It's been two years since I last set foot on the homeland, so it was with eager and curious eyes that I observed the country on the recent 3-week trip. Here are some impressions that stood out.
1. Bad news first: the environmental crises, especially the air quality, are even worse than I expected. The APEC-blue did just a little to clear the skies. Driving from Inner Mongolia all the way to Shanghai, we were submerged in dense smog the whole way, except for a few rare relief in the mountains.
Talking to people in the government, business and the legal system provided some clue to the cause of the eco-crises. The systems (political, economic, and social) incentivize pollution, and provide no check-and-balance. The fragile moral fabric does not withstand the pounding force of state capitalism and greed. Many people are getting sick, and dying of cancer. It is heart-breaking. I used to think that I will bike across China in the next few years, but now it seems suicidal to do it to the lung.
1. In the belly
I can start to see how it is hard for those who have never worked inside the system to sympathize with those who are toiling in it. I start to experience the bodily reaction when my work inside of the system is being critiqued and criticized.
There is confirmation bias on both sides: those who are in the capitalist system, and those who believe they are not. Being inside the system, one needs to rationalize and justify their work. One's ego, self-worth, greed and desires all bond him tighter with the system.