Mark Kitto is wrong to be so pessimistic about China's futureby Marjorie Perry / September 18, 2012 / Leave a comment
Mark Kitto recently wrote an article in Prospect explaining why after 16 years in China—during which time he married a Chinese woman, had two children, and ran his own business—he is returning to the west. He outlined several factors that have compelled him to leave the country he once loved. China is no longer the exciting place it was when he first arrived, full of optimism and a new vision for the people. It is now a terribly polluted country, rampant with corruption, clinging to xenophobia and nationalism, and consumed by lust for money. As a foreigner who has lived in China I have experienced all of these issues and yet I do not share Kitto’s pessimism. In fact, I am planning to return to China to live there for several more years.
Kitto’s concerns are well-grounded. Pollution, for instance, is a huge problem. I remember first coming to study in Xi’an in 2009. I knew that Xi’an would have a dry climate. During the journey from the airport to the university, however, it seemed as though we were driving through a fine mist. I soon learned that this phenomenon was the haze of pollution hugging the city. For short periods of time it loosens its grip, long enough to remind everyone exactly what they are missing: blue skies; vitamin D; clearly defined shadow and light.