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Cheers to China

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By Oneal Hector D'Cunha, Abu Dhabi [ Published Date: February 17, 2012 ]

Cheers is a synonym for success, celebration and achievement. With a population of 1.3 billion, a GDP of 6 trillion, the country that scooped over 100 medals in the last Olympics, an enduring ancient civilization and the only successful surviving communist country, all which of which makes China a celebrity nation.
It's not just a curious traveller like me who wants to visit China, but this has now become a culture for most newly elected politicians back home from India to make an official honeymoon trip to china, to witness the growth and development there.

Fair enough, if at all India needs to evaluate its progress then we must benchmark ourselves against China than any other country, especially being our immediate neighbor, China being part of the BRIC economy and population as huge as itself. Therefore the investment on politicians going to China on official tours is still worthwhile, as that will make them realize what their respective state / constituency can attain.

China was never on Indians' travel list for decades and the military threat was very much real. However the fact is that India is one of the 9 countries that surround China on land and hence Chinese military is well stretched to its limits. On its part China is aware that it needs to have a good relationship with its neighbors to maintain its pace and focus on development.

Not surprisingly there is now a steady stream of travellers from India and the Gulf as well. UAE is now well connected with both Beijing and Shanghai by Etihad and Emirates airlines. Emirates has now deployed its Airbus 380 to these cities to handle the ever-increasing volume of travellers.

The country is huge in every sense of the word, be in economic, population, resources and political power. One might need several weeks to cover the country but a visit to the two of the most important cities will give a visitor a glimpse of what the nation stands for and symbolizes.

While Beijing is a reflection of its tradition, Shanghai demonstrates modernity. Once you have worked out your budgets and locations it is best to do the tours through the local travel and tour companies who have good English-speaking guides and those tour groups very well cover the important locations and is cost effective.

Amongst important locations in Beijing were the Great Wall (Badaling area), Ming tombs, the Forbidden City, Tianmen Square, The Temple of Heaven and these are a must-see. Whilst in Shangai the bund (the cornice of China), the Jade Buddha temple, the Oriental Pearl Tower, Nanjing Road, the Yuyuan Garden, Xin Tian Di, the Museums can inspire awe and wonder.

The Shangai aquarium and the Shangai Zoo with the endangered Pandas might be of interest to the children. The tour guides also covered the factories and show rooms of silk, jade, pearl, tea, Chinese medicine and these can be entertaining and education. As a country China is now not just a backyard production house, but a highly motivated marketer.

It might also be worth exploring the underground train network to see the way people commute, behave, communicate and witness their well-developed civic sense. I was also astonished with the respect that Chinese have towards the tourists which is something that we in India need to usher in, with urgency.

The pride of Shangai, the Maglev train which reaches speeds of 430 kmph is an experience and covers 30 kms from the airport to the city in about 7 minutes is a worth the travel. There are over a 100 malls in each of the city and shopping can be both low-end and high-end depending on one’s choice.

Ensure that you travel to China with an empty suitcase if you intend to shop. Bargain is possible in the low-end malls, shops and there is indeed a wide choice. The food can be a challenge to some, while can be a delight for Chinese food-lovers besides there are scores of western fast food outlets every corner including KFC’s, Macdonald.

In the run up to the 2008 Olympic games and post-games China has conducted a national-level drill to handle tourists professionally and created an infrastructure to match the growing influx of tourists. As one report states that government of China itself owns the franchise for MacDonald’s nationwide.

The affluence of the Chinese is increasing and the amount of luxury cars in China are growing as it is regarded as a great status symbol. Both Beijing and Shanghai have an average population of 20+ million and therefore a major impact can be on cars. Therefore the government restricts the use of personal cars for 4- 5 days in a week to control the traffic.

It is not just that the world is visiting China but the Chinese are travelling around the world as well. Every major city in the world has a China Town, one in every 5th person in the world is a Chinese, at least one gadget, cloth or toy in your house will be made in China and this is what made me to visit China and say in acknowledgement ‘Cheers to China’.

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YONG, China :
Nelson Lewis, Bahrain :
I'm from China,actually i quite don't agree with you,I don't want to quarrel, but strongly advise you to come to China and see by yourself, that will change you mind.
real pics, Canada :
Thank you,Msr. Abu Dhabi. You intrduce real China to the people in the world. China had gotten immense progress in past thirty. When I was a boy in the 1970s, I lived in Chinese countryside, and the life was very hard. But now, there is very prosperous in there. The houses of down and country are beatiful, and people life is happiness.
Lumina Fernandes, India :
Great article and lovely pics. Oneal. Ashley too has been giving us very informative updates on life in China. And I was almost believing that China is indeed the ultimate destination to live in but suddenly after the reading the harsh abd bitter truths exposed by Nelson Lewis and B.Dinesh, I'm having second thoughts!!!!
Nelson Lewis, Bahrain :
This article has appeared on 17th February 2012 and, since then, it has attracted four responses and Mr. B. Dinesh has given the best response and I from what I know from people who have visited China and read from very good printed materials, China is not what it appears.

Firstly, China is the most dangerous country for other countries of this wide planet and world peace, because it has evil intentions and allots a mind-boggling amount on its defence and secret police for offensive purposes and to hold its restive population in total check.

Secondly, China does not know what is Human Rights and nor it is interested in providing one to its restive population. The day it does that, then it will not be too long that this country gets fragemented.

Thirdly, China is a massive landmass and it is only a fragment of that country is developed and showcased to the world and the tourists. However, tourists cannot go wherever they want, lest they know how Chinese live and work.

Fourthly, a Chinese laboourer works for 15 to 16 hours per day, day-in and day-out. Thereafter, they live above the shop floors in cramped, dingy and unhygienic environments. They have no Human Rights, no labourer unions to regulate their working conditions and hours of work, etc.

Fifthly, if one were to speak against the Government or the officials, the concerned Chinese will be arrested as a spy (in which case he will suffer death sentence) or a lunatic (in which case he will forcibly be given shocks and made insane). Before the Chinese convicted as spy is being executed in the jail, the surgeon and is assistants are already there to take the vital organs of the hapless victim, who is killed with a pistol shot fired from the back of his neck.

Sixthly, corruption in China is very much rampant and much more than India. However, to many gullible Indians, including foreigners, who do not read too much they are not aware of these things, simply because there is no free flow of information from the Chinese or from China. In short the press is muzzled and the Chinese Courts and the Parliament are just dummy and rubber stamps.

Seventhly, Chinese in prisons are made to forcibly work and produce toys, towels, handkerchiefs, etc. Moreover, the Chinese forcibly keep their prices down and hence their goods are cheaper, though their quality is poor and their products are dubious. The prase, "Rasteyka maal, sastey mein," is very much applicable to Chinese goods.

I think China has the maximum people who are confined to prisons.

These are the facts of China and millions of Chinese live below the poverty line and this fact has been suppressed by the Chinese Government.

Otherwise, the article of Mr. Oneal Hector D'Cunha makes an interesting reading.
Kudpi Rajanikanth Shenoy, India :
Good article and very nice pics. Felt as if I am virtually there :-)

Thanks for sharing your experiences Oneal. Looking forward to more from you.
J M Bhandary, USA :
Beautiful pictures of China from your recent visit. Thanks for sharing.

China is an enormously large, complex and dynamic country; a huge giant on the move in may directions taking giant steps in every direction. It is easy to see whatever one wants to see in this type of environment - greatness, economic miracle, massive constructions, vast scale poverty, clogged transportation systems, ... good, bad and everything in between in mega scale. Being able to travel and watch in live action a major part of humanity in transformation must have been a tremendous experience. Cheers.
B. Dinesh, USA :
Good pictures and good places to see. These pictures tell only the good part of China's story. One has to really see the rural parts of China and parts of the outer city that are totally polluted. Cancer is rampant in China and the pollution by coal fired power plants goes unchecked. The Chinese government has made sure that the tourists do not get to see the dirtier parts of China. This country is ruining the world\'s environment. Most of consumer goods except is authentic malls are all fake - including Gucci, Prada, IBM, Apple, and other brands. They have no respect for intellectual property rights or patents or copyrights. Chinese systematically duplicate even India Bollywood movies within 2-3 days after they are released. The communist party members who run the municipalities, factories, and businesses are corrupt to the core. Many outbreaks of health epidemics originate in China. The rural people eat all kinds of meat. Prostitution and soliciting is rampant. I have traveled and lived in China for over 6 months. I have seen it all - both the good and bad parts. There are no pollution laws, no worker safety laws, no health concerns, no labor laws, and on top of it they manipulate the currency rates - any wonder how they can make things cheaper? Yes, the US is equally guilty of importing from China and helping them pollute this world! In a communist country it is difficult to know the truth. Last but not the least, no one dares to talk about politics! India has democracy and the freedom and no one can put a value to it. Do not be carried away by the looks of these places in China - the real China is in the interior parts and it is ugly!
A. S. Mathew, USA :
It is a good article. I do remember like yesterday watching in T.V., the landing of then U.S. President
Richard Nixon in Peking (1973). China's streets were filled with bicycles with the same kaki dressed people. Hardly we could see some black cars. What happened in China in
thirty years is quite a surprise.

U. S. stores had made in Japan and Taiwan consumer products in those days, but now almost all the consumer goods are from China. We may not fully agree with China's business practice, but we will have to admit their great economic success story.
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