My 'China' thoughts.
I did not agree with this assessment then, thought it was too extreme based on just one visit! I had heard and read that India was on the move. There was a surge in real estate activity and infra structure projects were in full swing. It is not nice to mention the stalled NICE project of Karnataka here! Also, Mutual funds in the infrastructure segment were doing well and the share market was going through the ceiling. (Now it is history! Things have changed and HOW by the time I went into print!)
I will go back to my impressions of the city. Beijing is a clean city, full of open spaces old and new. We did not see any beggars. I did see a few women collecting recycle bottles and cans from the trash. They did not look destitute, were very small in stature and thin but were chirpy and reminded me of sparrows. They wore uniforms, surely part of the Summer Palace staff and the busy week end meant some extra income for them. Another woman while looking for bottles, took time off to read the newspaper that was in the trash bin.
I asked Tara 'where are the poor!' There were no slums or abject poverty we see in India. Tara said 'They don't allow them into Beijing. People need permits to live in Beijing'. Is it the perpetuation of the 'Forbidden city' concept, I wondered with only the borders becoming much larger.
I did not see any police around. I even wished they were there when we were stuck in traffic! I was looking for signs of the officialdom. I missed them here, I have seen more of them at Lalbaugh in our own Bangalore, driving cars and scooters, even honking and forcing walkers in the park out of their way. Probably it was a special no-officials day in Beijing.