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Hidden Poverty - The Well People Of Beijing

Dubbed the new 'cave dwellers' of Beijing, these people were recently found living in the city's underground water system. Society's lowest rung raises hard questions about modern China.

Hard times are usually hidden in modern China's big cities
Hard times are usually hidden in modern China's big cities
Zheng Ge and Zhang Jin

BEIJING — At a conference in Beijing, I once met a Cornell University professor who told me that he always likes to hire a taxi to explore the hidden corners of whatever city he is visiting. He said he was surprised to find that in all the Chinese cities he’d been to — unlike Bangalore, Mumbai, Calcutta, or even in New York or Chicago — he’s seen no “glaring slums.”

I tried to explain to this professor why slums don’t exist in China. It’s because of the housing allocation by employers, the household registration system and the so-called urban management system of China’s planned economy. But I somehow couldn’t quite convince the professor.

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Ideas

García Márquez And Truth: How Journalism Fed The Novelist's Fantasy

In his early journalistic writings, the Colombian novelist Gabriel García Márquez showed he had an eye for factual details, in which he found the absurdity and 'magic' that would in time be the stuff and style of his fiction.

Colombian novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez reads his book

J. D. Torres Duarte

BOGOTÁ — In short stories written in the 1940s and early 50s and later compiled in Eyes of a Blue Dog, the late Gabriel García Márquez, Colombia's Nobel Prize-winning novelist, shows he is as yet a young writer, with a style and subjects that can be atypical.

Stylistically, García Márquez came into his own in the celebrated One Hundred Years of Solitude. Until then both his style and substance took an erratic course: touching the brevity of film scripts in Nobody Writes to the Colonel, technical experimentation in Leaf Storm, the anecdotal short novel in In Evil Hour or exploring politics in Big Mama's Funeral. Throughout, the skills he displayed were rather of a precocious juggler.

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