Last week as we were leaving Ganzi, a thread of cloud hung over the surrounding mountains. The early morning bus bumbled closer, revealing that what from a distance seemed a misty adornment was just another example of human encroachment on nature. The factory responsible for expelling the vile stuff never came into view. It must have been miniscule in comparison to the vast piece of sky its mechanical chugging violated. The old man sitting next to me on the bus eyed the grey cloud wordlessly. It is just a taste of the silent acceptance of the decline of the most beautiful and pure parts of China, which bow to the ravenous god of modernization.
How does one have the heart to plant a tumor here? Will Ganzi become another Xiangtan? Will Shiqu become another Ganzi? Will the real China disappear under a seductive, toxic gauze veil, as the leaders are married to the idea of forcing it into the ranks of the developed (past tense completed)?