Fast Changing Shanghai

One of my favorite thing involving traveling to US for one week is that when you come back to Shanghai, you find so many things changed in one week. One week means a lot in current Shanghai.


From the first thing I noticed – the facade of the building under construction near my residential area were completed. Several new buildings (20+ stories high) just suddenly appeared there. Well. They were not built in one week, but it took just one week to remove all the greenish construction wrappers around the building to reveal a beautiful new building.

The structure of the via-duct at the Yanggao South Road 杨高南路, and Gaoke West Road 高科西路 was completed. From nothing to a big bridge over head is a big thing.

The new ramp of the Nanpu bridge is almost ready. Within weeks, we may be able to use the newly added ramp to get to Nanpu Bridge from Pudong side. That is a huge project, but they are almost reaching the end of it.

The elevated highway connecting Nanpu Bridge above the Long Yang road made huge progress. All the bridges from the via duct to Jinxiu Road are almost finished. Before I visited US, there were just huge poles spreading along the several mile range.

The Inner Ring from Nanpu Bridge to Luban Road section were painted to white. Before, it was just cementing, and the color is the default gray, and now it is painted to white. The Luban Road via-duct was completely painted to light yellow.

Before I enter the SJTU campus, the Gong Cheng Road was detoured to make room for the construction of the tunnel of the new Metro line. However, the detour should only last for several week before the station is completed. With more than 200+ metro station under construction, they have to be quick.


The count-down of Shanghai Expo have gone below 300 days. Now is 290+ days…

Today, the Shanghai has the bluest sky in the recent weeks. I love Shanghai a lot, IF the weather is always like this. This is just great. There are white clouds floating on the clear blue sky. The air quality is just like the Silicon Valley. I love it.

Photograph by Jian Shuo Wang using Li Jia’s camera

Well. To many different things happens. Every time when I am away from Shanghai for a while, and getting back is exciting. It is just like pressing the fast forward sign of a DVD player. You discover new things that you seldom notice when you are there every day.

What I love Silicon Valley a lot is, it is stable, and every time I visit, it does not change too much – AVIS has exact same counter (maybe same person greeting you at the counter), and the cars are always at K rows (K6, K39?). The restaurants are still there, serving the same dish. All the roads, are the same for sure.

Strange Feeling

At the same time of being exciting for the progress of physical construction in Shanghai, I feel more and more painful about the tightening censorship, and GFWs. On the policy side, China is really far behind what people expected it to be. The recent riot in Xinjiang is a big hit, although all the media try to stay as concise as possible about it. I don’t think I know enough to make a comment about it yet, but I am deeply concerned.

8 thoughts on “Fast Changing Shanghai

  1. there has been a lot of media coverage of the xinjiang riots here in the US, but they really don’t know very much because of the restricted media presence in the area. one good thing is that the western coverage is very objective (i think). i’ve seen pieces highlighting Han families as well as Uighurs.

    As for construction, it always amazes me how absolutely lightening speed construction projects get completed in China. You may have heard about the Big Dig in Boston. It took them 10+ years to build a set of underground tunnels for the highway system here. In Cambridge, it took them about 4 years to finish redecorating a small city park. It is very frustrating.

  2. I’ve seen a good number of reports that invariably mention the incidents in Tibet alongside the recent ones in Xinjiang and seem to conflate the two.

    What is GFW? Pardon my ignorance.

  3. BTW, I’m from Singapore and I face the same situation of things changing each time I go back. New buildings popping up and our national bird – the crane – dotting the city skyline. ha.

    It is exciting yes, but it also makes me a little disoriented/feel a little old each time! Although, I feel that things have slowed a little this time with the economy still tanking.

  4. Western coverage of Xinjiang is not at all objective. For the first few days, it was very pro-Uighurs. Not until vast majority of Chinese (both in China and US born) wrote angry comments to WSJ and NYtimes, these two Newspaper started to write decent stories on the Han Chinese’s casualties. But still not enough. The majority of the people died in Xinjang riot are Han Chinese. The western media is very anti Chinese government. In my opinion, what the Chinese government did far exceeds my expectation.

  5. Shelly, when you set the state media’s reports (CCTV, Xinhua and the likes) as your default source of news, of course you’d think the ‘Western’ coverage are always biased and anti-Chinese government. What makes you think what you’ve seen on Chinese media about the Xinjiang incident are ‘objective’ anyway?

    I’m sure you are very aware how heavily news reports are manipulated and censored in China. What they are doing is basically censoring news that they don’t like and monopolising news reporting in the entire country. How ‘objective’ do you think this kind of news reporting can be ?

  6. I am an American living in Los Angeles. I was in China when the riots broke. I flew back to the State on July 7, 2009. I saw both sides. As a matter of fact, my main source of info was from NY times and WSJ. But I am quite upset with their coverage, I started to read China Daily and Shanghai Daily just to see the other side.

    What you let to believe about Chinese media was the same as western media, there is no different. I would like to know where is the censoring? I could assess anything I want on the internet sitting in my hotel room in China (MY times, WSJ or any major western media). I ask my American CEO friends living in China about this censorship, nobody can tell me anything specific. It is probably some small unknown website, or misnomer.

  7. It’s not like that Chinese get all their information from CCTV and Xinhua. There are numerous blog posts about the incident and the background, in Chinese and in English, by Chinese and by Westerners, by people witnessed the riot and by people born and lived in Xinjiang for a long time. Is there repression in Xinjiang of Uighurs? I believe there is like in anywhere else in China and probably harsher. Did the protesters commit atrocities? I believe they did, and they did it to common people. But many of the reports I read in western media focused solely on the repression. It is like after 911, you only reports how the Americans have sinned without touching the atrocity the attackers have done. The repression is done by the government, but the revenge is taken upon common people.

  8. Shelly,

    Your American CEO friends probably read English versions of websites while they’re in China, and to stop English-speaking expats from complaing, those English-language websites aren’t actually blocked. The majority of Chinese population aren’t interested in what NY times, WSJ or CNN have to say anyway.

    Rather than sitting in your comfy hotel room and reading English-language websites like NY Times, WSJ, China Daily etc. and try to argue there aint censoring in Chinese Media, try a local internet cafe next time when you’re in China and try something like Chinese version. I’d be surprised if you can get onto websites like that.

    Even better, try reading a few Chinese-language newspapers and try to find what’s different among them on the report on Xinjiang. You will only find the same official reports in every paper, as local Chinese-language papers aren’t allow to have their own versions of news reports on Xinjiang. Whenever some better newspaper, like the ‘Southern Metropolis Daily’, chooses to report this kind of ‘sensitive’ news in their own perspective, those pieces of news are frequently taken down from their websites in matter of minutes and the responsible writer/editor often ‘warned’ or even sacked.

    I’m sure you’ve heard about how forum threads on ‘sensitive’ topics are diligently deleted and how and why youtube gets blocked so frequently China.

    I don’t know why you’re upset about NY times’ and WSJ’s coverages, is that because what they said aren’t exactly like what you read in China Daily and Shanghai Daily? What makes you think they are a fair reference point of what the ‘truth’ is? I wouldn’t trust any news reports from a country that is so keen in controlling its media ACTIVELY.

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