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Old June 27th, 2008, 04:08 AM   #741
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guotai art center
freaking fast



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Old June 28th, 2008, 08:05 AM   #742
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the entire area need massive make over, just look at these ugly building across the construction site!
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Old July 6th, 2008, 11:05 AM   #743
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I've just updated the index. Thanks macpolo for your help and patience!



Chongqing Planning and Exhibition Center. The city model shows a concept idea of the future of Chongqing. Most important skyscrapers aren't added until they have a definitive design. Therefore, you wont find here more than some of the main projcets on going in town.




Jiefangbei Main Projects. Jiefangbei is the main skyline of Chongqing. However, since there are new projects being added or revised every month, this chart is already outdated.



Nanping Main Projects. One of the many booming skylines in Chongqing city.



200m+ List.



Magic Mountains. This masterplan is a vision project for Jiangbei New City, tallest "mountains" would be 350m tall. Although the full version of the project has no chances to be built, it’ possible that they'll construct a part of it.



Jiangbei New City CBD Supertalls: 1x500m, 1x380m, 1x360m. The second core of Chongqing CBD has seen a recent increase about the maximum heights for its landmark projects, located respectively at plots A13, A07 and A11. Formerly, Jiangbei highest were planned to reach 300m, 350m and 240m, the plan has just been changed. It also includes another 5x200m+ towers. Designs haven't even started, just a conceptual plans by the moment.



Sun Valley:450m+, 100 floors; 4x200m+, 50+ floors. Yingli Properties' tallest project in town. Officially announced to be composed by one tower of 100 floors and another four above 50. The design is likely to be rather conceptual, and the outcome is expected to be drastically revised downwards. This project is located in Jiangbei district, next to Future International tower. Several on going projects by Yingli properties within the area were merged into this single large development.



Chongqing Tiandi : 443m, 102 floors; 260m~, 52 floors; 190m+. This is Chongqing's tallest project approved by the moment and it is scheduled to be started within the end of 2008. The project has been designed by KPF and will be developed by Shui On Land. Located at Hualongqiao district.



ASE Center : 428m, 88 floors; 293m, 61 floors; 234m, 69 floors; 201m, 58 floors; 193m, 55 floors After countless revisions, the final version of this enormous project by Taiwan ASE Group is being decided at last.It will be composed by 5 towers only. The three shortest highrises will be residential, the two tallest will be used for offices and hotels. The heights of the two main buildings isn’t final and they are expected to be revised upwards to 460m+ and 300m+ as the developer wants to make it taller than Chongqing Tiandi project. The final version has been designed by Dennis Lau & Ng Chun Man studio.



Marriott Center: 398m, 80 floors. Formerly known as Wanmao Center, this project is the highest in Jiefangbei CBD. It also registers a record in height modifications, 168m to 276m, 298m, 335m, 339m, 330m, 320m, 357m, 375m, 377m and finally 398m. Construction works, still around 8 floors, has been on hold for a year due to the last height increases and needed reconfiguration. Final version is expected to be launched on October 2008, the height might be revised again to 405m.



Financial Street Project: 7x180-350m Latest supertall development released in Chongqing. Located in Jiefangbei area, this monster project includes one supertall and at least another 5 towers above 200m. It remains unclear whether International Mansion plot is included in the plan. The masterplan was designed by KPF.



Global Financial Building: 330m, 79 floors. Another of the supertalls packed in Jiefangbei core. This project has changed once and again not only its design, whose first versions were well below 300m, but also the name. From Lifan Edifice to Fortune Center, Chongqing World Financial Center and currently Global Financy Center. The final project was designed by C.Y. Lee.



Hongyadong Phase 2: 320m+, 68 floors. The second phase of this traditional style commercial development will include a supertall according to every known proposal. One of these proposals also includes another 2 towers of 200m+ and 150m+.



Yingli Tower: 320m, 72 floors. After two years of countless changes, this tower located just next to Marriott Center will be started within the end of 2008. Developed by Yingli Properties.



Yuzhou Hotel: 308m, 76 floors. Another of the long awaited supertalls in Jefangbei, Yuzhou Hotel rebuilt was expected to reach just around 200m at first, but the project was revised once and again to reach 300m. Final design probably unreleased, it will be probably revised back below 300m.



Chongqing Moi City: 300m+, 75~ floors; 200m+, 65~ floors. Moi developer's first project in town, it was early announced as an average 200m+ project, but latest releases confirm another huge skyscraper which might be even above 350m due to the spire. Located in Jiangbei district.



Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Building: 300m+, 75~ floors; 200m+, 50~ floors; 160m+; 150m+. Some years ago some unclear huge proposals were released for this project. In early 2008 a new version likely to be developed by ICBC bank is out as they are planning to rebuild the old ICBC building over the area. Still no official news about this project.



Newport International Towers: 300m+, 73~ floors; 200m+, 40+ floors. This project is located next to ASE Center and is being developed by Taizheng Group. JP Morgan Chase is known to be among the investors. Formerly known a Triumph Tower.



Danzishi Supertall: 300m+. Danzishi is expected to host the third phase of Chongqing CBD after Jiefangbei and Jiangbei New City. The concept renders schedule a supertall project there and probably some towers above 200m as well.



Park Place: 2x300m~, 71 floors and 2x200m~, 40 floors. Located in Jiangbei CBD, this proposal might be drastically cut due to height limits. According to the these limits, the final project might be just three towers of 250m, 150m and 124m.



West Asia Hotel: 297m, 68 floors; 240m, 48 floors. Already under construction, this one is Dadukou district’s tallest projectl approved by the moment.



Chongqing Poly International Tower: 290m, 60 floors. Located at the plot formerly occupied by Chongqing Guest House in Jiefangbei. This is the second project in town by Politec Group. Foundation works are taking place and it is expected to start rising in late 2008.



First Block: 290m~, 68 floors Not much is known yet about this new biggie. Supposed to be approved.



International Mansion: 288m, 72 floors. Another Jiefangbei project repeatedly delayed due to design changes and height increases. It has been recently relaunched after its last revision, but new looking still unknown.



World Trade Center Chongqing: 283m, 60 floors. Currently Chongqing's tallest skyscraper, it was finished in 2005 becoming one of the most famous landmarks of the city. In the heart of Jiefangbei CBD, it's reign well be shadowed in a few years by a large number of higher towers projected around the area.



Nanbin CITIC Plaza: 280m+, 68 floors; 200m+, 48 floors. Huge project proposed for Nanping skyscraper area, possible supertall. Other proposals are just 200m~. Formerly known as Huangedu Towers.



Bund on the 1st : 2x280m+, 58 floors Twin project released by Taizheng Group. JP Morgan Chase is known to be among the investors.



Guobin City: 275m+, 70~ floors. Early design for a coming masterplan composed by tens of residential highrises in addition to the main tower.



Da Song Tiandi: 275m~, 67 floors. Daping district tallest project by the moment.



Lijing International: 275m+. Another of the projects developed by Taizheng Group.



Paradise Beyond the River Hotel: 275m~, 66 floors. The main tower of this large project hasn't released its final design, which is expected to be around 275m. The 3 residential towers of 207m and 54 floors were completed in 2005.



Lanko International Conference Center: 258m, 52 floors; 163m, 30 floors; 142m, 32 floors; 128m, 30 floors. Located in Nanping area, Lanko Conference complex is one of the largest complexes currently under construction in Chongqing. Lanko Grand Hyatt Hotel, 258m and 56 floors, has been finished already.



Asia Pacific Town: 250m+, 60 floors; 20~x100m~ Under preparation in Nanping, there are several proposals for this large multi-tower development. The final outcome remains unclear. One of the proposals includes a second tower above 200m.



North New Zone Spiral Towers: 2x250m+. Strange proposal in north Chongqing, very few chances.



Chongqing Yangjiawan Project: 250m+, 60+ floors. Still very conceptual, no info by the moment.



The Bamboo Tower Hotel: 250m+. Out of this world project for Chongqing North New Zone, no news for a long time. Height supposed to be increased if relaunched.



Neo China Top City: 242m, 54 floors; 165m, 38~ floors; 6x100m~, 30~ floors. This project purchased by Sheraton Hotels is almost finished already.



Fuzhou City: 240m+, 62 floors. Large development recently announced.



Xinhua International Building : 240m, 53 floors. Located at Jiefangbei CBD core, this tower has been resumed after being on hold for many years. Foundation works are almost finished and it will start rising in late 2008.



Future International: 236m, 50 floors. Located in Jiangbei, this project was completed in early 2007.



New York New York Tower: 228m, 46 floors. Finished in 2004 in Jiefangbei, it became Chongqing's first tallest 200m+ skyscraper. Developed by Yingli Properties.



Shanghai City Hotel: 220m+, 65 floors. The boxiest design in Chongqing, should be started soon.



MOCO Center: 220m, 55 floors; 2x100m+. Longhu Properties latest project. This amazing complex has been started already.



Nanan Sports Center Phase 2: 220m, 50 floors. Supposed to be approved, no details yet..



Sun City: 220m, 45 floors; 100m+, 30~ floors. Recently started.



Sheraton International Center & Hotel: 218m, 47 and 42 floors; 2x30+ floots. Already topped out, this project built by Taizheng Group will be finished in a couple of months.



Kempinski Hotel: 217m, 57 floors Boxy one in Nanping skyscraper area. Construction to be started soon.



Jahoo Hong Kong City: 210m, 56 floors; 6x28 floors. Another large project being topped out in a short time.



Tianyuan Redevelopment: 2x200m+, 60+ floors.. No details by the moment.



Yangjiaping China Resources Building: 200m+, 60~ floors. Recent proposal, no info available.



Tongjufu Plaza: 200m+, 58 floors. Project in Jiangbei district, next to L Place twins. Still very conceptual.



Chongqing Gate Twin Towers: 2x200m+, 56 floors. Twin tower project recently relaunched in Yuzhong.



Huanghua International Mall: 200m+, 55~ floors; 4x35 floors. Big project recently started in Jiangbei.



Hyatt Hotel: 200m+, 53 floors. This hotel project has been recently revised upwards to 53 floors. No images of the new version have been released.



Chang Long –Chu Shui Furong: 3x 200m+, 53 floors Triplet residential towers planned in Nanan district.



Shangri-La Hotel: 200m+, 50 floors. Still very conceptual, one of the four Shangri-La hotels projected in Chongqing. The designs for the other three are totally unknown by the moment.



Crowne Plaza: 2x200m+, 50 floors. Twin tower project next to Sheraton twins in Nanan. Foundation works have been started.



The Wharft Project: 2x200m+, 50 floors. The Wharf Group has just released the design of its project in Jiangbei New City CBD. It is expected that more highrises will be added in further phases as the developer purchased 4 plots.



Chongqing Exhibition International: 2x200m+, 50~ floors Twin tower project developed by Taizheng group recently released..



Guanghua International Community: 200m+, 50~ floors. Large residential project developed by overseas Guanghua Group.



Century Emperor: 200m+, 47 floors. This project will be topped out soon. It remains unclear whether it will finally be above 200m.



Fashion City: 200m+, 42~ floors. Very unknown project.



Sinoland Project: 200m+. The second phase of this project developed by Sinoland will include a skyscraper above 200m according to official plans.



Sunshine 100 Nanbin: 200m, 53 floors; 12~x100m~, 30~ floors. Huge residential project almost finished in Nanbin road. Main tower (hotel) to be started soon.



North International Center: 200m, 48 floors Newly released and already under construction, this project also includes 11 residential highrises above 100m.



Nanbin Longxin Towers: 3x200m~, 53 floors. Large residential project developed by Henderson Land in Nanbin road, still no images.



Qiu Shui Chang Tian: 200m~, 50 floors. Large residential project developed by Huayu group in Shabingba, almost finished.



Yubei Bus and Railway Station: 200m~. Concept proposal for a transport hub located at Yubei district.



Capecoral Project: 3x180m+, 58 floors. Huge residential project in Jiangbei composed by numerous towers already under construction.



Riverside City Garden: 180m+, 45 floors; 9x100m~. Recently started, this is one of the most amazing residential developments in Chongqing. Developed by China Merchants.



Jinrongjie Group Project: 2x180m+. Concept design for another twin project in Jiangbei district. The final version is being designed by SOM.



Since Group Tower: 180m, 40+ floors. Art Deco residential tower recently launched for Yuzhong district.



9th Street Project: 175m+, 48 floors; 100m+, 36 floors. Recently released.



L Place : 2x175m, 35 floors. Developed by Langshan Hotels, these twins have been recently started.



Sunshine 100 Jiangbei: 175m+, 40 floors. Large residential project in Jiangbei district.



Kingrun Apartments: 175m+. Residential tower, very unknown project.



Yubei Masterplan: 2x175m+. Concept masterplan for Yubei skyscraper area.



Chun Sen Bi An: 2x172m, 56 floors. Huge multitower residential project under construction.



IFC Twin Towers: 2x168m, 30+ floors.. Twin Tower project designed by SOM, already under construction.



Xi Cheng Tian Jie: 168m, 30~ floors. Boxy project under construction.



Changjiang International: 2x167m, 39 floors. Old project recently relaunched becoming a twin project. It has started rising already.



International Trade Center Twin Towers: 2x161m, 43 floors Finished in 2006 in Jiefangbei CBD



Jiangbei CBD curved tower: 160m+. Stunning design approved in Jiangbei New City CBD. The name of the project hasn’t been released.



Tianyuan Tiandi: 5+x150m+. Huge residential development next to Chongqing Tiandi.



Xinbaolong Yicheng : 150m+. Another residential project. No info by the moment.



Sofitel Hotel: 150m+. Completed in 2007.



Haomen Apartment Rebuilt: 150m+ Reconstruction plan of one of the old buildings purchased by Shui On Land in Jiefangbei. The plans for the other redevelopments remain unknown.



China Resources Group Project: 150m+ Large residential project developed by China Resources.



Fontaine Bleu: 3x150m. Boxy project developed by Sincere Group.



Fortune Center: 150m~. Once a 200m+ proposal, this project has been drastically revised down.



Shabingba Education Center: 2x100m+. Excellent design, expected to be started soon.



Juxin Plaza: 2x100m+. Almost completed



Chashi Twin Towers: 100m. Cute project recently topped out.



Rongqiao Left Bay. This monster residential masterplan composed by countless towers will house 50,000 people, construction has just started.



Lishu Bay. Residential project.



Danzishi Longhu Project. Another major residential highrise development, developed by Longhu Properties. Recently started.



Chongqing Guanghua City New project developed by Guanghua Group.



Chongqing Wanda Hotel. Recenlty started.



Zongshen Power City. Large project recently launched.



Guotai Opera. Recently started, this opera palace will be located at the heart of Jiefangbei CBD.



Chongqing Grand Theatre. Construction to be finished in late 2008, located in Jiangbei New City.



Chongqing Science Museum Under construction in Jangbei New City CBD.



Natural History Museum Recently released.



Dadukou Sports Center. Large sport facilities development at Dadukou district.



Jiangbei International Airport: Currently under construction, will be able to handle 70 million passengers a year when completed around 2020.


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Old July 6th, 2008, 11:56 AM   #744
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Unbelievable. I've never seen such quality designs for one city.

Excellent work Zorg!!!
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Old July 6th, 2008, 12:40 PM   #745
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Since Group project, July 1




Ultra slow progress of Chasi Twins


Yanghe R&F Plaza
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Old July 6th, 2008, 12:40 PM   #746
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Century Emperor, July 1


Sheraton Twins, July 5


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Old July 6th, 2008, 01:24 PM   #747
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Sun valley in Chongqing


Z3-2 in Shanghai


Look like copy or while same... Z3-2??
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Old July 6th, 2008, 01:28 PM   #748
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I wish they rescued that dead proposal, that would make Sun Valley taller than 500m. But they say it will be probably 'just' around 400m.
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Old July 7th, 2008, 05:14 AM   #749
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choongqing grand theatre




[IMG][/IMG]


guotai opera


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Old July 10th, 2008, 06:30 PM   #750
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Jiefangbei CBD core. 10x290-430m towers approved in this tiny area and at least another 10x200-288m
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Old July 10th, 2008, 06:33 PM   #751
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Chun Sen Bi An


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Old July 10th, 2008, 06:36 PM   #752
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More of Neo China Top City




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Old July 10th, 2008, 06:48 PM   #753
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Good pics to understand the crazy transformation of Jiefangbei. By 海盗猫.

Xinhua International Tower started rising already. 240m, 53 floors (final height could be 244m though)







Right beyond there is the cleared plot for Yingli Tower, 320m.



Then you can see Marriott Center (398m), currently on hold, whose final design should be released in October and it's expected to be changed to 405m.



Finally, in the background there is the shortest tower of the huge ASE Center (5x193-428m) rising fast as hell.

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Old July 11th, 2008, 06:10 PM   #754
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Amazing pictures.The skyline of the peninsula will finally change again.
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Old July 12th, 2008, 04:42 AM   #755
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Seems like China Shidai Group (Hong Kong) is planning 385m twins in Chongqing Dadukou district. First supertall in this area. No images yet.

This will be the main landmark of Dadukou coming business area, with a budget of 440亿元 (6.4 billion dollars)

http://ecqsb.hsw.cn/html/2008-07/12/content_49783.htm
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Old July 12th, 2008, 04:04 PM   #756
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another 2 supertalls....Chongqing is so incredible, can't imagine how the city will look in 10 years
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Old July 13th, 2008, 01:51 AM   #757
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Some pics from WTCC roof (262m)

Jiefangbei. You can see Xinhua Intl Tower (244m) rising on the right and Global Financial Building (320m) plot on the left, with some cars parked.


Nanan district in the background.


Cathay Opera and Chongqing Grand Theare in the background.


The shortest tower (193m) of ASE Center (5x193-460m) on the left. Neo China Top City (240m+) on the horizon.




Cathay Opera again. The ugly blocks behind will be removed to build Hongyadong Phase 2 (350m~)


Marriott Center (398m) at the bottom. All the crappy lowrises in the second line will be removed to develop KPF's Financial Street (7x180-350m). Sheraton Twins (2x218m) in the background.


Jiangbei district


Jiangbei New City CBD with Chongqing Grand Theatre and Science Museum u/c. Also Chaotianmen Bridge, world's largest arch bridge when completed.


Xinhua Intl Building at the bottom. Yingli Tower (320m) plot at the opposite corner, with a couple of nail houses left.


Cathay Opera again, next to it they'll set Jiefangbei only big open space.
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Old July 14th, 2008, 04:40 AM   #758
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i lov it
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Old July 14th, 2008, 04:50 PM   #759
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America and China: The Eagle and the Dragon Part Three: onward and upward

Last Updated: 12:01am BST 09/07/2008

The thrusting tower blocks of Chongqing stand testament to the headlong economic growth that is changing the lives of millions of Chinese. Mick Brown and the photographer Alec Soth continue their investigation into the contrasting fortunes of the US and China by exploring the world's fastest-growing city


It was while sitting at the table in Lei Jing's dining-room, in his neat little house on the outskirts of Chongqing, overlooking the plot of land that his family had tended for generations, that the message of China's extraordinary economic boom became clear. We had driven out from the city that morning, through the dense forest of new skyscrapers and tower blocks (many still swathed in scaffolding) that were sprouting up in every direction in readiness for the hundreds of thousands of people who arrive in Chongqing each year from the countryside in search of a new life. We had swept along the newly constructed freeways, past the new private developments enshrouded in hoardings offering the seductive promise of a better future - AIR GARDEN BABYLON: TOP GRADE BRAND IN WORLD; REFINE CHINESE WISDOM: BUILD ORIENTAL VOGUE; LIVE FOR PLEASURE AND WIN THE WORLD.


Chongqing's authorities plan to move two million people from the countryside into newly developed areas such as this within five years. Photograph by Alec Soth

Lei Jing had not yet won the world, but his life had improved, he said, in ways nobody could have dared to imagine 30 years ago. He was 36 and worked as a test-driver for a local car manufacturer. During the first period of reforms in China, in the early 1980s, his family had acquired their first washing machine and television set. And now, in the period of the second reforms, he had been able to buy a car and to finance the building of the house where we were now sitting.

'Everything is improving in China, especially material life. I am very proud of what is happening in my country.'

This, I said, was undoubtedly a good thing, but - how could I put this diplomatically? - what troubled many people in the West was the fear that China's newfound prosperity was being secured at our expense; in jobs, rising fuel prices, the cost to the environment. Lei Jing was an equable man, but a note of incredulity crept into his voice. 'That's not the case!' he said. 'The Chinese culture is such that we feed ourselves and are satisfied with ourselves and our own environment. China does not intend to be a threat to the Western nations.' Lei Jing gave a polite smile. 'We don't want much. Only what everyone wants.'

Located in the far west of China, on the banks of the Yangtse river, Chongqing is a place that few people in the West seem to have heard of. But it is the fastest-growing city in China - and therefore, one might safely conclude, the world. This startling fact gives the city a certain dynamic, apparent from the moment you step out of the airport and climb into one of the small yellow taxis with their neat black-and-white chequered strip (a nod to New York) revving up at the kerb. Before I had even closed the door, the driver had pulled away, accelerating along the freeway to 120km/h (the speed limit was 60). At a toll-booth there was a minor delay while the driver in front fumbled for change, prompting an immediate fusillade of impatient horns. In Chongqing, it was quickly becoming clear, time is money.
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We sped through the outskirts of the city and came on to a huge suspension bridge crossing the Yangtse, enveloped in mist. Chongqing loomed in front of us, a great cliff-face of skyscrapers - a sight to make the spirits soar. Across the bridge we plunged into the entrails of the city, a tumult of honking buses, cars and motorcycles; the pavements thronging with people, the smell of food from street vendors. From my hotel room I looked out at a skyline of soaring sky-scrapers, the most spectacular tapering to an elegant point - Chongqing's own version of the Chrysler building. This was a city ready to take on the world.. This was a city ready to take on the world.

China's move to urbanisation constitutes one of the greatest human experiments in history. Thirty years ago 18 per cent of Chinese lived in cities and towns. By 2010 the government estimates that 50 per cent will do so. Chongqing, the capital for Chiang Kai-shek's Kuomintang government during the Sino-Japanese War (1935-45) - and as such heavily bombed by the Japanese air force - was for many years a provincial backwater, lagging far behind the better-known boom cities of Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen. But in 1997, as part of the Chinese government's 'Go West' policy, and to spur development in the largely rural Sichuan province, the city was designated a municipality, under the direct jurisdiction of the central government, incorporating a surrounding area of some 32,000 square miles, with a population of 31 million. The population of Chongqing's urban centre is a matter of some debate, so rapidly is the city expanding its borders. The official figure is 5.1 million, but it is estimated that the ceaseless flood of migrants into the city in search of work swells that number by an average of 1,200 a day. Within the next five years, under a scheme known as the 'one-hour economy circle', the city authorities plan to move two million people from the countryside into the newly developed areas within an hour's driving distance of the city centre, and a further two million in the five years after that.

Yet these figures cannot convey what an extraordinary spectacle the city affords. Driving around Chongqing I felt as I was in some urban version of one of those speeded-up nature films in which a seedling blossoms into a flower in a matter of seconds - mile after mile of new tower-blocks, plazas and apartment buildings, the sky thick with cranes (China's national bird, as the local joke has it) for as far the eye could see.

Chongqing is a centre for chemicals, textiles and engineering, and is also the home of Asia's largest aluminium plant, but it is the city's burgeoning motor industry that has led the mayor of the city to describe it as 'China's Detroit' - a reference, one suspects, to pre-lapsarian Detroit, before that city became a symbol of urban decline.

There are 17 auto-manufacturing enterprises in Chongqing, producing 550,000 cars and 90,000 trucks a year. Motor manufacture is China's fastest-growing industry. Last year more than 8.5 million cars were sold in China; this year the total is expected to exceed 10 million. The country is destined to overtake the US as the world's largest car market by about 2015. There could be up to 300 million vehicles on China's roads by 2030.


A vertiginous Chongqing motorway interchange. Photograph by Alec Soth

A Chongqing motorway interchange typifies the bravura of modern China's construction projects

It is this burgeoning love affair with the car that is largely responsible for rising oil prices in the West. Oil presently accounts for only 19 per cent of China's energy needs. Demand is expected to more than double by 2030 to 16 million barrels a day as more people rise from poverty, move out of villages and buy more cars. (Last month the Chinese government increased the cost of petrol and diesel by almost 17 per cent.)

Chongqing's biggest car manufacturer is Changan-Ford, a joint venture between Ford, Mazda (the Japanese company in which Ford has a majority share) and a local company, Changan Automotive Group, the venture's largest shareholder: Chinese government regulations stipulate that in such 'backbone' industries a foreign party cannot be the majority shareholder.

Thomas Yao, the factory's head of public relations, took me on a guided tour. The factory, he explained, had opened five years ago, built from scratch in strict accordance with Ford's global manufacturing standards, and produces up to 250,000 cars a year. The average non-technical production line worker earns 18,000 yuan (about £1,300) a year, working an eight-hour day, with a 15-minute break every two hours and an hour for lunch. (Wages, and the cost of living, in Chongqing are between a quarter and a third less than in the major manufacturing centres of the south and east, where the average urban salary is 25,000 yuan, about £1,800, a year.) The company provides extensive healthcare, insurance and pension packages. Workers are encouraged to make suggestions about how to improve the production process - there are 'break-out' areas where groups sit together and review their performance - and receive awards and bonuses if their suggestions are adopted.

All the workers seemed to be in their twenties: one section manager, in charge of 14 people, was just 26. He lived at home with his mother and father in a three-room apartment, 20 minutes from the plant by the workers' shuttle bus. Yes, he told me, he was happy in his work, 'but I am under great pressure now, because there is fierce competition in the market. We are producing the best car and I have to contribute more.' I asked, did he drive a Ford? He laughed. 'In five years' time maybe I can afford one.' Now his priorities were taking care of his parents, finding a girl to marry, and saving to buy his own home. 'And if I had some spare money I would like to make some personal investments on the stock market.'

The plant produced three models: the Focus, the S-Max and the new Mondeo, which had been launched in November last year - shortly after the model had been introduced in Europe. 'You know, Chinese consumers - 10 or 20 years ago they didn't know what a good car was,' Yao told me. 'But now they are very critical.' The Chinese have a particular regard for European cars, especially from Germany - something that Ford played on in the three points of their 'Why Buy?' campaign: 1) European design 2) German engineering 3) Driving Dynamic. But at the same time, models are tailored specifically to the needs of the Chinese driver under the auspices of the plant's technical development centre. 'European people don't care so much whether the seats are made of genuine leather,' Yao said. 'Chinese people care.'

Last year, he went on, Changan-Ford had mounted an extensive brand-building campaign, under the tag-line MAKE EVERY DAY EXCITING. 'The idea was to tell people that maybe your daily life is a little bit boring, too normal, but if you have an exciting heart you can find exciting things everywhere, every day. We need to set up an emotional connection between the Chinese people and the Ford brand; and we provide them not only with an exciting driving experience, but with something almost spiritual. The campaign has been very successful. Why? Because most of the other auto-makers are still at the stage of selling cars. We are selling the magic of the brand.'

As Yao talked, it struck me that China's great revolution was not merely economic; it was also a huge experiment in changing consciousness. In the 1920s, when considering America's emergence as a consumer society, the banker Paul Mazer of Lehman Brothers spoke of the requirement to 'shift America from a needs to a desires culture. People must be trained to desire, to want new things even before the old have been entirely consumed.' This has been the mood music of Western society for as long as we can remember, so all-pervasive that we no longer notice it.

Now, at a time when the most important global debate is about dwindling resources and the perils of untrammelled growth, China - a culture where as recently as 40 years ago personal possessions were regarded as a symbol of pernicious bourgeois decadence - is staking its future on becoming the biggest consumer society on earth.

My young translator was named Jessy - not her real name, of course. That was Xiaoshu, which roughly translates as 'bamboo' and 'beauty' - a much prettier name than Jessy, I thought, but Jessy was the name she had been given as a teenager when learning English at school (rejecting the teacher's first suggestion of Edith). Taking an English name was a way of getting on, not least in the corporate world: in my hotel there was a Vicky, a Sonia, a Lawrence and a Thomas - 'and they will have forgotten their Chinese name,' Jessy told me. This struck me as utterly characteristic of the Chinese pragmatism and sense of looking to the future, and I found it hard to imagine a generation of British Vickys, Sonias and Lawrences doing the same thing. With her fake Anna Sui handbag, her American-label jeans and a mobile phone that was at least three models ahead of mine, Jessy was the epitome of the new generation of upwardly mobile, aspirational young Chinese.

I had expected to find luxury consumer goods in Beijing and Shanghai, but I was taken aback to walk through the Monument to Liberation square in Chongqing (a city improbably twinned with Leicester) and find the largest Cartier store I had ever seen. A department store next door was wholly given over to concessions for Western luxury goods - Boss, Bulgari, Mulberry. In Ermenegildo Zegna the young sales assistant was as supercilious as any in Sloane Street, but spoke better English. The handmade crocodile shoes at £4,000 a pair, sir? They had already sold two pairs to local businessmen. In the perfume section, butterflies - real ones - fluttered in the air.

At 10.30 at night the square was shimmering in neon and thronged with young couples and families (mother, father and the statutory one child), consuming Starbucks coffee and KFC. Everyone looked well-dressed, confident, happy, as if the future belonged to them. No one was drunk or rowdy or threatening. I suspect I would have felt less comfortable in Leicester.


A camera club outing by the Yangtse. Photograph by Alec Soth

An interiors company had set up a huge marquee in the centre of the square, where smiling young consultants sat behind laptops, offering advice on furnishings and decoration for the city's legion of new homeowners. Business was flourishing. I had hoped to talk with a city planner about Chongqing's extraordinary transformation, but I was told there was presently an investigation under way into some sort of corruption, and that any media enquiries would be unwelcome. Instead, I ambled around the city, stunned at every turn.

In Detroit it had seemed that some parts of the city, abandoned and neglected, were returning to nature. But here the city was devouring nature at a pace that was almost impossible to grasp. On the margins, half-built tower blocks, their tops shrouded in netting, cast a shadow over fields where women were bent double hoeing vegetables - fields that would surely vanish within the month. What two years ago had been the village of Long-ta was now a series of 30-storey apartment buildings, arranged around a hilly outgrowth with a single wooden shack clinging tenaciously to its summit. People picked their way across a stretch of wasteland, awaiting development, to a street-market on the other side. The sound of fireworks rent the air, celebrating the arrival of a mechanical digger.

One woman told me she had grown up in the village, working the land until the government appropriated it for development, and relocated her to a new tower block. Now she worked as a cleaner. 'Life is much better,' she said, gesturing around her. 'This shows the central government really cares about us; we are urbanised and have become proper citizens.'

It is estimated that new construction in Chongqing adds about 140,000 square metres of usable floor space each day for residential, commercial or industrial use, and at times it felt as though I was driving through an endless building site, as if not one but a whole series of cities were springing up sequentially. Property prices in Chongqing have risen more than 45 per cent in the past four years. The average cost of a new apartment is about 7,000 yuan (£510) per square metre (in the most desirable areas of central London the average is about £12,000 per square metre).

But there seemed to be no shortage of buyers. More discreet and exclusive developments rose up behind hoardings offering the beguiling promise not only of a new home but also of a glistening future. TOUCH YOUR DREAMS: THE INTERNATIONAL URBANISM COMMUNITY read one. LIVE A PALM SPRINGS LIFE another.

At the gates of a new development with the shamelessly aspirational name of Beverly Hills, Jessy negotiated with the security guards to let us pass. We wound along twisting, tree-lined lanes - Beverly Boulevard, Riverside Avenue, Waterside Drive - handsome villas standing shoulder to shoulder, some in the final stages of completion, in others BMWs and Audis already parked in the drive. In the show house the air was filled with the sickly strains of Feelings - it might have been Richard Clayderman. The urbane young salesman eagerly showed me around and outlined the prospectus for available properties: a three-bedroom house (the Sapphire), five million yuan (about £365,000); five-bedroom (the Emerald), 7.4 million yuan (£540,000). The development, he said, was the closest villa complex to downtown Chongqing - just 15 minutes on the freeway. It comprised 217 houses, only six were unsold.

We drove up to the clubhouse, with its opulent marbled floors, snooker room and swimming-pool, and little facsimiles of the gold stars of Hollywood Boulevard set into the paving stones outside. The guard at the door saluted me. It was only when the photographer began to take pictures that more guards arrived and hastily escorted us from the development - 'No media!' How, I asked Jessy, had she explained our presence in the first place? 'I told them that you wanted to buy a house,' she said.

The Chinese government policy of 'socialism with Chinese characteristics' has produced a tranche of conspicuous beneficiaries. According to a study by the American investment bank Merrill Lynch last year, China had 345,000 dollar millionaires, and 4,935 'Ultra-HNWIs' (Ultra-High Net Worth Individuals), defined as those with financial assets of more than $30 million. Chongqing's most famous 'Ultra-HNWI' is Yin Mingshan, a man whose journey from being imprisoned during the Cultural Revolution for 'counter-revolutionary activities' to self-made industrialist serves as a dramatic parable of the changes that have occurred in China over the past 40 years.

Mr Yin is the founder and chairman of Lifan, the biggest privately owned company in Chongqing and China's largest domestic manufacturer of motorbikes. I knew about the bikes, but it wasn't until I arrived at Yin's factory that I discovered he was now making cars as well. Only for the past two years, the personable young man who took me on a tour of the plant explained. It still had the fresh-paint and off-the-cuff air of having opened yesterday - a kind of automotive equivalent of the Hollywood musicals maxim of 'let's do the show right here'. As we walked down the service road beside the factory, a car came hurtling towards us and screeched to a juddering halt. 'Test drive!' my young guide explained.

The four models that Lifan produces were parked behind a velvet rope in a display area, with pride of place being given to the newest, the Lifan 320 - bearing an uncanny resemblance to the Mini Cooper, it will be on the market at the end of this year, retailing for 80,000 yuan (£6,000).

Slogans decorated the factory walls, exhorting the workforce to greater efforts: IF YOU DON'T SWEAT AND YOU'RE NOT TIRED, YOU'RE NOT AN EMPLOYEE OF LIFAN and IF YOU'RE NOT HAPPY AND NOT RICH, YOU'RE NOT AN EMPLOYEE OF LIFAN.

Mr Yin greeted me in a conference room, a tall, stooping man of 70, wearing a blue Aertex shirt and a casual windbreaker, and an expression of benign amusement. He looked as serene as an ornithologist in a bird sanctuary. It was in 1961, Yin told me, that he first fell foul of the Party. 'They called me a "rightist", a counter-revolutionary.' Why? He laughed uproariously. 'I have no idea! One reason perhaps is that I was born into a landlord's family. A second reason, maybe as a student I was too clever. According to Chairman Mao's theory, 95 per cent of the Chinese people are good people. But that means they have to find five per cent who are not good - so they put me in that group!'


Shi Liang Wei with his son by the artificial lake of the Blue Lake luxury housing development. He and his wife can't afford to live there yet 'but one day, perhaps'. Photograph by Alec Soth.

He spent a year in prison, and a further 18 years in labour camps. Life was extremely hard; he was often beaten. But despite all this mistreatment, he said, there was one stroke of luck - he was allowed to read. Books on science, mechanics, leadership, everything. 'I learnt a lot of things. And I realised that the world was going to change, and that the chance was coming, so I was very patient and I never gave up hope.'

On his release he worked as an editor at a book publishers, then started his own small business selling books. Recognising that motorcycles would be the coming thing, in 1992 he sold his book company and raised $15,000, and with eight people, including his wife and son, set up a motorbike repair shop with the grandiose name of Chongqing Hongda Motorcycle Research Institute. The name was a double conceit. People laughed, he remembered, at the audacity of calling the small business a research institute. 'They asked me, "What kind of things did you research?"; but it made it easier to get government support.' Then there was the name 'Hongda'. In Chinese, he said, the word has a proper technical meaning, but Honda had on numerous occasions tried to take him to court. He eventually changed the name to Lifan.

Over the years Yin had diversified into a bewildering range of enterprises - buses, paint-thinner, mineral water, wine, newspapers and football - his club Chongqing Lifan won the Chinese FA Cup in 2000. But motorbikes had remained the core of his business. Last year Lifan produced 3.6 million units, exporting to 28 countries, including Britain - a small market, worth about £500,000, Yin said. But cars were the future. 'You can see how a country develops,' he said. 'First people ride bicycles; when it becomes richer they want motorbikes; after it becomes more wealthy, they want cars. BMW, Honda, Suzuki - they all used to produce only motorcycles; now they turn to the production of cars. So we shall not miss this opportunity.'

A third of Lifan's auto production was for export, he said 'And of course we would not give up looking at the British market.'

That might alarm some people in Britain, I said. Yin laughed.

'In any industry, you cannot avoid competition. And in recent years, with the development of China it's unavoidable that we would have taken some market share from other countries or from some other international companies. But I think it's not too much.

'You see, Westerners can buy our cars' - he pointed to the power-point display screen, with its idling Microsoft symbol - 'and we can buy their software! My daughter has been studying in Britain for more than seven years [at Winchester] and I've already paid a lot of money for that!'

Lifan had struck partnerships to establish auto-factories in Russia and Iran. Next stop Coventry, perhaps?

Yin laughed. 'I myself like England a lot. But I don't think Lifan is big enough or strong to employ UK workers and pay their wages. But maybe one day I hope I can do that.'


The Lei family, who have lived in their village for generations, say their lives have improved. Photograph by Alec Soth

With his maverick way of doing business, his gimcrack slogans, Yin seemed a particularly idiosyncratic captain of industry, cast in the mould of Henry Ford, perhaps. 'A great man!' he said warmly. He was also a fan of Margaret Thatcher -'The Iron Lady! Actually, all powerful leaders I admire.' But his 'real hero' was Deng Xiaoping, the late Party general secretary credited with opening China up to the world. Forty years ago, he went on, he would never have imagined that he would one day be the head of a multinational corporation. 'But this only proves that this is a great country.'

He paused. 'Once I was asked, when I was in jail did I ever dream that one day I would be in the position I'm in now? And I replied, no - the only dream I had was that Chairman Mao and the Party would be able to forgive me. Forgiveness was enough - I asked for nothing more.'

He must have read the look of incredulity on my face.

'You have to understand, at that time the country had just embraced liberation and everybody was very happy about that. So I had a true love for the Party, the country, even though I couldn't understand the punishment for me. But my love was unconditional.

'For example, some people treated me quite badly at that time, but now they are working for my company. These were my former classmates, people who had made the strongest criticism of me. And they became my senior assistants! I didn't care what they had wrong to me; I wanted to be kind to them.' And success, I said, is the best revenge.

He laughed. 'Yes. But yesterday is the past. The most important thing is today and tomorrow. I want to go on working till I'm 80.' (In China the legal retirement age is 60 for men and 55 for women, although the government has been considering raising the limit in an attempt to rein in the enormous welfare burden associated with the rapidly ageing society, an age imbalance arising from the country's one-child policy.)

History, Yin went on, had taught the Chinese to endure bitterness and hard work. 'Because the people have been so poor for so long, they are eager to change the situation. Compared with some Western people, the Chinese can stand hard work. And compared with other people in China, Chongqing people can stand more.' He laughed. 'And among Chongqing people, I can stand even more!'

He would rise at six each morning and immediately sit down and write text messages to his subordinates throughout the organisation. 'But I won't send them immediately because I don't want to disturb the people who will receive them.' At seven he presses 'send'. 'I might be the person who pays the largest bill for a mobile telephone in Chongqing. At least 100 going out and 100 coming in each day', he said with a laugh. He was usually in his office at one of his plants by eight - seven days a week.

He lived very well, in a big house with all the comforts. 'It's basically myself, my wife and my son - they're very interested in these kinds of material things. Personally I'm not so interested. But the competition we are facing is very intense, and I always feel that pressure, so I have to give up many things.'

He shrugged. 'Sometimes I wake up in the night time and I ask myself, why can't I be like the other people and just enjoy myself and not work so hard?'

And then? Yin laughed. 'And then I get up and go to work.'


Yin Mingshan, once jailed as a 'rightist', now owns one of China's biggest motor manufacturers. Photograph by ALec Soth


Lei Jing was one of Lifan's test-drivers - the man who had screeched to a halt as I was walking past the factory. He invited me to meet his family, and the next day we drove 10 miles out of the city, up into the hills to their home. Lei introduced me to his parents, his sister and brother-in-law and two boys - one Lei's son, the other the son of his sister. Lei himself actually lived with his wife in an apartment in the city, but he would join the family each day for dinner and on Saturdays.

We sat on the veranda drinking tea, looking down over the smallholding with its rows of neatly tended vegetables to the blue hills beyond. The city might have been 100 miles away.

The family had lived in this village for generations, and as a boy Lei had attended the village school where his father was a teacher. He pointed to a nearby building. It had recently been turned into a small factory, making auto parts, he said.

We talked of how life had changed for the family over the years - immeasurably it seemed. Lei's brother-in-law, Zuo Bing, was also a teacher. In 1986 his salary was 42 yuan (about £3) a month; now it was 2,000 yuan (£145). 'Before, after dinner we'd just go my friend's house and sit and talk. There was no entertainment. Then we got a TV, internet - we have a lot of choices now of things to amuse ourselves. This is all thanks to the opening-up policy; the central government consider the people with their heart and soul; they care about the lives of the common people.'

You would be unlikely to hear such a ringing endorsement of government policies in Britain, I said. Zuo laughed. 'But it's the truth,' he said. 'I could never imagine in the 1980s that I would have a car. I could never imagine that I would have a house - even two houses! I'm not exaggerating. We are really grateful to our government.'

Lei Jing was reluctant to discuss his salary - it was confidential, he said. But he saved 50 per cent of his income. (Slightly more than the average rate among Chinese, 40 per cent; in 2007 the average American saved 0.4 per cent.) 'You never know what will happen,' he said. 'For Chinese people responsibility is very important.' He had heard that it was common in the West for people to live beyond their means. 'I think that must make them feel more anxieties and pressures. You have to work very hard and make money every minute in your mind.'

And is this how China was becoming?

'I will not be like that.'

I tried to convey that what troubles so many in the West was the sense that no matter how much they have, it is never enough. And now the people of China too were being encouraged to feel that same dissatisfaction. Lei looked at me quizzically. 'Everybody has material desires, but we need to control them and learn to be self-satisfied,' he said. 'I'm not governed by the desire for material wealth. I just want to enjoy my life and be happy. I have a car so I can relax and enjoy myself; but I just want to be a common person. We have a saying in China that money is like rubbish - we don't take it with us when we die.'


A worker at Yin Mingshan’s Lifan factory . Photograph by Alec Soth

Lei's mother and sister had prepared lunch, and Lei and I walked down the hill to a small shop where I bought half a dozen bottles of beer. It was a tenth of what it would have cost in my hotel. The food was the most delicious I tasted in China.

The conversation moved on to politics. Zuo Bing said that he understood the system of Western liberal democracy, but it would not be 'appropriate' for China. Under the Chinese system, people can vote for representatives of their local district congress - roughly the equivalent of a district council in Britain. But all meaningful levels of authority are controlled by the Chinese Communist Party. 'Conditions and social status in China are very different from the West,' Zuo said. 'We have 56 minority groups and we have such a large population, if everybody could vote then the whole country would be in chaos. The system we have is more appropriate to the reality in China now.'

I was reminded of a conversation I had had earlier with a young businessman in my hotel, when we talked about participatory democracy. 'We can vote on Chinese Idol,' he said with a laugh. 'Now people are saying, if we can vote on that, why not other things? There's a lot wrong with the Party, everyone knows that. But at the same time everyone knows that their lives have improved.' It was unimaginable, he went on, just how far China had travelled over the past 20 years; the other changes - freedom of speech, dissent - would come in time. 'Now I can criticize the Party in a private conversation. That would once have been impossible. To attack the Party in a newspaper - that would not be possible. But it will come.'

Now Zuo had a question for me. Why, he asked, did the Western media paint such a negative picture of China? 'For example, the BBC reports on what is happening in Tibet. I think it's not objective and balanced.' A certain froideur descended on the table. 'China is well-developed,' he went on, 'the economy and technology; we are a great civilisation, in culture, in religion and art, but some of the Western countries are not very friendly to China, and I'm confused about why. There are some misrepresentative stereotypes. The media is the only channel the common citizen can know about China - maybe some journalists come here with their own preconceptions?' I was unsure what to say. To engage in a frank discussion about China's record on human rights, Tibet, the unease that many had felt at the spectacle of the blue tracksuited Chinese praetorian guard heavy-shouldering the Olympic torch along the streets of London, would have seemed an abuse of hospitality.

'A lot of my friends and relatives have been abroad,' Zuo went on, 'but they've said that Westerners don't treat them very kindly. But now when they go abroad they can sense a growing respect from Westerners. That's a change. China is a huge power and our global influence is getting stronger and stronger. We love peace and we are united. We want to make progress - actually, that's the common and universal value of all human beings. There are some values that East and West both share and that's what we're now promoting: sympathy, love, peace and progress. We all live on the same planet; we are all human beings; we should lead the happy life together.'

I asked, were they optimistic about the future? There was a chorus of affirmation. 'Very,' Zuo said.

My mind went back to Detroit, where I had hardly met a single person who was hopeful for the future. Here in Chongqing I had not met a single person who wasn't. Travelling in America, I said, I had asked people what the word 'America' meant to them, and the reply had invariably been the same - 'freedom'. Zuo nodded. So what, I asked, did the word 'China' mean to him? He reached for his beer, and smiled. 'Harmonious,' he said.

An interesting choice of word. 'The Harmonious Society' is the maxim coined by China's president, Hu Jintao, to describe the country's political and economic objectives, an attempt to marry traditional Confucian values of social harmony with Communist authoritarianism. As such, 'harmonious' is forever on the lips of every party bureaucrat and official - in other words, a cliche. Not unlike 'freedom' in America. I wondered for a moment if Zuo was being ironic, or merely toeing the party line. But I think he meant it.

We drove back towards the city, the new towers tapering into the haze. A sign announced yet another new development - a large one, BLUE LAKE COUNTRY. Like everything in Chongqing it had the air of having simply appeared overnight. A shopping plaza, Blues Street, was still awaiting the arrival of tenants. A row of steps led down to a broad lake - evidently artificial - with a view across to a row of new villas on the far shore. It might have been Florida or Virginia Water.

There was a lawn, a small ornamental garden and a pavilion - somewhere to rest and enjoy the view - where a young couple were sitting with their child. This was Shi Liang Wei ('but you can call me Larry') and his wife Wang Yanmei ('May'). He worked as a reporter for a local television station; she worked for a Western hotel chain. They were just taking the air, they said; they could not afford to live in Blue Lake Country themselves - 'but one day, perhaps'.

Please, said Larry as I reached for my notebook, no questions about politics. And so we talked a little about their lives, the progress in Chongqing. When she first came here in 1995 from Beijing, May said, you couldn't find even salad dressing in the shops; now you could find Italian spaghetti in Metro, a German supermarket. But what was life in England like, she wanted to know. She understood that people lived in old houses, in which the lighting and ventilation were bad. I tried to explain that in London old houses were often the most expensive. She laughed disbelievingly. The message was clear. Here, new was good.

We said goodbye and they walked up the steps to their car. It was a new Ford Focus. Making Every Day Exciting.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/portal/ma...sm_china12.xml
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