|"China's Elite Learn to Flaunt It While the New Landless Weep"|
|Li Chang [Above] grieves that a chateau for the rich, with a wide moat, was built where peasants once farmed. "It was once our land and now we have to apply to work there," he said. "To look at the place brings tears to my eyes."...|
|Rising out of the parched winter landscape of suburban Beijing, like a Gallic apparition... Chateau Zhang Laffitte... is a quirky extravagance intended to catch the eye of China's new rich. They can rent its rooms and, later, buy homes amid the ponds, equestrian trails and golf course on... Communist Party member... Mr. Zhang's [Photo, left & right] 1.5-square-mile estate. It is even more conspicuous to its nearest neighbors, 800 now landless peasants who used to grow wheat on its expansive lawns. In a generation, China's ascetic, egalitarian society has acquired the trappings and the tensions of America in the age of the robber barons. A rough-and-tumble form of capitalism is eclipsing the remnants of socialism. Those who have made the transition live side by side with those who have not, separated by serrated fences and the Communist Party. The party's Central Committee conducted a survey of party officials in November in which the widening income gap ranked as the biggest concern, mainly because it stirs social unrest (See below).|
Copyright © 2004 Brad McCormick, Ed.D.
09 March 2006