Capitalism, Shanghai-style, thrives again
Clinton visits revitalized cityJune 29, 1998
Web posted at: 2:37 p.m. EDT (1837 GMT) In this story: Mike Chinoy
SHANGHAI, China (CNN) -- For almost half a century, Shanghai was a city in suspended animation, frozen by the Communist revolution. But no longer. The latest stop on President Clinton's visit to China, and the one-time financial capital of the Orient, is booming again.
Shanghai is where Clinton plans to focus on China's economic progress and potential. The city at the mouth of the Yangtze River is at the forefront of China's exploding experimentation with liberalization and free markets. For example, Shanghai has:
'A city willing to accept new things'
In a remarkably short period, a once-proud city humbled by decades of communist misrule has regained its confidence and the style that has long made it China's most cosmopolitan city.
Yang couldn't have done it anywhere else in China. "Shanghai is a city of imagination, a place that gives people fantasies," she told CNN. "It's a city willing to accept new things and ideas. You can't resist it."
Yang is far from alone in her outlook, as indicated by random interviews on a Shanghai street:
Shanghai's economic boom slows
But after six years of double-digit growth, business is not so good right now:
Shanghai, then, is a city of contradictions -- a place where urban squalor and heightened social tensions can be found alongside unprecedented prosperity and visions of the good life.
As China's stunning transformation proceeds, Shanghai's fate will offer important clues to the country's future.
As the old saying here goes: If you want to know what's happening in China now, look at the capital, Beijing. If you want to know what's going to happen, look at Shanghai.
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