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Dalny: Development zone
Some time before my coming to China for language studies, there was a remarkable event there. In addition to the four special economic zones (Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Xiamen and Shantou) the government opened 14 seaside cities for international investments. They determined the territories for establishing so-called "development zones" in those cities. Dalian was among them.
For us, it was very interesting to know how the Chinese were going the way. First, we were sinologists, and economic reforms were (and still are) the very important side of Chinese reality; second, then the USSR was close to start reforms, and we had to know what exactly our country can face in the future.
On some Saturday of October, 1986, the Training Centre for Foreign Students of Dalian Institute of Foreign Languages arranged for us an excursion to the development zone. We were brought by bus to the northern shore of the bay. There was just the territory purposed to develop for foreign money.
For better view they disembarked us on a hill. From the top we saw that the practically empty territory was already lined with good-quality roads. There was few construction sites, and couple of objects were ready. We were glad to see our native KAMAZ dumptrucks used for construction. Besides viewing from the hill, we also were allowed to see two enterprises from inside: the brewery and the chopsticks factory. The second was already in operation.
That excursion was not of great impression to me. Observing the empty space with roads and sparce construction sites it was impossible to guess about the scale of the project.
The next time I came to that hill was after 13 years. The impressions not taken in the past this time were more than compensated.
Now it was remote from the central part but rather lively district of Dalian. Once empty, the place became built over wisely. Industrial and residential zones were clearly distinguished. On the hill itself there was set a park, that day crowded with people on leisure. Cars and bused rushed along the streets, shops and restaurants were open.
In order to explain how the place was changed, here are the photos taken from similar points but in different times: in 1986 and in 1999.
Standing at the hill's top and comparing the present view to the past impression, I thought that there is a long way from the plan to its realization. It is necessary to follow the plan and work hard despite of how difficult and dull it seems. The Chinese demonstrated that they are able to do so.
Photos by B.Zaroudny, Li Xuan and by the author
© Dmitry Alemasov
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