(photo of cover of China Road by Rob Gifford)
It was while reading China Road by Rob Gifford that I took off for Hong Kong. Got back and resumed reading it. Gifford travels down Route 312, the huge east-west road that transsects China. No doubt about it, this is a dream journey in more ways than one. Certainly goes into my ‘to do’ list.
The book tries to predict the future of China & comes to a simple, compelling conclusion. The future of China lies in the hands of its peasants and they are restive. All through China’s history, it was the peasantry that rose to overthrow existing systems – remember it was the peasantry that Mao galvanised to sweep in with communist rule. Therefore, if the lives of ordinary peasants do not see improvement, China’s current system is at threat. And the overall sense I get is that venal local officialdom with no accountability is the real pain point for the Chinese people, particularly its peasant-folk. So interestingly, low-level corruption is a dangerous rot in China, much like it is in India.
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