Thanks for dropping by.
For me, the 'Chinese
Currents' metaphor conveys a sense of the incredible scale and complexity of change that Chinese people have had to navigate
through since the flood gates of economic development were finally forced open. The economic 'sea-change' over the past 30 years has, in varying degrees, affected
and continues to affect the entire poulation of 1.4 billion. The extent of the social change that has been driven by
this force has to be seen to be believed.
'sea-change' has been mostly good.
In fact mostly very good indeed. Tens of millions have been lifted out of poverty. Hundreds of millions have
witnessed an amazing increase in their disposable income. And also, there are now more than a million
people who have accumulated wealth in excess of 10 million yuan. This group are powering the development
of the private sector, as well as the incredible growth in the luxury brand category.
As with all "sea-changes", however, there is also a large degree of unpredictability, not to mention disorientation. As a society shifts
from "fairness" (everyone in the same boat, having very little) to increasing inequality – when neighbours who used to have as little as everyone
else suddenly and conspicuously have more than those next door – then discontent is inevitable.
This "proximity of inequality", as I call it, is the most dangerous current on
China's development voyage, because the increasing "closeness" of inequality has a far bigger effect on
the psyche – and, in particular,
on people's notion of status and well-being – than inequality per se.
the 30+ years since my first visit, I've been lucky enough to journey to all of China's 34 provinces, municipalities
and regions, and to more than 100 cities. My constant
exposure to the complexity and magnitude of China's changing currents continues to remind me that, even though so much
water has passed under the bridge since my first visit in 1988, my learning curve is as steep as ever.
love to photograph what I see, and write about what I see and hear. My longest trip was a 35-day
10,603-mile rail journey from Beidaihe to north-eastern China, then to Tibet, and from Tibet to southern and then eastern
China, and back to where I started from.
On my travels I am always keen to listen to local people telling their own stories of what has
changed in their lives over the years, and what they think is likely to change in the near and not-so-near
future. I try to go that extra mile to find out what excites and inspires them, and what washes over them. The key
question I continue to ask myself is, how are the sea-changes here reshaping people's
lives and opinions.
I hope you
enjoy your visit to ChineseCurrents.com and enjoy at least some of my articles and photographs.
regards from Beijing (or from wherever in the world I am when you read this).