China @ Street Level – Shaoguan Town, Guangdong

Shanguan Town, Guangdong – a far cry from what we usually hear or see about prosperous Guangdong. Dingy, ugly and featureless, this is actually what most typical suburban areas in Guangdong look like.

Like elsewhere in China, this town is glutted with properties. Notices offering properties for sale are written on a chalkboard here. There is a massage parlour next to it. Not captured in the video (probably edited out) Mr Shi said that he noticed many women hanging around one of the alleys. The buildings are probably not that old. They’re just poorly maintained.

Are you surprised by what’s typical and what’s not? The miracle of China’s economy needs a good dose of reality. Poverty alleviation has indeed happened for some 70 million Chinese people, but the rest are still being exploited and living in misery.