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While New York Talks, Shanghai Walks to the Future

2009. 27 May

(The Wall Street Journal) Bret Stephens's "Saying Goodbye to Ground Zero" (de gustibus, Taste, May 22) opines from his Wall Street Journal office window on his disillusionment at the lack of progress at the site that was once home to one of the greatest symbols of capitalism.

In contrast with Mr. Stephens's close-up views, mine are from afar, from Shanghai, where the city is engaged in a massive makeover in preparation for the 2010 World Expo.

One recently completed project took just over one year. China's oldest steel bridge, the Waibaidu or Garden Bridge, erected in 1907, was removed from its foundation, barged to and repaired at a shipyard, and reinstalled over Suzhou Creek by the Huangpu River. Another Shanghai project is the repair of the entire length of the Bund, including its promenade.

So while New York City's governmental agencies, private developers, insurance companies, lawyers, and labor organizations continue to ply their special interests and create a logjam at Ground Zero, Shanghai's city leaders, Chinese capitalists, and laborers continue to press ahead around the clock with the execution of their plans, in order to show the world the global superpower China has become.

While we cry out in despair and in shame, the Chinese have something to be proud of, and deservedly so.

Peter D. Shay
New York

Source: The Wall Street Journal