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Final Reflection (5)

As I read the 5 parts NYT stories and reactions I can’t help but say Americans still don’t understand China. China maybe still a long way to go to be in parity or pass U.S. in per capital basis, but in many ways she is already way ahead and pulling farther away. On our way to visit Mao’s family home we were in a taxi equipped with China’s own GPS system BeiDou combined with AI that obeys voice command for the song we wish to hear, but periodically interrupted with advices that we are in a accident prone zone, so drive carefully, that 700 meters ahead is a traffic camera and we are 20% over speed limit. That bus fares are 2 yuans (less than 30 cents), major cities all have subway systems costing about $1 to travel more than 30 miles to the center of the city. The subway trains are crowded but arriving in constant streams in intervals of less than 5 minutes. Consumer prices are from 10 to 30% of here except with luxury goods like cars and I-phones. In high speed trains you are startled with vibrations when opposing trains pass which are gone when you turn your head toward the noise in 1 second, and it occurs in intervals or less than 10 minutes. We visited my wife’s uncle and aunt in their 80s in a nursing home which cost 14,000 yuans per month, but with their combine retirement income of 10,000 plus the apartment which they sold for millions they can afford it easily. Of course they belong to elites as they worked for China’s NASA and their apartment was giving to them. My wife’s father was in nursing home here for 2 years before we pull him out for home care because of bad care and it costs bundles for Medicaid. We have a cousin who lived in the center of Shanghai told us her apartment will never be demolished as it will cost developer millions to relocate her and her government owned apartment cost her less than $10 rent. We did talk to a street cleaner in Hangchow who is making less than $400/month of income inequality and nostalgic of Mao when everybody was poor but equal.
So I will not be naïve and proclaim as Sinclair Lewis did that I have saw the future and it works. But I have lived in China in 1950s and knew of rationing and shortages, and coming back to NY I have to adjust to countercultural shock when I have left only a month ago. I went to Manhattan yesterday and returned on subway to Queens. While drowsing on the train I was awakened 4 times with people begging for food or playing music asking for donations. While I hate Trump I can still sympathize with him on the decline of American Empire. He can shut the border and with charity starts at home slogan. The liberal Americans want to save all the refugees yet their policies are the ones generating all the chaos and refugees like Iraq and Libya, while China is raising the standard of living for people in Africa which NYT deplores as new colonialism.

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  1. November 28th, 2018 at 09:18 | #1

    I’ve enjoyed reading about your travel. Thanks for posting.

  2. da5id403
    December 23rd, 2018 at 11:12 | #2

    “We visited my wife’s uncle and aunt in their 80s in a nursing home which cost 14,000 yuans per month, but with their combine retirement income of 10,000 plus the apartment which they sold for millions they can afford it easily.”

    Do you think this is sustainable in light of China’s aging population?

    Open minds want to know.

  3. N.M.Cheung
    December 23rd, 2018 at 14:42 | #3

    @da5id403
    The 14,000 yuans are upper middle class, for lower nursing homes they varies from 6000-8000 yuans, and those from the villages are even less costly. For China, the socially security system is in the beginning form, and most Chinese depend on some extent on their children. Even with the 1 child policy and aging population I think it’s still doable with the growing income and earlier retirement in China. Consider all the international traveling by Chinese for vacations I think they are richer than Americans in actual cost basis if not in dollars.

  4. N.M.Cheung
    December 23rd, 2018 at 14:46 | #4

    @da5id403
    Also those in nursing home are mostly in their 80s and 90s, most people in 70s are very active as you can see them exercising in the park or even in mall early in the morning and dancing in the evenings.

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