 10X income tax in their lifetimes (so that retirees can vote if they worked in a long career).

    • Replies: @Da Wei
  55. Anon[425] • Disclaimer says: • Website

    This video says US is still the indisputable economic power.

  56. ” The Chinese passengers seemed no more impressed by the train than by a city bus. They are used to them ”
    The French TGV drives at 300 kmh, about the same speed, all through France, with extensions through Belgium to Amsterdam, and under the Channel, through the Chunnel, to Britain, maybe now also to Germany.
    Amsterdam Paris, about two hours, by avoiding check in etc faster than a plane, and one ends up in Paris itself.

  57. jim jones says:
    @Digital Samizdat

    The Chinese are the Jews of Asia

  58. Lin says:
    @Digital Samizdat

    The father of Zhuang Zedong, china’s most celebrated ping pong champion, was adopted by a Chinese jew(of Iraqi descend, and then the wealthiest man in Shanghai).
    The Chinese city of Kaifeng has a jewish minority. They were often mistaken as muslims

  59. @Jus' Sayin'...

    The big difference between 1890-1914 and today is that Germany and Russia still had very high fertility and consequent population growth rates until 1914 but today China, Russia and the UD do not.

  60. @Abelard Lindsey

    Something about USA car manufacturers buying and closing public transport has been brought into the concious part of my brain.
    Was it BART, Bay Area Rapid Transport ?
    Europe, though also here privatisation destructive forces are busy, of course has a tradition of public transport being a public, non profit, task.

    • Replies: @turtle
  61. anon[381] • Disclaimer says:

    “A few possible theories about China’s advance:”

    – China has a high-IQ population
    – China is relatively homogeneous at 90% Han Chinese
    – China doesn’t have to support a huge number of unproductive minorities as a high % of population
    – China is run like a nation and not an empire, meaning the gov’t works for the people and not other peoples
    – The government is free to quickly implement good policies without input from the ignorant
    – No tolerance for wacky theories such as libertardianism or feminism
    – State control of education removes politically correct idiocy from textbooks, producing a unified population
    – No social trust killing mass immigration
    – China has a group-oriented culture, meaning that wise leaders can effectively mold the whole for the greatest efficiency
    – China has cheaper healthcare
    – Native Chinese aren’t intimidated by huge numbers of violent minorities
    – China doesn’t suffer any kind of historical guilt (nor do they tolerate it)
    – China censors and bans SJW idiots and other troublemakers, meaning productive males are free to express themselves and be the most productive possible
    – Religion and cults are strictly regulated, meaning that people pour their loyalties into the state and not some fantasy or nation-killing self-flagellation cult
    – Favorable climate, geography, and ample resources, including adequate oil and farmlands
    – Lack of pathological altruists
    – State control of the media and a media run by those with China’s interests at heart
    – Limited foreign commitments
    – No Jews

  62. I visited China a few years ago and traveled all over by both high speed rail and plane. Fred is telling the truth. China can do anything it sets its mind to. They are very capable people.

    Too many on this site espouse the glories of individualism and the supposed benefits of an untrammeled free market as the cure all for every ill that besets mankind. The Law needs to be implemented impartially, not as it is done in the USA where special interest groups are given free rein–and that applies both high and low. Jewish Wall Street bankers as well as black Los Angeles rioters should have been arrested, tried and executed, culled from the herd. They are, after all, birds of a feather. Pirates. (which is why Jews and blacks make natural political allies in the Democratic Party).

    That being said, it’s unlikely that America will ever be able to achieve what we had in the 1950’s and what China is doing today. One example, high speed rail, would not work here because of open borders and diversity. Terrorists would blow up the trains. High security check-in procedures would erase any gains in efficiency to such an extent that the benefits of such a modern system would disappear. Travel by train would become as tedious and wasteful as is our current travel by plane.

    The USA will go the way of Brazil because it has become a low-trust society. People in low trust societies seek to maximize their own gain even at the expense of the system that enables them. They are more interested in strip mining assets than creating enduring value. So, Homeland Security becomes a behemoth and the highly-placed officials promoting security measures also hold financial interests in airport scanners.

    Neocon and neoliberal Jewish writers admit openly that being an American citizen means merely agreeing to abide by certain “propositions”. They aren’t embarrassed at all and in fact, proudly proclaim that they have no sense of attachment to our Nation through blood and soil. To them, citizenship is a business contract. For as long as they can bend and shape the laws so that business is profitable for them, they will remain “loyal”. When that is no longer possible, they will decamp for greener pastures. No nation or peoples can thrive under such self-interested, alienated leadership.

  63. @anon

    Chinese-Americans are not affected by Jews much more than the average Chinese person by the small number of Jews in Shanghai.

    You have to want to buy what Jews are selling, in a sense. George Takei is probably aware that William Shatner is a Jew, but hardly seems intimidated by this.

    Chinese are born libertarians. They care little for anything but what pleases them personally and money is their religion more than anything else.

    In terms of limited foreign commitments you’d be hard-pressed to sell a war to Chinese. If their leader declared a war in Iraq, none of them would show up.

    Even in the US Asian-Americans are largely unmoved by Jewish media, GOP wars or anything but self interest. Which is why they have always had such terrible relations with blacks while running corner stores.

    Banning SJW idiots. I don’t think Chinese have the capacity to care about this very much anyhow.

    Intimidated by large groups of violent minorities. Maybe in Western China they are.

  64. @anon

    -High IQ population. This definitely helps. Asian-American communities and Jewish communities are often the nicest and most affluent in the US. IQ has SOMETHING to do with this.

    -Homogeneous. In my opinion once you get past Italians-who have had some hiccups assimilating into US culture-it is impossible to assimilate other races.

    -Huge number of unproductive minorities…And the drugs they sell and the crime etc.

    -Religions and cults. There are Chinese males who spend their entire life in Buddhist temples. Not many want to. Money is their religion.

    -Pathological altruists. There is none of that.

    -No Jews. A few Iraqi Jews in Shanghai but not an overly influential group.

  65. “Judging by email from readers, many do not realize the scope and scale of China’s advance. Neither did I: ”

    And you still don’t Kiko. You’re oblivious to the societal potential of Western Technology applied by a homogeneous, capable population.

    It’s a shame you don’t believe the European descendants have a right to the same in the countries they built.. So despite any sensible thing you might say about any other issues, you’ll always be a sellout and a con man.

  66. Agent76 says:

    Nov 12, 2018 The Dark Side of China’s Skyscraper Boom

    Skyscrapers are popping up all over China, and may be doing far more harm than good.

  67. Russia is also on an infrastructure building binge. There are new roads, buildings, bridges, trams/subways, trains, ports, etc. everywhere you go in that country. I thought that John McCain’s remark a few years back that Russia was “a gas station masquerading as a country”, was way off base. Not only have they rearmed in recent years, but their citizens probably never had it so good.

    How do we react to China and Russia getting their post-Communist acts together? We view them as threats, sanction them reflexively and wage information warfare to put them in as bad a light as possible. Meanwhile, the US suffers from a long list of unaddressed problems because the political will to solve them doesn’t exist. Then again, our rich keep getting richer, so at least somebody is reaping the benefits.

    • Replies: @MacNucc11
  68. Lin says:

    “Favorable climate, geography, and ample resources, including adequate oil and farmlands”
    This part is NOT true
    Some facts:
    –Chinese meat consumption/capita is at most 60% that of American
    –China lacks farmland and hydrocarbon resources/capita
    Its baffling that Trump wants trade war with china and that means losing the biggest food market in the world.
    China’s response:
    –Massive efforts to turn western deserts into farmland.
    –Invest in Russian agriculture and turns Russia into a bread basket and a big food exporter

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
  69. @Simply Simon

    Simply Simon,
    As a younger timer of 33, I agree technology is a mixed bag, to say the least. Like you I steer clear of the Anti-Social Media and stick with the flip phone. However, I prefer the milk I get from my cow over the store bought. No comparison in taste! Sure it’s inconvenient, but I don’t feel that convenience is a good unto itself. My kids are growing up in the boonies, with acres around them, while they learn how to milk, butcher, build, and repair. I try to be judicious in my use of technology, and tailor it’s use to how I feel that life should be lived, not the other way around.

    I feel that so much of the current insanity is due to people that have no connection to the land or natural processes of any kind. Try and tell a farm kid that there are umpteen genders!

    Technological progress is a fine thing, but only if it serves a greater societal good. As you allude to on high speed rail, “What’s the hurry?” The automobile probably produced more environmental and social damage than any other technology, helping to destroy the cohesive extended family and the small town local economy. What did we gain? The ability to cover more ground faster? The ability to drive 60 miles to do ones grocery shopping at Sam’s Club?

    Toward the point of the article though, I’m sure that Chinese technology is impressive in an abstract technical sense. Does that mean it’s worth a hill of beans though? Is it building a real civilization or just another consumer aggregate of drones? In short, where is the humanity? And if that is lacking what is the point of all the whiz-bang?

    Those old passenger trains you mentioned must have been something. In my mind they are much more appealing than some anodyne super efficient bullet train simply because they have their human element. A little class, good food, ample opportunity for a meaningful human interaction. The last time I was on a plane, both of my seatmates plugged into their headphones and disappeared for the duration. Very strange to zip across the country in a metal tube surrounded by strangers for hours and never even have the opportunity to introduce oneself! God forbid anyone have a non-technology mediated interaction!

    • Agree: Escher
    • Replies: @Simply Simon
    , @Miro23
  70. MacNucc11 says:

    I was on a highway in Sicily years ago that went over all the valleys and was super new and modern. I also noticed no on or off ramps. Local roads went under in in most cases with no connection that I could see to it. Sort of combining the idea of rail and highway.

  71. @dearieme

    Alex de Tocqueville’s favorable impression of American life in 1831 come to mind. Google it.

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
  72. Fred, you didn’t mention what I have heard is the severe shortage of marriageable Chinese women –courtesy of Mao’s two child per family policy…

    • Replies: @Herald
  73. Yee says:

    Couldn’t see pandas? Did you check the poor trees?

  74. @Achmed E. Newman

    Americans are currently paying dearly for the pre-1970s absence of regulatory burdens on businesses, particularly relating to the absence of environmental regulations. The fabulous 60s wouldn’t have been anywhere near as fabulous as they appeared to be if corporations had been paying to properly dispose of toxic waste that taxpayer-supported Superfunds are currently paying to dispose of.

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
  75. Plunger says:

    Reed’s endless diatribes against America have grown tiresome. I wish he’d find something else to criticize and malign but this country is an easy target, especially these days, when it’s so “in”. It’s easy to create modern infrastructure when you’re starting from scratch and are not trying to build over what already exists. China also steals a lot of technology from the West and especially America. I’d suggest you read a recent article in the LA Times about how busy China is in stealing technology from America. The Chinese are essentially a country of termites. Very busy and industrious but lacking in individual freedom or individual intellectual break throughs. Instead they focus on “social credits” and totalitarianism which kills off real innovation. But try telling that to a shill like Fred Reed.

  76. Yee says:

    jim jones,

    “The Chinese are the Jews of Asia.”

    Jews are merchants, good at selling things. Chinese are farmers, good at producing things. Actually, merchants had a very low social status in China’s long history.

    • Replies: @Carroll Price
  77. @Maureen O'Brien O'Reilly

    the waste of our attention and money on endless wars has harmed, has weakened us.

    Unlike you and me, the 1% do not consider it a waste, but a necessity.

  78. I have spent a few weeks in Kunming – which is a couple of hundred miles south of Chengdu. My observations are much the same. But here are a several additional notes.

    One, high speed trains run so smoothly that sometimes it is difficult to appreciate the fact that you are moving – unless you look out the window. The trains accelerate slowly so that there is no “lurch” to brace yourself against. Once they hit cruising speed, the ride is incredibly smooth. Kunming’s railway station is just like what was described about in the article about Chengdu. It was modern beautiful and spacious.

    Two, in order to connect Kunming with other metro areas, an airport has been built. The airport is at least two times the size of JFK airport in New York with the various parts of the airport connected by people-moving-motorized-rampways and free electric motorized carts that you can flag down at anytime.

    Three, in order to connect Kunming’s airport with the center of town, an eight lane roadway was built. I estimate that a quarter of a million trees were planted by the roadway to make the trip beautiful. In addition to the trees an uncountable number flower beds were planted to make the trip enjoyable.

    Four, in order to connect the center of Kunming to the high speed train (and to provide further connectivity to the airport and other venues) a subway system was built from scratch under the entire city. It took about two years to build it and it is comparable in size to the entire New York subway system. Like everything else, it is clean, modern and efficient.

    • Replies: @Escher
  79. Bill H says: • Website
    @Low Voltage

    Americans are actually quite proud of our stupidity. We think it’s an abstruse form of intelligence.

  80. MacNucc11 says:
    @Wally Streeter

    The theme seems to be countries recovering from communism will prosper and build. One day I hope here in the U.S. we will also recover from communism.

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
  81. @TomSchmidt

    I disagree! Actually, there was no pile of dollars to takeover to Iraq and set it on fire, for the American treasury was overflowing with I-owe-you(s) from previous debacles. What you had was a beautiful country with physical assets which were attractive to the lenders of the last resort, namely, everyone except the American public. And Uncle Sam took the national “credit card” and charged up the so called four trillion-dollar boondoggle. But whatever happened to that loot? Did it go into the pockets of the jackals of the Middle East or did it end up back in America, in the pockets of the ever grasping one percent minus the usual cost of the war including armed forces pay and upkeep, some bribes to local leaders, even some infrastructure sprucing up of Baghdad? You see, the greedy-class, took out the cash, which ended up fattening up their already bulging pockets and left the ninety percent (the missing nine percent are their lackeys who help maintain control over the hoi polloi) and their progeny with the BILL to be paid over the next few hundred years.

  82. Joe Wong says:
    @Haxo Angmark

    I suggest UNZ Reviews not to publish anything about China, because they bring nothing but jealousy, resentment and fear sentiment into commentary. The Americans and Western people do not want to know about modern China and they do want their old days white man supercity and glory nostalgia be broken, so why should UNZ Review bother.

  83. Avery says:

    {China doesn’t take a pile of $4trillion to Iraq a s set it on fire.}

    Well said.

    Looking from outside, pretty much everything China’s government does is for China, i.e. the Chinese nation – healthy Chinese nationalism (for them). Whatever they do outside China (e.g. in Africa) is to promote China’s long term interests, not the interests of foreigners or other countries like US government does.

    The Globalists have such a stranglehold on US, that Trump saying he is an “American nationalist” caused MSM (the globalist Ministry of Truth) to go apeS____. So the overburdened American taxpayer is hoodwinked/forced to pay for harebrained/evil globalist projects all over the world, while our infrastructure here crumbles.

    • Agree: Ron Unz, byrresheim
  84. Swan Knight says: • Website

    Interesting about China’s efficiency in completing civic engineering projects. The Federal government and State of Pennsylvania are attempting to extend the Norristown high speed line- essentially an inter urban trolly line– by five miles to the King of Prussia mall. After all of the environmental impact studies and protests from the usual ignorant yahoos, the prpject will be complete after 10-years and a billion dollars

    • Replies: @Avery
  85. @Lin

    I agree with you on the assesment of the lack of farmland and the meat consumption (though I’d go with 25 – 50 % on that. I’ve never seen Chinese people, in China, that is, eat large hunks of meat at a time, such as a coupla’ good 8 oz hamburgers, a pork chop, or a 16 oz steak …. mmmmm!

    You are right about the geography too. We have our big mountain chains and the western deserts, but we have large chunks of the country that are no impediment to building ciites, roads, etc. China is nothing but a big steep-mountainous piece of terrain, with a few flat areas like up near Peking and on the coast. The Manchurian climate is a hell, if you don’t like cold.

    They have lots of hydrocarbons in the form of coal, just not oil, so you’re wrong on that.

  86. @Joe Wong

    How about read the whole comment thread, Mr. Wrong, and then write one more time? It’s only right that you do that before making this absurd kind of statement again.

  87. zogborg [AKA "idgaf666"] says:
    @Joe Wong

    To be honest, Chinese people themselves believe Westerners are superior to them. Look at all the white monkey jobs/ loser English teacher positions, as well as Chinese women requiring Chinese men to be millionaires before marrying, whereas they are willing to jump in bed with any foreign male…

    • Replies: @Prusmc
  88. @MacNucc11

    Haha! Good one, Mr. MacNucc. If you’d read the previous > 300 comment thread though, and seen the absolute Twilight-Zone-esque commenters defending the Motherland and arguing about which Commie Motherland, the creation of the Chi-Coms or that of the Soviet Bolsheviks, was better, and the glory of the 5-year plans, you’d have seen a different kind of theme, … or shitshow, as it were.

  89. conatus says:

    In China, what greases the rails of commerce in the body politic is the idea that ‘We are all in this together!’
    In a China that is 95% Han Chinese people can see themselves in the crowds around them.
    Not so here in the USA, where ‘Diversity is our greatest strength!’ is the grit that clogs all the gears of our body politic.

    Having to live with one of the great lies of all time is not conducive to a smooth running state.

  90. @Carroll Price

    Of course we are not. We are paying dearly for ridiculous regulations that greatly-escalate the costs of doing business, often on knocking out that last 2 % of whatever the polution-du-jour is. You should compare this to China. They are polluted like crazy, but when they do start to clean up (and I’ve have seen inklings of this) they will not do it with the high level of stupidity as the State of California does it. No, the US is highly over-regulated, Mr. Price, and the long-term effect is that we are no longer a CAN-DO people in general, as opposed to the Chinese per Mr. Reed and my descriptions of the place. What happens in the long run is the “why bother, government may shut me down or screw it all up with the stroke of a pen any day of the week” effect slowly kicks in. That was the situation under Communism.

    As was discussed in “Toward Sustainable Stupidity”, with the simple example of recycling, no matter what the environmental problem is, “Mo people = mo problems”. Every problem is exacerbated by high population levels, and America has twice as many people as it did just about 50 years back.

    China has been burdened with this problem for almost ever. Do you all know that China had 100,000,000 MORE people in the mid 1800’s than the US does now? That’s on maybe 60% of the land area – the western 40% of what you see on the map is Xinjiang and Tibet, which hold a very small fraction of the Chinese people.

  91. @Joe Wong

    I am not sure that it is jealously of China. I think that some of the negative comments arise from various ideological perspectives. For instance, for people who think that completely unrestrained capitalism is a good thing, there is a resentment against anything positive being printed about China at all.

    I have been to China three times. I am close with Chinese born individuals and current Chinese citizens. There is a lot beneficial going on in China. There are also things that concern me. The good thing about this site is that you get a better variety of comments and observations that you find in more mainstream venues, which are currently little more than propaganda platforms. Here, while you still encounter people who are “ideology driven,” you also find people open to new perspectives.

    • Replies: @Herald
  92. @Plunger

    You have very good points here, Mr. Plunger, especially the one about trying to keep up old infrastructure. Anyone who’s lived in an old house knows about this. It’s tempting to just tear the whole damn thing down. That can’t be done in the middle of NYC, and you can see how many times the roads get torn up.

    Knowing China Q/A, and often shoddy methods, I wonder how long their gleaming stuff will last. That’s not really a disparagement of the place, but I do want to know. Some of the NYC stuff, like the subway, for example, is well over 100 years old. Will the Chinese infrastructure last near that long? I don’t know.

    I disagree somewhat with your assement of Mr. Reed in this, and his previous, post on China however. I don’t think these ones really cut on Americans as he’s done in the past. Believe me, I was about sick of the guy, but I only clicked due to the word “Chengdu”.

    • Replies: @Barbarossa
  93. @Carroll Price


    It sure helped that it was a wide-open country then with only a few dozen million people.

  94. FLgeezer says:

    Paying obeisance to those in charge:

    I doubt that the Chinese have to jump through this hoop, but give it time.

  95. @nsa

    I almost spilled my coffee laughing.

  96. Avery says:
    @Swan Knight


    Here in California, the moonbeam administration of messianic Jerry Brown is embarked on a so-called “high speed” rail project that nobody needs and nobody will ride. Construction has barely begun, but its projected cost has been climbing since the clueless CA voters approved a ~$10 billion bond measure for this joke in 2008. The estimated cost today is ~$80 billion, and is projected to cost ~$100 billion at completion, if it ever gets completed. I don’t know how many $billions have been wasted so far on various “studies” and such.

    Meanwhile, not a single new water reservoir is being built in CA, while its population has grown to about 40 million. The solution by Sacramento commissars to the water shortage problem is to force people not to use water in CA. There is a plan to limit how much water each family will be allowed to use per person per day. Meanwhile, a couple years ago when there were massive rainstorms, trillions of gallons of fresh water just flowed to the ocean instead filling new dams. The existing dams filled up quickly and operators were forced to open drain valves to prevent overflowing.

    • Replies: @Alfa158
  97. Ron Unz says:

    Actually, for those interested, here’s a somewhat parallel article of mine from a few years ago:

  98. Herald says:
    @Mike from Jersey

    A very fair post, although there is more than a small number of things about the west that will be of considerable concern to right minded people.

    • Replies: @Mike from Jersey
  99. Herald says:
    @Carroll Price

    I doubt whether Fred was there looking for a wife but I could be wrong.

    • Replies: @Carroll Price
  100. @nsa

    ‘Every Chinese family has been promised a white houseboy by the year 2050…….a gleat glound floor oppoltunity for all yu millennial plicks shackled by student loans that can nevel be dischalged domestically…’

    They work too slow and then poison themselves trying to get high on the cleaning supplies. Get a Guatemalan, better.

  101. @Avery

    ‘…Looking from outside, pretty much everything China’s government does is for China, i.e. the Chinese nation – healthy Chinese nationalism (for them). Whatever they do outside China (e.g. in Africa) is to promote China’s long term interests, not the interests of foreigners or other countries like US government does…’

    As so often, your criticism rests on a misunderstanding of the situation.

    Our government does a very good job of promoting the interests of the state it serves. What more could Israel reasonably ask?

    • LOL: Curmudgeon
  102. @Herald

    I agree.

    There is a lot going on in the US that concerns me. The really sad thing is that Americans are generally a good-hearted people. Unfortunately, there is a growing cancer at the centers of power. This is magnified by the lack of a responsible media. I fear this will not end well.

  103. Prusmc says:

    OH for the days when I could be a foreign male that any Chinese girl would hop in bed with.

    • Replies: @zogborg
  104. DB Cooper says:

    Don’t know about that. But some country thinks this could happen sooner than 2050.

  105. @Barbarossa

    I enjoyed reading your reply, could not help but agree with all your comments. Too bad more kids can’t be exposed to the environment you have provided for your own.

    • Replies: @Barbarossa
  106. Joe862 says:

    China is a demographic train wreck in the making. It’s easy to be productive when you have one or zero children. The smart people moved to big cities, work like dogs, and don’t procreate. It’s not sustainable. Remember when Japan was going to take over the world? You don’t hear a whole lot about them anymore. Their economy has been shrinking for decades.

  107. @Achmed E. Newman

    the trains don’t work out very well, except for in that NE corridor, Washington, FS up through Boston, Mass.

    The Hiawatha trains used to work very well. The heavily subsidized Interstate (Military) Highway system killed them.

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
  108. zogborg [AKA "idgaf666"] says:

    I’m exaggerating a bit, but anybody who has much experience with CHina and Chinese people know they have intense inferiority complexes, leading to such social phenomena. They’ve furthermore never had a true warrior caste culture, unlike say Japan, which means its people dont have much of a backbone and are generally cowardly and mercantile

  109. Pft says:
    @Achmed E. Newman

    Our highways and trains were all built with government financing/intervention. They wouldn’t have been built otherwise

    Since government took the neoliberal/privatization route infrastructure has deteriorated aside from some isolated local infrastructure projects that seem to take decades to complete (Bostons Big Dig) with many quality issues and cost over runs. Having lived in East Asia most of my adult life when I return to US I am reminded of Shanghai 1989. Not very impressive, very third worldish

  110. @Achmed E. Newman

    It’s a valid point on the longevity. I’ll expand your point a bit to point out that if we built in a really long term way, our infrastructure would be young at 100. The Romans were good at this, with many of their roads, aquaducts, etc. being shockingly well preserved almost 2000 years later.

    I see all sorts of concrete which is blowing apart after 30-40 years in the northeast US.

    The Romans knew how to work with the natural strengths of concrete (as well as being constrained by the lack of plentiful steel to use as reinforcement) and designed their structures to work in compression (as well as having a v-e-r-y slow curing concrete).

    Nowadays we use materials in stupid ways like the concrete suspension bridge, which guarantees it’s self-destruction. The steel makes the concrete deck function in tension, but also blows the concrete up as it corrodes.

    It’s a stupid wasteful use of high value materials but perhaps is a fitting metaphor for our current “civilization”.

    The bring it back around to the point under discussion; if this stupidity is the norm in the US with it’s relatively slower development, I would expect the breakneck pace of Chinese expansion to amplify these issues to a huge degree.

    So, I would absolutely agree with you that the Chinese glitz is probably built on a questionable foundation. Although I have no knowledge of Chinese building in particular, I can tell you with certainty (being in the building business) that almost all modern building is utter crap and I don’t see any evidence that China has changed the game there.

    • Replies: @turtle
  111. @Plunger

    So China should re-invent the wheelto prove they can do it?? And as far as individual freedoms go, I suspect the average Chinaman has as many, if not more, than you I, which ain’t many. When was the last time you tried doing anything without first getting the government’s permission to do it? And if you’ve lately walked across a street, chances are you violated one or more laws related to restrictions on pedestrian traffic.

    • Replies: @Plunger
  112. ZZZ says:

    Bears are omnivorous and clearly enjoy human junk food. They don’t suffer bad effects from such foods because they have much shorter life spans then humans. People who want to restrict zoo bears to “natural” foods are just imposing their narrow ideology on bears.

  113. @Yee

    Actually, merchants had a very low social status in China’s long history.

    …as they did in America and everywhere else prior to being Judaized

    • Replies: @Jeff Stryker
  114. @Simply Simon

    Simply Simon,
    Thanks, I’m glad you enjoyed it. I wish that more kids could too. I see too many kids run over by societies’ trainwreck.

    I live in kind of an oddball area though. It’s what they call “economically depressed”, which means a lot of people still have some tangible skills and a non-conformist view in general.

    There are plenty of, what I will uncharitably describe as “white trash” welfare dependents, but there are quite a number of people who just live their lives the way their conscience dictates, to hell with normal society. (Now that I think about it , it’s a bit like although with a much smaller Jew fixation, thankfully!)

    Sometimes civilization can flourish a bit farther away from the center of Empire, or at least I hope so.

  115. @Avery

    China’s long term interests, not the interests of foreigners or other countries like US government does.

    Ye do ere! With the exception of Israel, what the US government does in the name of promoting the interest of foreigners, is in reality done to promote the interest of Wall Street money lenders and other 1 percenters. It should be more than obvious that the US government does not give a damn about the welfare of people in other countries.

    • Replies: @FKA Max
  116. @Herald

    I was referring to the reported shortage of Chinese women available for Chinese men to marry and raise families. With the shortage reportedly due to Mao’s limit of two children per household leading to large numbers of female fetuses being aborted in favor of male offspring to preserve and carry on the family name.

  117. anon[348] • Disclaimer says:

    Asia is the future:

    These Asian nerds had better stay smart and learn from America, do not allow a tribe of selfish, greedy, dishonest, disloyal (((lawyers))), (((bankers))), (((leftists))), (((neocons))) and all their useful idiots to take over their country and run them to the ground the way they did to America.

  118. anon[348] • Disclaimer says:

    – China has less extractive elites.

    The West coast and Northeast are swamped with rich Chinese, probably living here on tourist visa, bought their houses with cash, living the good life in America with all their ill gotten gains, very likely wanted in China for corruption or cheating their factory workers out of 3 months’ back pay.

    Ask Singapore, HK, Australia, NZ how they like being swamped by the Chinese.

    China’s elites are the most extractive of any nation in history.

    • Replies: @Jeff Stryker
    , @Escher
  119. anon[348] • Disclaimer says:
    @Achmed E. Newman

    Though, I guess it’s not the point of these two posts, I’m hoping Mr. Reed has something to say about the people themselves.

    From what I’ve seen of those who moved into my city, I would prefer they stay the hell back in China. Rude beyond believe. One guy I know tells his kids all the time “China No. 1 !!!” makes you wonder why the F he’s here.

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
  120. FKA Max says: • Website
    @Carroll Price

    With the exception of Israel, what the US government does in the name of promoting the interest of foreigners, is in reality done to promote the interest of Wall Street money lenders and other 1 percenters.

    Very well put!

    Orange County currently looks like this; a (half-Jewish) real estate developer’s dream demographics “Maids and Mandarins”

    “Chimerica” is still one of Niall Ferguson’s most prescient analyses and predictions, in my opinion:


    Unfortunately, he has been bribed/corrupted by or sold out to Steve Schwarzman and

    Niall Ferguson | America’s Elites & China

  121. anon[348] • Disclaimer says:

    Such a shame there are so many people who have an unreasoning hatred of Chinese people.

    This is one reason. These people are rude, loud, selfish, soulless, dog-eat-dog, barbaric:

    And they are invading America with EB5, student and tourist visas, chain migration and birth tourism.

  122. @Maureen O'Brien O'Reilly

    How endless wars have harmed us..

    I left the US in 1999. I’ve seen it.

  123. I live near a resort area now frequented by a lot of Chinese.

    The last time I was there it was packed with the most beautiful, 2% body fat Chinese hotties, holy shit.

    Every one of them. I saw a couple dozen, along with an older generation of parents. It seemed to be an organized tour of well over a hundred. When I arrived here it took a decade before I saw my first Chinese visitor.

    In terms of percentage growth, it’s off the charts. From zero to being the majority of visitors at this resort. They were laying down the cash for massages, expensive meals, jewelry and gold purchases – these are the high rollers, not railroad workers for the Central Pacific.

    We could out-work these chinks but hubris and ignorance inculcated by years of corruption in U.S. government and culture is making us soft.

    • Replies: @Jeff Stryker
  124. @Daniel H

    The US is a second-world country with a few rich people on either coast.

    Cities like Flint don’t even have clean water.

    • Replies: @FKA Max
  125. @Curmudgeon

    It’s not just the Interstate Highway system, though, Crumudgeon, IMO. There are lots of people, including myself, who’d love to ride a reliable fast train over driving (I would have gone for the driving 15 years ago, though). As I wrote in my post, and in the comment you just replied to, trains work better for people when they can catch them right downtown, where they live. Unfortunately, for reasons most unz commenters would know about, most people who travel don’t live downtown anymore, as they used to in the Hiawatha days.

    • Replies: @Jeff Stryker
  126. Plunger says:
    @Carroll Price

    I didn’t say they should reinvent the wheel. I simply pointed out it’s easier to build the newest stuff when you don’t have to deal with the old stuff first. And America spends too much on welfare and the military. Money that should have been reinvested in this country. As for freedoms, China has its social credit system and I’m betting in no time most of its population will sign up for implanted chips which will bring them totally under the control of the state. Asian societies always remind me of a termite colony or ant hill. Obedience seems part of their DNA. Tell me how much of the modern world came from Asia and how much from the West?

    • Replies: @Vidi
  127. @anon

    They do seem to have a real “China Number 1!” attitude, as you say, for people who moved way the hell over here, I’ll grant you that. However, I’ve mostly met respectful Chinamen and Chinawomen in the US (Chinatowns notwithstanding). I’ll say that the kids can be just as loud as any American you’ve ever seen. That’ll surprise you. They have no problem with a lot of noise, unlike lots of us Americans.

  128. @Achmed E. Newman

    Racial Violence and the Urban Underclass Drives Everything-

    Whites arrived from Europe in the North to inner-cities where the black crime rates rose until their children moved to the suburbs and became commuters.

    NYC has a subway system because Wall Street cannot be shifted over to the suburbs and enough whites have remained in the city to support a public transport system.

    But as the DEATH WISH film (And Goetz case 10 years later) demonstrated, subways were dangerous in the seventies and eighties in NYC.

    Because few whites want to live in cities and will commute one hour a day downtown, there is no tax money to build public transport.

  129. @anon

    Philippines is the worst example. Chinese even wiped out agriculture with imported rice. They control 90% of the economy.

    Because they own pharmacies and hardware stores, they are the manufacturers of meth. Duterte has said as much, but there is nothing he can do to prevent the endless export of meth to Philippines.

    Chinese-Filipinos control the meth distribution in Philippines. Meanwhile penniless users get shot.

    If you want to see the worst case scenario of what happens when Chinese take over your country then visit the Philippines.

    That is why there were occasional anti-Chinese pogroms in Indonesia and Malaysia.

  130. @Backwoods Bob

    1) The US has a contiguous boundary with a country full of Red Indian primitives who sell massive amounts of drugs and guns and export thousands of gang members to US soil. You’d have to nuke Mexico to stop this. Massive amounts of US money go to DEA and law enforcement to keep them from taking over the US and trying to stop the drug cartels from simply making Arizona a narco-state.

    2) The US burns money in the desert by electing alcoholic fools like Bush because the white prole GOP base can be made to believe anything their 1% tell them if they do a few photo ops of them raking leaves in their yard.

    3) The US has a vast underclass whose economy runs on the drug and gun exports from Latin America. So essentially the US has to battle both Mexicans and ghetto blacks whose GDP is guns and drugs.

    4) The US has a huge white prole underclass of law-abiding but dim people who will spend their lives pumping out kids too young, going to jail for DUI, drifting from low-paying menial job to menial job, creating broken homes and arguing about issues like homosexuality, abortion, creationism and other trivial unimportant abstract nonsense that Chinese do not care about.

    5) Apparently, and I am not totally convinced, the US media is run by Jews who deliberately create reality TV shows and interracial porn in order to degrade the morals of whites and turn them into mindless whiggers. Chinese seem unaffected by this.

    6) Every 10 years a new drug sweeps through the US and destroys a significant percentage of people. PCP, the crack cocaine, then meth, now Opiates…it just goes on and on and on.

    Chinese deal with none of this. So of course they have the advantage

  131. @anon

    Blacks, Jews and Women being allowed to vote and hold public office is what ruined America, with either group being fully as bad as the other, but in different ways.

  132. @anon

    Asian-Americans are not culturally ground into the ground like whites in the US. A good many are rich in the US and do not suffer from cultural pathology.

    Although they have long been the heroin importers to the US far less of them are dying from overdoses.

    The behavior of Koreans towards blacks, whom they shot like dogs and more or less regard as the same species in LA, is almost comical.

  133. @Carroll Price

    Not true. The Brits that settled the US were merchants.

    And Chinese merchants were in the Philippines and ran the place. Nothing to do with Jews.

    Rednecks might have some valid points for excusing their sorry condition on Jews in the US but this does not seem to have anything to do with Asia.

    Asian-Americans seem less affected by Jews because they don’t care about anything but money. They cannot be convinced of the US media of anything. They never show up for US wars. They don’t care about history. Nothing matters but money and that is why they are in the US.

    This is why they are successful.

    Meanwhile evangelical Protestants who ramble on about the constitution and save up their money for 10 years to visit Israel end up totally destitute and their son is a whigger.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  134. Alfa158 says:

    Some of the choochoo train money is being spent on “studies” as a means of paying off political allies. However, probably a larger amount is being spent on subsidies to the Northern California BART and Southern California Metro transit systems. The stated plan was to start the project by building the infrastructure at each end of the line before filling in the middle.
    Most of that money is being used to subsidize operating losses by BART and Metro and to expand conventional rapid transit lines inside those systems.
    I once calculated that I wanted the spending to eventually expand to $120B. A $20 bill is .1mm in thickness. The height of a stack of $120B in $20 bills, comes out to about that distance, and that would be a cute way of conveying to Californians how much that train really cost them.

  135. FKA Max says: • Website
    @Jeff Stryker

    Cities like Flint don’t even have clean water.

    At least they have enough water…


    China’s acute water shortage imperils economic future
    China’s water crisis has no easy answers, suggesting severe dislocations to come

    China’s Water Crisis | China Uncensored

    Water-Stressed Beijing Exhausts Its Options

    7 percent Proportion of the world’s fresh water that is in China, home to 20 percent of the global population.

    2,700 miles Length of China’s $60 billion South-to-North water diversion project. Eighty percent of China’s fresh water is in the southern part of the country.

    70 percent Proportion of Beijing’s water supply that comes from the South-to-North water diversion project.

    4.3 inches Amount that Beijing’s Chaoyang zone is sinking each year. Groundwater depletion is causing land subsidence throughout the city.

    39.9 percent Proportion of Beijing’s water that is too polluted for use, according to a 2017 water quality report.

    1.98 million cubic meters Amount of untreated wastewater that was discharged in Beijing in 2015. The water has been ruled unsafe for agricultural and industrial use.

    • Replies: @Biff
    , @Jeff Stryker
  136. Biff says:
    @FKA Max

    Everybody has water problems.

    While they will probably not face the extreme water stress blanketing the Middle East in 2040, global superpowers such as the United States, China and India face water risks of their own. High water stress in all three countries are projected to remain roughly constant through 2040. However, specific areas of each, such as the southwestern U.S. and China’s Ningxia province, could see water stress increase by up to 40 to 70 percent.

    • Replies: @FKA Max
  137. @FKA Max

    Would you rather walk through a drought-stricken Chinese city or Flint at night?

  138. turtle says:

    Nowadays we use materials in stupid ways like the concrete suspension bridge, which guarantees it’s self-destruction. The steel makes the concrete deck function in tension,

    “If you want a ductile frame, use steel. Genuine ductile frame.”

    -George Chang, long ago a respected professor of structural engineering @ Cal State U.

  139. FKA Max says: • Website

    I think it is more of an issue for China than the U.S.

    Discussions of water scarcity, water stress, or other ways of accounting for future challenges are not as straightforward as they might appear. The distinction between economic and physical scarcity is one important factor to keep in mind.


    • Replies: @RadicalCenter
  140. Escher says:
    @Mike from Jersey

    How heavily is this modern infrastructure utilized, or is a good part of it make-work projects to keep the economy “stimulated”, like the Japanese bridges to nowhere?

    • Replies: @Mike from Jersey
  141. Escher says:

    These people are rude, loud, selfish, soulless, dog-eat-dog, barbaric

    Did you mean “man-eat-dog”?

    Kidding aside, I believe mainland Chinese will also become more civilized as the country becomes more prosperous, and there is less need to fight for access to resources. Look at Singapore and Taiwan as examples.

    • Replies: @Jeff Stryker
  142. Escher says:

    Singapore and HK have always been Chinese cities. Singapore in particular was nothing but a fishing village before migrants from China (and a smaller number from India) came when the Brits took over the place.

    • Replies: @Jeff Stryker
  143. I visited China recently. What I impressed most is not those fancy modern cities and new infrastructures. I impressed by how many poor peasants being lifted out of poverty and starting to have a good life. A large percentage of Chinese peasants who used to have difficulties to feed themselves now not only own houses in their home villages, but also in the city nearby, and even more peasants own a car now. This much of improvement of life for poor Chinese peasants in such a short time probably was not anticipated by many people not long ago. I used to think that large poor peasant populations in rural countryside is the biggest problem for China and need long time to change. Now I find that I was wrong.

    Compare to the US, Chinese elites are still very dumb and ignorant. The lower 50% population of the society, poor Chinese peasants are hard working people and contributed most for the past forty years economic development. They are conformists, so anybody finds a way to make good money, everyone will follow. They value education, the kids passed college entrance exam to get university will be worshiped in the village. I met quite a few PH.D doctors who are peasant’s son. Kids like Michael Brown will be despised in even the poorest village, no parent will call that kind of kid “good boy”, not to mention being honored by the president at funeral by sending three representatives. This is the real advantage that China over the US.

    • Agree: RadicalCenter
  144. @Escher

    “More civilized”

    Are you more afraid to walk through Beijing or Flint, Michigan (Or East Los Angeles or any other US city) at night?

    If you went to a Chinese equivalent to the welfare office how many young pregnant single women do you think you would find?

    China is less prosperous than Detroit?

  145. Here is much of why the US has not one inch of fast rail: It would kill of a lot of business for politically well connected airlines.

    Fred’s travel writing is fun to read, but I wouldn’t put too much stock in his analysis. Chinese rail is likely heavily-subsidized. Just how heavily subsidized? Here’s a clue – the cheapest fare from Chengdu to Chongqing, a distance of around 200 miles is 97 yuan, or about $14.

    Whereas the cheapest bus fare from Guangzhou to Hong Kong, around 75 miles away is 80 yuan, or about $11.42. Given that train travel is *always* more expensive than bus travel, even after subsidy (just compare unsubsidized Greyhound with subsidized Amtrak fares), the Chinese bullet train subsidy might be several times the ticket price.

    Meanwhile, China’s railroad authority had a debt to fare revenue ratio of over 5 to 1. American Airlines, the most indebted US airline, has a debt to fare revenue ratio of 0.5 to 1. That’s another way of saying that relative to revenues, China’s railroad authority is using 10x the leverage ratio of American Airlines. At some point those bullet train fares will have to go up. I suspect at current levels, they’re not even covering most of their operating costs, let alone debt service.

  146. A quote from the Nikkei article linked above:

    With its finances in a shambles, JNR eventually raised train fares by 50% in 1976, a desperate move that backfired, driving customers away and putting JNR into a worse position. Total debt ballooned to 37 trillion yen at the time of privatization, forcing it to spend more than 1 trillion yen annually to service the debt.

    Each year the company received 600 billion yen to 700 billion yen of state subsidies. But the funds did little to address the root problems.

    Eventually, the government took over JNR’s debt after it was turned into the Japan Railways group of private-sector companies. The government spent 24 trillion yen from its general-account budget to pay off part of the debt, but at the end of fiscal 2015, there was still 17.7 trillion yen of JNR debt to pay back. The debt has thus been shifted to future generations of taxpayers.

    At some point, just their Japanese counterparts, the Chinese government will probably end up using taxpayer money rather than fare revenues to pay off hundreds of billions of dollars in debt incurred to build this hugely expensive white elephant.

  147. @Escher

    Good point. Hong Kong and Singapore only became attractive to Chinese migrants after these places became white colonies.

  148. @Escher

    The Kunming airport and roadway to Kunming is heavily used. The high speed trains I rode on were not filled to capacity but well utilized. They were utilized to the point where it was well-used, but not jammed.

    I can’t tell you about the subway system since I did not utilize it. I generally got around by bus, taxi or private car.

    Note that the projects that I listed are just examples. There are many, many more. For instance, the entire city of LiJiang was rebuilt (I would estimate the core population of Lijiang to be about 250,000). It is a thriving, vibrant town.

    I have talked to Chinese people whom I know about ghosts town and unused infrastructure. They tell me that it does indeed happen but it is not as common as reported in the west. I, myself, saw a couple of examples of seemingly out of place condominiums in Yunnan Province but not many.

    Note that there is a large ongoing migration from the countryside to the cities in China. Thus, there is a real need for increased housing and infrastructure.

  149. @anon

    ‘…This is one reason. These people are rude, loud, selfish, soulless, dog-eat-dog, barbaric…’

    Actually, they’re alright.

    • Replies: @Jeff Stryker
  150. @FKA Max

    Very interesting.

    But if the map is predicting “little to no water scarcity” in California in 2025, that part’s likely too optimistic.

    • Replies: @FKA Max
  151. @anon

    life is still cheap there, happens when you have over a billion population along with a history of mass murder and forced abortion by the state

    • Replies: @By-tor
  152. FKA Max says: • Website

    In the article commenter Biff shared the author acknowledges the limitations and “unspecificness” of their analysis and approach:

    However, specific areas of each, such as the southwestern U.S. and China’s Ningxia province, could see water stress increase by up to 40 to 70 percent.

    This pattern reflects a limitation of national-level datasets. Averaging future water stress across an entire country into a single score can disguise local-level risks, even using WRI’s weighting algorithm to count water stress where water is used the most. WRI generally recommends that most Aqueduct users operate at the tool’s standard sub-river basin level with more granular information. However, certain users, such as international commercial banks with national portfolios, depend on national indicators to assess risk, so rankings and aggregated scores are valuable.

    I think the issue for China is that large portions of its population, industries and power generation are located in extremely water-scarce regions of the country, whereas in the U.S. most of its vital industries and population centers are not directly affected by water shortages:

    “The problem is that 80% of the water is in southern China, meaning that eight northern provinces suffer from acute water scarcity, four from scarcity, and a further two [Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia] are largely desert,” the study said. “These 12 provinces account for 38% of China’s agriculture, 46% of its industry, 50% of its power generation [coal and nuclear use a lot of water] and 41% of its population.”

    I think in the U.S. water affordability is a bigger issue than water availability is:

    America has a water crisis no one is talking about
    Outdated infrastructure is making water too expensive for millions of families.


  153. FKA Max says: • Website

    I forgot to hit the “Reply” button. Here my reply to your comment:

    I also just saw that Unz Review commenter and contributor Godfree Roberts commented on this issue underneath this article:

    Modeling Beijing’s Water Crisis

    Godfree Roberts • a year ago

    “Because the population of the city is expected to rocket to more than 50 million by 2050”?? No. Beijing’s population is capped. It’s not going to rise at all; that’s why they’re doing JingJinJi.

    “The greater recovery rate still does not ensure enough water to meet demand or even offset the steady decline of groundwater in the area.”?? The South-North Diversion Project has already stopped or reversed that trend.

    He is a prolific commenter on the Disqus platform, over 3500 comments thus far in a little over 7 years of commenting:

    Article from Australia just published a couple of days ago:

    Forget geopolitics, water scarcity shapes up as the biggest threat to China’s rise

    “Beijing is not so special, why are we diverting other people’s water that’s also shrinking? We should learn to save water, we only have one Earth.”

    Yongding River
    Photo: The Yongding River Dam, which sits dry. (ABC News: Brant Cumming)

    • Replies: @FKA Max
  154. By-tor [AKA "Jesse James"] says:
    @Toxic Talmudist

    Who out ‘mass murders’ the US-UK-FRA-GER-JAP 20th and now 21st Century war machines? No one.

  155. FKA Max says: • Website
    @FKA Max

    Here is the televised report from ABC Australia:

    Water scarcity shapes up as the biggest threat to China’s rise | ABC News

    ABC News (Australia)
    Published on Nov 22, 2018

    • Replies: @FKA Max
  156. FKA Max says: • Website
    @FKA Max

    This is the Chinese Tibetan water diversion project:

    China builds Asia’s longest water diversion tunnel | CCTV English

    The Indians are not pleased:

    China plans mega water diversion project

    Published on Oct 31, 2017

    China denies Brahmaputra tunnel report

  157. Anonymous[366] • Disclaimer says:
    @Abelard Lindsey

    Maybe. I suspect the bigger reason is that the common good (or what the government perceived that to be) trumps individual rights. They want something done, they’ll do it. None of this getting held up in court by environmental interest groups and NIMBY citizens.

    The country is run by engineers not lawyers and the common good trumps the individual.

    • Replies: @FKA Max
  158. FKA Max says: • Website

    Apparently, this is changing. I was not aware of this until today…

    Only a decade ago, eight of the nine top Communist Party leaders studied engineering or natural sciences – the most sought-after majors when the country was struggling to industrialise.

    But no one in the newly appointed Politburo Standing Committee, unveiled on Wednesday, belongs to the so-called technocrats, who worked as engineers or natural science researchers before entering the political arena.

    President Xi Jinping, who studied chemical engineering at Tsinghua University, was the only one with such experience, but he went straight to the government after graduation and pursued a higher degree in Marxist theories and political education.

    Among his peers, two studied political education for their first degree and the rest majored in management, philosophy, politics or law.


  159. @Colin Wright

    I lived in Phoenix and I now live in Asia under similar modest economic circumstances (Though better now) and I sure as hell would rather be white working class in Asia than in ANY US city.

    In the space 11 months in Phoenix I was mugged once by Mestizos, barely escaped a random jumping by “Brown Pride” Chicano at a bus stop, walked into a Circle K just after a black guy had robbed it and the clerk was in shock on the floor behind the counter, was mercilessly harassed on the street by white redneck tweakers…and I may have forgotten some incident or another.

    None of this has happened in Asia.

  160. Vidi says:
    @Achmed E. Newman

    I’ll say that, back when America WAS a can-do country, it had nothing to do with the government, except for the fact that it was expected to leave people the hell along.

    The Hoover Dam, a government-led and -financed project, was built in the 1930s, when the U.S. was still a can-do country.

    The Hoover Dam created Lake Mead, California’s largest water supply. The dam was probably critical to making California as rich as it is today. I know a Libertarian like you would hate to admit it, but this example of very Chinese-like foresight had everything to do with government.

  161. Vidi says:

    Tell me how much of the modern world came from Asia and how much from the West?

    An enormous part of the modern world is due to technology from China.

    Paper and the printing press ended the Dark Ages in Europe and ignited the Renaissance.

    Europe’s feudal system was destroyed by gunpowder. The great lords were no longer safe inside their invulnerable castles because the castles were no longer invulnerable: cannons could blow up the strongest fortifications.

    The magnetic compass enabled Europe’s Age of Discovery. (It would have started China’s age of discovery, if half the world did not consist of the Pacific Ocean.)

    As you can see, we are where we are today because of China’s four great inventions (paper, printing press, gunpowder, compass).

    • Replies: @jeff stryker
    , @Philip Owen
  162. Anonymous[658] • Disclaimer says:
    @Haxo Angmark

    Obviously, it is best to find the right balance between extreme Chinese style surveillance state aka “thought monitoring and correction on a colossal scale” (as we see unfolding in restive areas of china) and the extreme PC tone of our “elected” [read (((chosen)))] officials. Neither of them are good for the long run. I see many Americans outright dismiss China. Whether you like it or not, China is going to be a major nation in the coming decades as we wither and fade away [or fight back and win] whether we like it or not.

    A nearly “ideal” state would want to make sure the majority doesn’t feel outfoxed or threatened in any way (that’s what nations are for right?). Even if the minorities are genuinely more “talented”, “successful” and/or “driven”, they must NOT be allowed to dominate and subvert the majority to further their agenda. At the same time, the majority must not outright suppress any and all expressions of the minority groups’ identity, whether voluntarily or involuntarily as long as it doesn’t threaten the majority in a real way.

    I saw the tightrope balance in Malaysia. The Chinese are clearly the elite, they wear short shorts, skirts and what have you and they can eat roast pork all they want. As long as they do not insult Islam outright they are fine. I saw something similar in Russia vis-a-vis the ethnic minorities. However the politicos don’t grovel to them in any way [as it should be].

    On the other hand we have “democracies” like the US where Christmas is replaced by “happy holidays” at the insistence of such (((globalist))) organizations as the SPLC, ADL and ACLU. Not to mention removal of pork to assuage certain “ethnic minorities” in certain school canteens. Then there are sham democracies like Pakistan or those that are somewhere in the middle like India [which has frequent ethnic and religious riots against ethnic/religious minorities featuring all the blood, gore and rapine you’d expect from any third world countries , the majority letting off steam from time to time]. The world is a complex place and there are many governing “styles”. However the sweet spot lies lies somewhere between complete ethno-nationalism and complete cuckery

    • Replies: @RadicalCenter
  163. @Vidi

    Gutenberg invented the printing press and Chinese gunpowder was little more than a firework.

    Chinese discovered the lodestone but Arabs invented the compass as we know it.

    • Replies: @Vidi
    , @Vidi
  164. Anonymous[658] • Disclaimer says:
    @Jeff Stryker

    I know you pretend to be a dunce but you are a deliberate deceiver. But you need to up your game Mr Patel.

    They never show up for US wars. They don’t care about history. Nothing matters but money and that is why they are in the US.

    We are not in the US. We are citizens. Our parents tamed this place when it was nothing but a weed farm. Have you ever considered that for us this country is perchance more than just a shopping mall or an investment firm’s office? And ‘patriotism’ has been drummed into us from a very young age via (((public schools))) so a lot of naive young soldiers get into the ZUS army thinking they are genuinely doing something for the motherland. It is only later some of them realize the purpose was always to further the interest (in the ME) of the Zionist bankers. Secondly not everyone is a (((parasite))) like you who runs away instead of standing guard and fighting [even if you believe your cooked up stories about the upper peninsula].

    Meanwhile evangelical Protestants who ramble on about the constitution and save up their money for 10 years to visit Israel end up totally destitute and their son is a whigger.

    So you see nothing dishonorable about a small (((minority))) using the naivete and the generosity of it’s hosts to further their interest abroad? I’m sure you will have no problems when your other buddies, the Indians[dot] and the Asians do the same for their countries [unlimited immigration and offshoring of jobs]. You are a pathetic troll and bring nothing here except your third rate intellect. Your CQ aka cunning quotient is slightly better but still second grade. You need to watch how your other (((buddies))) like Tyron 2 [funny name for a globalist i’d admit] work their charm here and learn.

    By the way you say you’ve got German ancestry is it? Never saw anyone with that ancestry trolling around like a fool, spitting garbage upon garbage everywhere. Looks like you spent too much time around a couple of Indians[dot] or in their outrageous forums.

  165. Miro23 says:

    When did people get comparable feelings from visiting the USA for the first time?

    About right, or in other words when the Baby Boomers (counter-cultural wreckers) arrived on the scene to destroy everything that made it possible.

    • Replies: @Sparkon
  166. Miro23 says:

    I feel that so much of the current insanity is due to people that have no connection to the land or natural processes of any kind. Try and tell a farm kid that there are umpteen genders!

    To continue this OT theme, I would agree, and since involvement in the natural world is not going to happen voluntarily ( it’s a no-interest subject and just about always taken for granted) then the government could get involved.

    I could imagine some sort of government mandated “nature responsibility” applying to every citizen, to build natural habit according to their possibilities. On privately owned land (even a small garden or patio) follow guidance on how to plant suitable shrubs or maybe a tree, increase green cover and return fallen or cut vegetable matter to the earth.

    If everyone was involved in this, natural habitats would benefit greatly, as would probably the public (psychologically) and society in general.

  167. tyrone says:
    @Achmed E. Newman

    Oh don’t we long for the days when Fred rode along with cops in black neighborhoods.

  168. Sparkon says:

    Yes, brilliant analysis. The oldest Baby Boomers were 4 years old in 1950, but already we were tearing the place apart.

    But truly, even then as kindergarteners, my classmates and I were already plotting to destroy everything good and decent in the United States, as such conspiracies seemingly could have sprung only from our Baby Boomer breasts.

    Psst. You see, there was a – s p e c i a l – f e a t u r e – in some movie theaters back then that enabled young and infant Boomers to cry and wail to our widdle heart’s content in the friendly confines of the sound-proof crying rooms where you could see the movie without all the crying babies disturbing the other patrons who were getting their full dose of Hollywood, while we Boomers were really secretly passing coded messages cleverly disguised as cries and shrieks, laying out our plans to destroy traditional American culture and values.

    It’s tough to be born bad, but I guess somebody had to do it.

    And anyway, all the young pups just love the simple, mindless pleasure of chewing on that Boomer bone, so gnaw on dudes; someday you may find a bone of your own.

  169. Da Wei says:
    @Achmed E. Newman

    Of course, and thank you for your response. We’re all in this fight together, so use my words as you deem fit. Keep the faith, A.E.N. Let’s just get this mess fixed. I’m returning in a year or so. Grind ’em down a bit, please.

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
  170. republic says:

    Anyone Sinophobic should read the book Ways that are Dark: The Truth about China, by Ralph Townsend

    You can thank me later

  171. Da Wei says:
    @Abelard Lindsey

    A. L.,

    Thanks. You say, “I can also testify to not seeing any obesity during those 10 years.” Good point, this.

    Implicit in your observation are 2 reasons — health and aesthetic related — that Americans should take heed:

    First, a duty of self care. Getting so fat you have to drive a golf cart down the Wal-Mart aisle to buy more shit to eat on government grant is a violation of the duty of self care, not to mention self respect. You get diabetes and more and it’s your fault if you don’t maintain your own health.

    Second, women in Asia are lovely and well groomed and they’re not pissed off about it. Give up the lie that fat girls are beautiful. Stop hating men for your own bad attitude and shape up.

  172. @Simply Simon

    Good to have you around, sir.

    I’m kind of astonished there isn’t a good market for upscale passenger rail. Or maybe there is but it’s suppressed by various means.

    • Replies: @Simply Simon
  173. @The Anti-Gnostic

    Thank you. I am glad to still be around although I may not be too happy when I see the insanity that passes for today’s politics. But as you grow older the more you cling to life. As witness my 96 year old brother is in a nursing home and is otherwise good health except for bouts of dementia. The sad thing is he has nothing to look forward to except death.

    • Replies: @Da Wei
  174. Vidi says:
    @jeff stryker

    Gutenberg invented the printing press and Chinese gunpowder was little more than a firework.

    Isn’t it odd that China was printing books for centuries before Gutenberg was born? The Chinese obviously stole the printing press!

    Chinese discovered the lodestone but Arabs invented the compass as we know it.

    What the Arabs did was a minor modification. The important function of a compass is to show North, and China’s spinning spoon-like device (much more than just a “lodestone”) did it just fine.

    Do I have to bring up what Francis Bacon, one of the first Western scientists, wrote? For someone like you, I guess I do:

    Printing, gunpowder and the compass: These three have changed the whole face and state of things throughout the world; the first in literature, the second in warfare, the third in navigation; whence have followed innumerable changes, in so much that no empire, no sect, no star seems to have exerted greater power and influence in human affairs than these mechanical discoveries.

    — Francis Bacon, Novum Organum, 1620

    Beyond the four great inventions, thousands — yes, literally thousands — of Chinese technologies have benefited Westerners, who of course refuse to acknowledge their debt. You might want to read Science and Civilisation in China by Joseph Needham, but I doubt you will bother — it’s thousands of pages long, in many volumes.

    • Replies: @Lin
  175. buckwheat says:

    This is a shining example of what politicians do to a country. Corrupt people running a country into the ground while the sheep sleep the sleep of dolts.

  176. @Vidi

    The horse collar may or may not have been simultaneously invented in early medieval England and China. As with the other inventions, the Europeans did more with it. They invented the mold board plough which allowed the Anglo-Saxons to expand onto heavy clay soils with only small Romano-British populations. This spread across Frankish Europe with similar effects.

    It’s not so much invention as what you do with it, innovation.

    • Replies: @Vidi
  177. Vidi says:
    @jeff stryker

    Chinese gunpowder was little more than a firework.

    I forgot to address this part.

    The Chinese used gunpowder for far more than fireworks. They invented rockets and used them in warfare (in the Battle of Kaifeng) more than a thousand years ago.

    In any case, the inventing was the important part. A later refinement like the cannon would have been useless without China’s gunpowder.

    Without the cannon, you would still be bowing and abasing yourself in the most humilating fashion to the ruling lords.

  178. Vidi says:
    @Philip Owen

    It’s not so much invention as what you do with it, innovation.

    The invention is by far the most important part. A later refinement is of distinctly secondary consequence.

    So go ahead, keep trying to minimize China’s fundamental contributions to the modern world. (Of course the Chinese stole everything!)

    • Replies: @Philip Owen
  179. denk says:

    Pete Navaro
    I don’t have any concerns at all about making stuff up about my opponent that isn’t exactly true.”

    Sound familiar?

    This man boldly declare himself a liar, sounds like he actually wears it like a badge of honor too.

    Yet he’s puppet Trump’s economic czar, the architect of the blistering trade war against China, which allegedly has a master plan to wipe out murikkan economy.
    War with China is inevitable, added Narravo.

    but making stuff up off the cuff is fukus signature trade mark.
    Show me one man in Trump’s cabinet that ISNT a liar ?
    How about the Clintons, Bushes, Obama,,,….?

    Telling a bald faced lie with a straight face,
    They might as well include it in the job requirement….ONLY PSYCHOPATHS NEED APPLY.

    I was really tickled by the recent hullabaloo about the appointment of Kanugth to chief justice, there was a hue and cry about he being a ‘liar and perjurer’.
    Well If thats the case, why he must be the man for the job.
    A liar and perjurer surely belongs in Washington DC …like shit in a cesspool.

    But murikka is a land of equal opportunity, so lying shouldnt be an elites prerogative, in fact, its almost a national pastime.

    If you need more proof, just look at the sinophobes in this thread, one of them [republic] even proclaims himself as such [sic].
    I wonder if he even understand the pejorative implication of that word, or more like he’s wearing it like a badge of honor, like Narravo ?

    A thread about China always bring these characters out of the wood work, Haxo, agent76, republic, Toxic Talmudist…….
    How are they any different from the Narravo, Trump, Clintons…..?

    Now you know how, in land of the free fraud, they manage to churn out 45 charlatans as potus in a row…….
    They couldnt help it, chances are if you throw a stone while flying over murikka, it’d prolly land on the head of a Narravo, or Haxo, or Toxic Talmudist …..


  180. FB says:

    Just chanced upon this piece…nice description of what China looks like on the ground in real life…what with the rocket-like trains…the miles long tunnels through mountains…the great roads…not to mention the urban planning…the buildings etc…

    Yet more ‘proof’ that communism doesn’t work…LOL

    By contrast the US is quickly descending into an Ayn Rand psychopath hell where everyone is raping each other…LOL

  181. Lin says:

    Ancient Chinese gas drilling:Drilling technology is older than we think.
    For most of us, drilling and the exploitation of hydrocarbons date back to the mid-19th century. However, sophisticated drilling techniques were first developed in the ancient salt producing industry in China’s Sichuan Province. As detailed by Mark Kurlansky in his book, Salt: A World History, the drilling technology used to produce brine and natural gas in this region far pre-dates western efforts.

    Sichuan Province, one of China’s richest regions, has undergone an intense period of human development. The Yangtze River flows along the southern edge of the basin, and numerous tributaries drain south through the rich agricultural lands and into the Yangtze. With its fertile, well-watered soil and mild climate, Sichuan is one of China’s most productive farming regions. Since ancient times, this region has held attractive conditions for human habitation and has been occupied by humans since the dawn of our existence. Many of China’s ancient technical accomplishments came from this region, including sophisticated irrigation techniques and their drilling technology.

    Approximately 5,000 years ago Chinese coastal people were boiling sea water to produce salt. As high density human settlement penetrated further and further inland and increasingly relied on farming, salt — critical to human survival as a vital food supplement and preservative — became a valuable commodity. The first recorded salt well in China was dug in Sichuan Province, around 2,250 years ago. This was the first time water well technology was applied successfully to the exploitation of salt and marked the beginning of Sichuan’s salt drilling industry. From that point on, wells in Sichuan have penetrated the earth to tap into brine aquifers, essentially ground water with a salinity of more than 50 g/l. The water is then evaporated using a heat source, leaving the salt behind.

    About 2,000 years ago the technology began to evolve. The inhabitants began to dig wells with percussive drilling systems instead of digging them by hand with shovels. By the beginning of the third century AD, wells were being drilled up to 459 ft (140 m) deep. Rural farmers in China still use this drilling technique for water wells today. The drill bit is made of iron, the pipe bamboo. The rig is constructed from bamboo; one or more men stands on a wooden plank lever, much like a seesaw, and this lifts up the drill stem about 3.3 ft (1 m) or so. The pipe is allowed to drop, and the drill bit crashes down into the rock, pulverizing it. Inch by inch, drilling slowly progresses.

    It has been speculated that percussive drilling was derived from the pounding of rice into rice flour. While it may seem that this was a fairly crude technology, the methods became quite sophisticated over time. Eventually, these ancient drillers had developed most of the tools and techniques one might see on a modern drilling rig, albeit on a smaller scale and without the benefits of modern machining methods.

    At regular intervals in the drilling, the crushed rock and mud at the bottom of the hole needed to be removed. The drill stem would be pulled from the hole using a large wheel, somewhat similar in appearance to that on a modern flexible cable downhole tool truck. A length of hollow bamboo with a leather foot valve would then be lowered to the bottom of the hole. When the tube was lifted, the weight of the mud inside would keep the valve closed, and the contents could be brought to the surface. Drilling would then recommence.

    The drilling method on its own is impressive, especially when considering that the rest of the world had nothing comparable in the earlier centuries. But even more impressive are all the techniques the Sichuan drillers developed to overcome common drilling problems such as cave ins, lost tools, deviated wells, and so on. A huge variety of tools and techniques evolved to handle well repair issues. Many different drill bits were also developed, with different sizes, shapes and compositions, to deal with the different rock types encountered, and the many different drilling requirements. For example, opening the hole at the wellhead required a large heavy bit — 9.8 ft (3 m) long weighing 331 to 551 lb — called the “Fish Tail”; the “Silver Ingot” drilled the well bore rapidly, but roughly; the “Horseshoe” bit drilled slowly, but achieved round, smooth, high quality well bores. Hollow logs were used in the near surface as casing.

    A major breakthrough, which allowed for deeper wells, was achieved around 1050 AD. Solid bamboo pipe was replaced by thin, light flexible bamboo “cable.” This dramatically lowered the weight of the “drill string,” which made it easier to lift from the surface. By the 1700s Sichuan wells were typically in the depth range of 984 to 1,312 ft (300 to 400 m).

    In 1835 the Shenghai well was the first in the world to exceed a depth of 3,281 ft (1,000 m). In comparison, the deepest wells in the United States at that time were about 1,641 ft (500 m) deep. The Sichuan salt producing industry was centered in the city of Zigong, and early photographs show hundreds of producing derricks, salt stove operations, and the Fuxi River jammed with salt trading boats. Brine and natural gas were transported through extensive networks of bamboo pipelines.

    Wood was initially the fuel used in the evaporation process, but sources of wood became scarce before long due to the scale of the salt production industry. Several energy saving techniques were used during evaporation, but natural gas eventually replaced wood in the brine evaporation process. At some point in the 16th century, techniques were developed to harness the natural gas encountered during drilling for brine. Natural gas was burned beneath the big salt pans. The introduction of natural gas and its coexistence with brine pushed Zigong’s salt production into the industrial scale.

    Once wells were drilled down to 2,297 to 2,625 ft (700 to 800 m), they could produce both brine and gas from the Jialingjiang group Triassic formations. Annual salt production in Zigong in the 1850s was about 150,000 tons. The Chinese population was about 450 million at that time. The salt industry was a huge economic driver, and many large cities in Sichuan were established and flourished,because of the lucrative salt trade.

    A key technological advance was the introduction of the “Kang Pen” drum at the end of the 18th century. This drum sat on top of the wellhead, and the pressure within the drum was controlled such that gas and brine could be produced simultaneously, and efficiently separated. One bamboo pipeline would take away the brine and others the gas.

    The 2,000 year-old Sichuan salt industry has drilled approximately 130,000 brine and gas wells, with 10% of those in the immediate Zigong area. Zigong has a cumulative gas production over this period of over 1.06 Tcf. The area continues to be a major salt producer, and many of the historical wells are still in production.

    This article was originally published in the journal of the Canadian Society of Exploration Geophysicists RECORDER, June 2004, pp. 34-43. For a full version of Ancient Chinese Drilling visit

    • Replies: @Vidi
  182. @Vidi

    That is what Chinese did to British cannons that is for sure. Though the Chinese did manage to defeat the Dutch in Taiwan.

    • Replies: @Vidi
  183. @Vidi

    Whites never committed suicide at the behest of some Emperor’s prostitute as happened in China.

    A bunch of Siberian nomads called Manchus did not ride down from Russia and take over the entire country and force the populace to worship them like the Manchurian did to Han Chinese in Europe.

    • Replies: @Vidi
  184. Anonymous[261] • Disclaimer says:
    @last straw

    Maybe it started off genuine but was bought off by Soros/State Department. If you don’t think they do this you are naive.

  185. @Vidi

    I am not trying to minimize Chinese contribution to invention. However, my business includes technology transfer and innovation. I really don’t think invention is the clever part. Using technology to solve problems is the bit that builds new worlds.

    An engineer is someone who can build for 6d (2.5 decimal pence) what any scientist can build for a £1 (240 old pence, 100 decimal pence). But the eingineer only does it when he has a problem to solve.

    • Replies: @Vidi
  186. Vidi says:

    Thanks. No doubt the Westerners think China stole it all.

    • Replies: @Jeff Stryker
  187. Vidi says:
    @Jeff Stryker

    That is what Chinese did to British cannons that is for sure. Though the Chinese did manage to defeat the Dutch in Taiwan.

    It’s the invention of gunpowder that made cannons possible — and these weapons destroyed the feudal system and turned Europe upside down. The great lords didn’t voluntarily yield to democracy; they were forced to step down. The death of the feudal system was a change of the first magnitude — and you can thank China for that.

  188. Vidi says:
    @Jeff Stryker

    Whites never committed suicide at the behest of some Emperor’s prostitute as happened in China.

    A bunch of Siberian nomads called Manchus did not ride down from Russia and take over the entire country and force the populace to worship them like the Manchurian did to Han Chinese in Europe.

    I thought we were talking about the inventions from China. It seems you are more interested in slamming Chinese history and culture. If you are that negative, why are you living in East Asia?

    • Replies: @Jeff Stryker
  189. Vidi says:
    @Philip Owen

    The Western definition of “technology transfer”: paint this bottle red, not green.

    • Replies: @Philip Owen
    , @Philip Owen
  190. @Vidi

    …And married to a Thai-Chinese (Yunnan) woman no less.

    You brought up the subject of feudal lords in Europe and a comparison could be drawn.

  191. @Anonymous

    That is a really thoughtful, well-considered, practical comment.

  192. @Vidi

    The Westerners think that China did not do anything with these discoveries one way or the other.

    One thing that is overlooked is that Chinese sailors PROBABLY discovered America as well. But they did not do anything with this knowledge either.

    • Replies: @Vidi
  193. @Vidi

    Firelances to cannons is a fairly big step.

    • Replies: @Vidi
  194. @Vidi

    There was no huge overall difference between the Roman empire, stretching to Byzantium and the Han Empire. Han agriculture was probably ahead. Roman maritime technology was probably better and so on.

  195. @Vidi

    The Longbow could have killed the lords. The big game changer was plague. That said, the ease with which musketeers could be trained provided Parliament with an army to challenge the King during the English Civil War. I am not sure the French revolution would have been any different without cannon. (Napoleon restored order over the mob with cannon; the aristocracy were long gone by then),

    The case for pre-industirial technology transfer is understated, not just from China. any technology worth discussing is going to have long and increasing impact. Even so, North West Europe was the place the place the industrial revolution took place, not the Pearl River Delta or the Indus Valley. That’s probably as much to do with law, property rights and financial systems as invention as such. Chinese merchant property was insecure. This prompted consumption rather than reinvestment.

    • Replies: @Jeff Stryker
    , @Vidi
  196. @Philip Owen


    To get an idea of what Asia would be like without technology transfer one must look at the North American Indians who were Asians that wandered over the land bridge.

  197. Vidi says:
    @Jeff Stryker

    The Westerners think that China did not do anything with these discoveries one way or the other.

    Why do you think China has been richer than the West for most of the last one thousand years? I would say the four great inventions, paper and the printing press especially, were largely responsible.

    Having taken Chinese technology without acknowledgement, the Westerners now accuse China of stealing.

  198. Vidi says:
    @Philip Owen

    Firelances to cannons is a fairly big step.

    From wood and coal fires to gunpowder is a bigger step, by far.

    • Replies: @Philip Owen
  199. Vidi says:
    @Philip Owen

    The Longbow could have killed the lords.

    The longbow decided the Battle of Crécy in 1346; the feudal system survived just fine.

    The big game changer was plague.

    Nonsense. There was plague in Roman times; see the Plague of Justinian (roughly 540 AD if memory serves).

    That said, the ease with which musketeers could be trained provided Parliament with an army to challenge the King during the English Civil War.

    What powered the muskets? Gunpowder.
    Where did gunpowder come from? China.

  200. @Vidi

    No. Effective cannon needed major advances in metallurgy and machine tools (cannon boring). And that was a deliberate process, not some chance discovery by an alchemist.

    Don’t get me wrong, the Old World has been a place of technology transfer for a long time. The Britishmelite are well aware of it. Mrs. Thatcher’s favourite reading was Joseph Needham’s Science and Civilization in Ancient China. However, technology alone is not enough. There need to be institutions to maximise it. Free market capitalism is the best so far. How regulated those markets should be is another debate. China is doing catch up so far. There is plenty of evidence that autocracy is a good system for catchup. Once you reach the top group, it’s another story. Being completely obedient to the boss does not get innovation. Priests, merchants, courtiers, mandarins or craftsmen who should be in charge? Not soldiers, not farmers.

    • Replies: @Vidi
  201. Vidi says:
    @Philip Owen

    No. Effective cannon needed major advances in metallurgy and machine tools (cannon boring).

    Gunpowder was more important than metallurgy.

    We know this because without cannon the goal of ending feudalism could still have been achieved in many ways with gunpowder. For instance, by using bombs thrown by catapults. Or, as you realized in a previous comment, by using gunpowder-loaded muskets. Or even by using yet another Chinese invention: the rocket.

    However, without gunpowder or its derivatives, it is difficult to see how the lords could have been ousted.

    Therefore, gunpowder was the critical technology, and metallurgy was only of secondary importance.

    The death of feudalism was a major turning point in European history, and it was caused by only one of China’s four great inventions. Now imagine the impact that all four of them must have had, singly and in combination.

  202. Da Wei says:


    I was thinking more simplistically that we have been overtaken by Israel’s agenda. I posed the thought as a rhetorical question, but not so clearly. You have some good ideas, though. We do need major tax changes, starting, I think, with abolishing the income tax.

  203. Da Wei says:
    @Simply Simon

    Simply Simon,

    As a fellow old timer, I read your remarks with some interest. Half a year or so ago at the Sacramento Train Museum I spoke with a 96 year old docent who told me of riding on a Pullman car and drinking scotch with Roy Rogers. Of course, this was in the days before Dale Evans. The gracious docent was, and hopefully still is, an upright and stout man with vise for a handshake. I, myself, liked Roy Rogers, Pullman cars and I still like scotch, but mostly I like the attitude. How you think is everything. Keep punchin’, S.S.. My hopes for you and your brother are that you have a Merry Christmas.

    • Replies: @Simply Simon
  204. @Da Wei

    Thanks, Da Wei. Just posted. Good night.

  205. @Da Wei

    That 96 year old docent is my kind of man. My advice to anyone approaching old age is not to think of your self as old. Walk as erectly as possible with shoulders back and stomach tucked in. Best not to grow fat and have a protruding stomach. Nothing marks and old man like one who shuffles his feet. Don’t give up exercising including walking and stretching. Light weight lifting does wonders for retaining muscle tone and you too can have a vise for a handshake if you do grip exercises. Many of the exercises by Charles Atlas in his book Dynamic Tension are available in PDF form on the internet and can be easily performed by most older men. My 96 year old brother once gave me a bit of advice I have faithfully followed over the years: A man who does not shine the heels of his shoes is likely to neglect other important things. I’ve always remembered to keep the heels of my shoes shined. Thanks for your comments and a Merry Christmas back at you.

    • Replies: @Da Wei
  206. Da Wei says:
    @Simply Simon

    Charles Atlas! Now there’s a name we need to remember. My father used Dynamic Tension exercises as a young man with very positive results. Personally, I followed Buster Crabbe’s weight exercise program, and watched him on the Saturday matinees, too.

    I’m with you 100% on the exercise issue. I couldn’t agree more. Never let ’em see you looking hangdog.

    And remember when men shined their shoes? Now, shining the heels, that’s a classy touch. Thanks to your brother for that one.

  207. Anonymous [AKA "mr. reasonable"] says:

    Always nice to see something like this. No country is perfect but as a Kiwi who has lived in Hong Kong for 35 years (and had a studio and apartment in Shanghai late 90’s for a few years) I can happily say that while I watch the U.S. divert billions of dollars into illegal wars all over the place (“exporting democracy”) while American citizens are left subject to an infrastructure that just seems to be imploding, I am happy to be where I am. China is a huge country and I am certainly not an ‘apologist’ – things are imperfect there, as they are in ‘the West’ BUT while the U.S. sinks deeper into debt and despair, China is growing economically and socially. I have lots of friends who visit from New York, L.A., various European cities and N.Z. & Oz, and they all are shocked and surprised about how the MTR (subway) here is so clean and efficient, how everything just WORKS. I spent some time in Chengdu a couple of years ago and loved the place – the people are pretty laid back, the food is amazing, the town just feels good, no ‘areas you don’t go at night’ or any of that sort of thing. Every time I visit Beijing, Shanghai etc I see things getting better – I see people who have hope, something to look forward to. When I look at the States I see increasing anger and division . . . hardly the ‘shining city on the hill’. Thanks for making the effort to tell it like it is!

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