图组:老外看上海,一组老外拍摄的最新上海实景

Shanghai, People's Republic of China photo tour

Inspired by the informative North Korea thread, I'm compelled to post a Shanghai photo tour as a comparison between two nominally Communist societies (one isolated and still adamantly against economic reforms, and the other fully embracing the free-market and global economy). The difference today between North Korea and Shanghai is day and night, but it wasn't always so. Still I want to iterate that Shanghai is hardly a perfect society; poverty and corruption still abound in various extents, but it is my opinion and the opinion of I'm sure many that the city (and China as a whole) has gone a long way to improve the overall standard of living and quality of life of its residents in the last 20 years (particularly these last 10).

Shanghai is Mainland China's largest city (it's actually equivalent to a province, and is about the size of Holland) with over 10 million residents in the urban core, 8 million suburban/rural residents and approximately 4 million undocumented residents. For perspective, the municipality of Shanghai has the same population as the entire country of North Korea. The city was originally the most cosmopolitan in Asia (particularly in the 1920s and 1930s) but languished and declined during WWII and the subsequent Mao years. Shanghai was heavily taxed by the Communist central government between 1949 to early 1990s; for four decades it was the only consistent source of revenue for Communist China even during the chaos of the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution. In the 1980s, most of Shanghai was still using pre-WWII infrastructure as tax revenues were sent to Beijing without return. Shanghai in the 1980s looked like North Korea today. In 1991, Shanghai was finally granted (under Deng Xiaoping's economic reforms) a lower tax burden and allowed to conduct business with foreign companies. Since 1991, the city has completely retransformed itself and is on its way to becoming a major world financial capital within the next 25 years. Today, 50% of its high school graduates attend college, internet access and mobile phone usage are widespread and at saturation level. The United Nations ranks Shanghai today as having a "high level" of development in its Human Development Index, up from "low" just 20 years ago.


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East bank (pudong) side of Shanghai. In 1991, this used to be a gray muddy swamp filled with abandoned warehouses.


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Window washer atop a skyscraper in Shanghai. The background is the west bank (puxi) side of Shanghai.


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Girl hailing a taxi cab. Taxis, buses and subway are now the most common form of city transportation.


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Sugarcane vendor.


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Shanghai band Re-Establishing the Rights of Statues (Re-TROS, 重塑雕像的权利) pose with Live Bar owner, Mr. Sun (老孙).


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Nanking punk band The Angry Jerks performs at Harley's in Shanghai.


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Condom vending machine in Shanghai


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An adult shop in Shanghai. This did not exist 20 years ago.


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Shanghai police officers


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SUBS concert poster in Shanghai


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Suzhou Creek Dragon Boat race in Shanghai


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Dragon Boat cadence drummer


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Local band performs at the National Day (China's "independence day") Rock Festival in Shanghai


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Local band performs at the National Day Rock Festival in Shanghai


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German alternative metal band Alev performs at Shuffle in Shanghai.


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Faces of Shanghai


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Zhongshan Park cosplay


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Walking through the park


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Bicycle city


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Tricycle


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Jing'an Temple in the middle of downtown Shanghai. The temple dates to the Wu Kingdom of the Three Kingdoms era circa 280 AD.


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Older parts of city.. these were the ubiquitous soviet-style apartments built during the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s. They are still everywhere.


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Modern apartments in Shanghai


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Construction


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Metro station platform


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Subway advertisement


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Metro station platform


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Inside the subway car


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Inside a mall (Pacific Mall)


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Street market in older section of the city


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Dawn


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Bus route signs. Shanghai has the world's largest bus system, with over 1000 routes.


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Endless construction


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Working outside the Grand Theatre (上海大剧院)


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Graffiti on Kunming Road.


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fire ladder of apartment.


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traffic on yan'an road.


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Chinese flags atop historic buildings along the Bund.


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The Bund, Zhongshan Road


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Living under the skyway.


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Under the flypass


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Rainy day on a typical Shanghai street


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Public telephone stands in Shanghai are green.


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Crossing guard


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Chaoyang Road, a cafe and pub/restaurant lined street.


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teahouse sign.


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faces of Shanghai, and public restroom sign


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On the expressway


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little girl and cat


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homeless under a bridge


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Old shikumen alleys.. as if frozen in time since the 1800s.


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More shikumen alleys


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Along Suzhou Creek, the industrial river that cuts through Shanghai's industrial districts


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Another photo of Suzhou Creek


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Pudong (east bank) aerial view. The skyscraper in the middle is China's tallest building.


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Another typical street in Shanghai.. Tiantong Road... juxtaposition of the old with the new.

Once a country gets its act together, it does not take long for it to become developed. Shanghai of course is not a complete representation of China today, one ought to see it as a potential model for the rest of the country in the coming decades.

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