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Written by Momo
Beijing exists in a void that is out of touch with the charms of China I sought to experience. It's a city full of materialistic dreams and cluttered with tower cranes. Watching western businessmen in their suits, I'm reminded of ancient vikings crashing upon the shores of distant lands seeking to rape and pillage.

Cheap labor and profits seem to be all they care for. They wander around with outstretched hands and eager faces, seeking to lay their paws on anything of value. I can't help but to feel a distance between people like me and invaders like them. It's not just the foreigners who cling to dreams of financial prosperity and fast profits. The Chinese also care about little more than the size of their salary, a trip abroad or a constant supply of the latest fashions. A materialistic disease has infected the metropolitan Chinese cities.

I came to China to envelop myself in the "mystery of the Orient". So little was known before I headed to China. All I had were pre-concieved notions and myths about chopsticks and Confucius. How wrong I was. Instead, corporate ugliness and greed is what defines China today,. The need for western commodities found its way into the psyches of the people here and to such a depth that it's beyond the point of no return.

My initial experiences of China were those of the countryside. I was surrounded by an overhelming poverty that became "normal". The poverty I witnessed was at first striking but then I began to notice that the peasants knew nothing else. They weren't discontent to live in that way. Chinese life is still very real and exposed in those settings. Unlike Beijing.

Beijing has done it's best to cover up any signs of poverty while destroying a certain essence that helps to define what China is. Not only historic buildings are being torn down (such as Hutongs) but the mental barriers once erected to keep out western influence are all but gone. This is why there is so much change and such a loss of identity occuring in China. I wonder where the balance between the new and old China is and if it will be ever found by the Chinese people.

Our valuable Editor Momo has been with us since Thursday, 24 January 2013.

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