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Built for over a million people, the city of Ordos was designed to be the crowning glory of Inner Mongolia.
Doomed to incompletion however, this futuristic metropolis now rises empty out of the deserts of northern China. Only 2% of its buildings were ever filled; the rest has largely been left to decay, abandoned mid-construction, earning Ordos the title of China’s Ghost City.
Last year I travelled to Inner Mongolia for myself, to get a closer look at the bizarre, ghost metropolis of Ordos… and the experience, as I would discover, was far stranger than anything I could have prepared for.
THE GHOST TOWN OF INNER MONGOLIA
China’s property market is in a strange place. With a population reckoned at 1,351,000,000 and rising fast, the resultant boom in property development has led to scores of new-made millionaires and a rapidly growing elite class; at the same time however, analysts fear that this property bubble is set to burst.
The country itself owes coming on for a trillion dollars in debt. Meanwhile, a billion people are waking up to the possibilities of fast cars, smartphones, broadband Internet and credit cards.
Big Shots: Amazing image of North Korea at night (the black gap between South Korea and China) via NASA.
Jeff Stein of Newsweek has reported that “a well-placed intelligence source” has confirmed that Saudi Arabia purchased Chinese-made DF-21 ballistic missiles in 2007 — apparently with the approval of the George W. Bush administration.
It’s the first intelligence source to confirm, albeit anonymously, something that’s long been rumored. It is a good bit of reporting — and I say this not simply because Stein quotes me. If Saudi Arabia bought the missiles in 2007, it has taken a long time for a reporter to get a source to actually confirm the suspected sale. But the timing of the leak isn’t surprising. Saudi Arabia is growing increasingly concerned about Iran, and over the past few years it has started talking a lot about its Strategic Missile Force. In the course of doing so, Riyadh has hinted that it has bought at least two new types of ballistic missiles — one of which is possibly the medium-range DF-21, which, in China, comes in both conventional and nuclear flavors.
More from Foreign Policy: Why Did Saudi Arabia Buy Chinese Missiles?
Thanks so much for the follow up on Jeff Stein’s piece!
6/4/1989- Chinese Army Troops Storm Tiananmen Square To Crush The Pro-Democracy Movement.
Almost to the end, the students thought they could win. As troops closed in on Tiananmen Square before dawn on Sunday, the unarmed protesters defiantly stood their ground. But two hours later, as gunfire echoed outside the square, the last holdouts gave in to despair. “We can’t let any more blood flow,” someone shouted over the loudspeaker. “We must leave.” The last 1,000 or so students wearily walked out of the square, many of them in tears. At that point the Army stormed down the streets toward Tiananmen — tanks, armored personnel carriers and trucks full of troops, spitting gunfire in all directions. They smashed through the protesters’ frail barricades and charged into the square, where they demolished the students’ provocative statue, “the Goddess of Democracy.” Angry civilians poured into the streets shouting “You beasts! You beasts!” The soldiers shot back, killing 500 to 1,000 people and leaving the democracy movement in ruins.
Newsweek June 12, 1989
Chen Guangcheng with his family at a hospital in Beijing, China, on May 1, 2012. U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke, James Brown, and Regional Medical Officer Wayne Quillin are also pictured. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]
According to Chen, U.S. officials quickly abandoned him shortly after this photo was taken:
When U.S. officials escorted him out of the U.S. embassy shortly after 3 p.m. Wednesday [May 2nd], Chen thought he’d extracted a promise that at least one of them would stay with him at the hospital, he said. “Many Americans were with me while I checked into the hospital and doctors examined me. Lots of them,” he told me from his hospital bed, where he’s being treated for broken bones in one foot, an injury sustained when he fell after climbing a wall during his daring escape from house arrest late last month. “But when I was brought to the hospital room, they all left. I don’t know where they went.” The ordeal was all the more bewildering because Chen is blind and was hurt during his escape; he needs crutches or a wheelchair to move around.
Chen continued, telling The Daily Beast that he wants to leave the country on Hillary Clinton’s plane.
Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng tells us he wants out of the country immediately—even if that means getting a seat on Sec. Hillary Clinton’s plane.
This week’s cover story on China’s billionaire Tiger Women is, of course, by the OG Tiger Mom herself: Amy Chua. Check out this cover!
[Update: here’s the cover story.]
Well, there you have it tumblr. Until you—yes, YOU—demand better conditions for the people toiling away building your MacBooks, iPhones, and iPads, nothing will drastically change. You can start by signing this petition. Or this one. And if you haven’t read the Times piece on the factory conditions in China, read it.