Think Horizontal, Not Vertical
Just before the latest horrific violence in Xinjiang (see story here), I spoke at a conference on the “New Silk Road” economic zone that China’s President Xi Jinping hopes can link the poor west of China with the bordering nations of Central Asia and provide a new path to prosperity.
In one of my addresses, I warned against the towering office buildings and glitzy shopping malls that seem to seduce any Chinese city with investment dollars.
As reported (correctly) by the Global Times, I said:
David Schlesinger, managing director of Tripod Advisors and former chairman of Thomson Reuters China, warned the city not to lose its focus on infrastructure to the property market.
“People should think horizontally not vertically – roads, air links, rail links – and [not be seduced] by building towers, monuments, and things that will only build a vertical pile of debt,” he noted.
“You can start a project with vision and but to make it successful it has to have internal logic and sustainability,” he said.
And, most importantly, China needs to address properly the inequality, discrimination and frustrations that lead to separatist violence and terrorism.
In the words of U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Tom Malinowskithis week:
“Broadly targeting an entire religious or ethnic community in response to the actions of a few only increases the potential for violent extremism.”