I started working in China in 1991. What a change I have seen. The China Brief reminded me of a huge change that occurred in Jan of 1992. In 1991, I took trains and traveled back and forth frequently between Hefei and Bengu in Anhui. It was an easy trip, and I always got a seat. I lived in a school and could only buy toilet paper or anything a 30 minute bicycle ride into town. The workers at the Number 1 Department Store would glare when you walked in. They loathed to get up to serve you. If you were not very nice, they would not sell to you. Further, they would wad up your change and heave it on the counter in a ball. This was my life. Then Deng Xiao Ping went to Shenzhen and said Shenzhen is not our experiment, it is our model. China went crazy and Anhui along with it. Suddenly, everyone was a businessman. I never again got a seat on that train. Too crowded. Suddenly it was always packed. Teachers on the first floor opened their windows and started selling behind my apartment. I could take a candy bar and show them, and after that they would stock it. Others set up places to make hot food in the yard everywhere. The rumor in Anhui then was that Deng Xiao Ping’s train had stopped in Bengbu. He purportedly said, “You Anhui people are too lazy and stupid. Get moving!” Sleepy China disappeared during this month 20 years ago, and I got more chocolate. It’s a fun memory. Thanks for reminding me China Brief.
Any other stories out there?