I have only read half of the book in a month and I have not write any post yet, so this is the first post of Country Driving. Ho Wei rented a Cherokee 7250, “City Special”, he drove along the Great Wall from Beijing. In Yulin, Shaanxi, he was driven away by a man from the government. The second time he made it to the Subei, Gansu, two cops fined him one hundred yuan according to their laws, so Chinese. In book II, Ho Wei rented a house in Sancha, this chapter is mainly about the landlord’s uncle Wei Ziqi and his son Wei Jia.
I have been to three walls: Badaling, Hushan and Shanhaiguan. Hushan Great Wall is the easternmost known part of the Great Wall. Once you climb high enough, you will see North Korea’s farmland. You can also take a boat to cross the border in the middle of Yalu River. But it’s overpriced. Shanhaiguan is one of the heavily fortified passes in China. Even during the Second Sino-Japanese War and Chinese Civil War, it was still an important military pass. The east part of the wall “Laolongtou” meets the Bohai Sea, great place for sightseeing. As for Badaling, all I saw were people.
Before I read this book I thought the Great Wall is remarkable and I still think so. But besides that, now I feel it’s inappropriate for the party promotes the wall as a symbol of the Chinese culture or muti-ethnic unity. It’s a bloody military building for defensing invasion of minorities. And most walls are stupid, like GFW, paywall, Berlin wall and many other borders except Vox Borders.
Ho Wei saw many dying villages on his way to the west. People were finding jobs in cities, leaving the elderly and children in the villages. He met many hitchers on the road, most were women who came home with gifts. He called this Chinese hitchhiking gesture “petting an invisible dog”. Sometimes the gesture is not enough, you have to shout to get the taxi driver’s attention.
in China, most migrants go home only once a year, during the Spring Festival, and this is especially true for those who find jobs far away. The people I met generally worked closer to home, in provincial cities or good-sized townships. For them, village trips were feasible, and women were more likely to make the effort, because they were attentive to parents and grandparents.
– Country Driving
In Ansicun, only an old man and a flock of children lived here. This common scene maybe disappears in the future, Beijing is evicting so-called low-end population now.
Wei Ziqi joined the party for his business. He needs the local party members’ support to get a bank loan. After Xi came to power in 2012, the increase of party members rate decreases every year. The party wants more loyalty, of course, they won’t let parasites join. Party members even have meetings in police station to get educated, still better than re-educate.
Last year the total volume of applications to join the party fell by about 10%—the first big drop in years—perhaps because stricter enforcement of party regulations and renewed efforts to collect membership dues is making party life look less appealing.
– The Economist
Country Driving: 59%