Posted by: Bruce Einhorn on February 1, 2008
Plenty of readers are angry at me for my story about the potential for social unrest in Chinese cities slammed by the weather-induced transportation chaos. According to some, I’m an ignorant, anti-Chinese bigot who should be fired. And those are the milder comments. Fine, I can handle criticism. But I do want to point out that there’s no denying how bad things are getting in China’s cities. Today’s South China Morning Post and International Herald Tribune, for instance, have photos on their front pages of sick women, apparently overcome by cold, being carried away amid the huge crowds of freezing people in front of the Guangzhou train station. “Angry men, howling women and scared babies,” is the headline in the SCMP. “Storm unmasks weak links in Chinese economy,” reports the IHT. “No going home: Millions Stranded in China cities,” is the lead headline in the Wall Street Journal Asia. Even the official China Daily can’t manage an upbeat headline. “President: step up power supply,” the paper reports. “Hu urges coal output, shipments be safeguarded to ease power crisis.” If even the China Daily, the government’s mouthpiece, is saying there’s a crisis, then the situation must be very, very bad.