relevantdetails Phone zombies man. Chinese people really have no inhibitions when it comes to using their phones. As recent as 2011 most Chinese were still all using those blackberry-esque Nokias. Things were better then, in that respect.
exceptionalaverage Only been to mainland China as a tourist in those days. Perhaps my views are irrelevant, but anyway. Xian: Drab, polluted hellhole. Lots of scams and beggars. Beijing: Surprisingly good air (just after they Olympics). People were curious about and friendly to foreigners. Shenzhen: Still as charmless as it is today, except a bit cheaper. My HKD to RMB was almost 1:1. Then inflation, exchange rate unpegging, and food safety scandals hit, so there's pretty much no reason to go there now. Hong Kong: Generally a happier place, with less mainlandisation - less political interference, and fewer mainland tourists. Now, many local shops have been torn down to make way for Gucci, LVMH, Omega etc. Mainlanders were more looked down upon than despised. Today, it's more or less the opposite.
tigertigerduckduck Beijing was great during the Olympics. Air was indeed very clean, but also because that year there was a drought in the winter and little rain or snow. Was great though. When the weather is good Beijing's blue skies are awesome!
zakazaw Mainlanders were more looked down upon than despised. Interesting way of putting it, and I think you're right. I liked Xian though, went there a few years ago. I found the Bell Tower/Muslim Quarter to be quite nice but I guess if I lived there, I mightn't find it so good.
zakazaw Cool, this was a great post. From your list, I feel like things were better then in the sense there was much less materialism. I feel sad reading the part about the Internet. It is sickening how tech-savvy the regime has gotten and how they've come to dominate the Internet here. Somebody else also said in the 1995 post that there was more optimism in the past. It's strange bc, at least in Beijing, I see a lot of Chinese with a kind of smugness and confidence, bordering on arrogance. Even right now, I know people who feel that the govt has everything under control and that China will continue to boom. Is it a different kind of optimism you saw in the 2000s (hopeful about society in general) or is it the same kind, just focused on money and materialism? When you say people were sick of co ption but wanting to make cash-grabs, I suppose general co ption in society was not as blatant then but starting to get bad? So rudeness and bad driving was a thing back then too; it's funny and distressing.