"Some officials dare not show their watches in public. If they are caught wearing luxury watches, people will be asking whether they're corrupt, because they can't afford to buy that kind of thing with their salaries."
China's appetite for oil has been soaring over the past two decades, and its oil imports will continue to soar in the decades ahead. The country will thus become far more exposed to the risk of international supply disruptions than it is today. This has raised great concern about China's energy security, because its rapidly increasing oil imports come mainly from politically unstable regions and are shipped through lengthy sea lanes over which China has little say.
As prices of luxury items remain prohibitive in China, affluent consumers rack up sprees abroad.
In villages across China, grandparents have set aside their dreams of retirement to raise children left behind by their reluctant parents, who migrate to the cities in pursuit of making more money than they can at home. At a different level up the economic pyramid, in urban households, grandparents are now migrating from their homes to take care of their grandchildren in cities hundreds of kilometers away - as families scatter across a rapidly transforming China.
With a history of more than 7,000 years as well as rapid development, Ningbo enjoys the best of both worlds. It manages to balance both traditional and progressive, peaceful and lively, with an array of surprising but pleasant contrasts along the way.
Market principles should not be allowed to invade our civic, social and family lives, says Michael Sandel, a political philosopher and a professor at Harvard University's Department of Government.
Emmy-award winning broadcaster Carrie Gracie does not believe China is as uniquely shaped by its history as is often assumed.
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