There is a need to cover other information such as the under the table dealings that typify the bureaucratic procedures. For instance, there is the case of guanxi, which is the cultivation, reliance, and exploitation of connections to the government in order to bypass bureaucratic processes. This has been fleetingly mentioned in the latter part of the book, which only explored the concept in the context of the business enterprise. As a matter of fact, he was able to identify it through a character who explained that it is even a source of pride (p.
211). It is unbelievable that with the years that Hessler stayed in China, he did not personally experience this aspect of Chinese culture and could not make his own account on this subject. As the author found himself traversing the Chinese roads leading to the Great Wall, he was not able to keep himself from commenting about the way many roads are still without names and The Chinese Automobile Driver’ s Book of Maps. These seemingly trivial observations were designed to depict the modern Chinese state. The unlabeled roads represent the rapid facelift currently taking place with the flurry of infrastructure developments in the country.
There is a sense conveyed of unbridled spending and unlimited financial resources that are identified as an implication that is subtly explained. This information, however, is not something new. The impact of the economic development has been the subject of numerous literature written about modern China and Hessler is not offering any new insight. If he was able to discuss this area with a strong historical basis, then it would have been a more effective and refreshing approach.
Hessler initiated an interesting perspective by intimating how a culture is shaping itself around an aspect of modernity that is adopting but never trampled upon in the process. But he never really explored this aspect to the fullest. For example, there is an insistence of identity that can sometimes make one think that China is exploiting modernity for its benefit and not the other way around.
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