Photos of Shanghai During the First Half of the 20th Century

This is a city full of freedom factor, where the people here exchange cigarettes, rice, and intelligence. Here in this place were international settlements [foreign concessions], but profiting from disaster, it become the number one financial center for the Far East. Today, news of a Shanghai Free Trade Zone has people in anticipation, for the return of an atmosphere of freedom. Compiled by Wen Xuan. Cover photo by Corbis. Some photographs provided by Post Wave Publishing.

From NetEase:

Free Shanghai

This is a city full of freedom factor, where the people here exchange cigarettes, rice, and intelligence. Here in this place were international settlements [foreign concessions], but profiting from disaster, it become the number one financial center for the Far East. Today, news of a Shanghai Free Trade Zone has people in anticipation, for the return of an atmosphere of freedom. Compiled by Wen Xuan. Cover photo [above] by Corbis. Some photographs provided by Post Wave Publishing. [Click photos to enlarge or view as slideshow.]

The development of “Modern Shanghai” started at the beginning of the 20th century. Municipal government and public facilities brought by international settlements; telegrams, telephones, and movies, balls, and other Western lifestyles brought by technological development; these factors collectively created a unique city: Shanghai. Photo is of 1902, of the Shanghai Volunteer Corps proceeding along Nanjing Road, participating in a parade. The Shanghai Volunteer Corps were established in 1853, with the purpose of protecting foreigners against the chaos of war. (Photo source: Shanghai: 1842-2010, Portrait of a Great City Post Wave Publishing)

The development of “Modern Shanghai” started at the beginning of the 20th century. Municipal government and public facilities brought by international settlements; telegrams, telephones, and movies, balls, and other Western lifestyles brought by technological development; these factors collectively created a unique city: Shanghai. Photo is of 1902, of the Shanghai Volunteer Corps proceeding along Nanjing Road, participating in a parade. The Shanghai Volunteer Corps were established in 1853, with the purpose of protecting foreigners against the chaos of war. (Photo source: Shanghai: 1842-2010, Portrait of a Great City Post Wave Publishing)

Photo is of 1906, Shanghai’s business street. At the time, Shanghai had already become the most bustling city in China’s East and even the entire country, with flourishing commerce. Getty/UIG

Photo is of 1906, Shanghai’s business street. At the time, Shanghai had already become the most bustling city in China’s East and even the entire country, with flourishing commerce. Getty/UIG

Due to the needs of trade communications and the development of telegraph technology, Shanghai’s banking business developed quickly, already becoming one of the Far East’s financial hubs by the start of the 20th century. Photo is of 1913, inside the International Savings Society on Shanghai’s Avenue Edward (today’s Yan’an East Road). The International Savings Society was established by the French in October 1912, where it operated until 1937 when it was outlawed by the Nationalist government. (Photo source: Shanghai: 1842-2010, Portrait of a Great City Post Wave Publishing)

Due to the needs of trade communications and the development of telegraph technology, Shanghai’s banking business developed quickly, already becoming one of the Far East’s financial hubs by the start of the 20th century. Photo is of 1913, inside the International Savings Society on Shanghai’s Avenue Edward (today’s Yan’an East Road). The International Savings Society was established by the French in October 1912, where it operated until 1937 when it was outlawed by the Nationalist government. (Photo source: Shanghai: 1842-2010, Portrait of a Great City Post Wave Publishing)

Apart from feelings of unfairness brought by the foreign concessions, Shanghai locals also accepted the dividends brought by the foreign concessions. It became China’s fastest developing city at the beginning of the 20th century, escaping the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom and Boxers catastrophes, the people here also being the very first to experience a true modern city, experience the media, advertisements, films, high-level education, etc. Photo is of Shanghai in the early 20th century, near the Hongkou market, where everyday were many local fishermen, peasant farmers, and butchers came to sell their goods. Corbis

Apart from feelings of unfairness brought by the foreign concessions, Shanghai locals also accepted the dividends brought by the foreign concessions. It became China’s fastest developing city at the beginning of the 20th century, escaping the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom and Boxers catastrophes, the people here also being the very first to experience a true modern city, experience the media, advertisements, films, high-level education, etc. Photo is of Shanghai in the early 20th century, near the Hongkou market, where everyday were many local fishermen, peasant farmers, and butchers came to sell their goods. Corbis

1907, workers for The Shanghai Electric Construction Co. Ltd. on Nanjing Road laying streetcar trolley rails. This was Shanghai’s first railed streetcar line, that ran mostly along the business street, from Jingan Temple to the Shanghai Club Building, a total of 6.04 kilometers, its main stop located at the Shanghai Club Building. (Photo source: Shanghai: 1842-2010, Portrait of a Great City Post Wave Publishing)

1907, workers for The Shanghai Electric Construction Co. Ltd. on Nanjing Road laying streetcar trolley rails. This was Shanghai’s first railed streetcar line, that ran mostly along the business street, from Jingan Temple to the Shanghai Club Building, a total of 6.04 kilometers, its main stop located at the Shanghai Club Building. (Photo source: Shanghai: 1842-2010, Portrait of a Great City Post Wave Publishing)

1911 Xinhai Revolution and Shanghai Recovery, during the chaotic state of affairs in the nation, the state of affairs in foreign concessions/international settlements were relatively stable. All the way until 1936, Shanghai’s international settlements were all in a state of high prosperity. Photo is of the Shanghai Jardine Silk Factory between 1910-1912, where the manager and his wife pose for a photograph among the rows of silk reeling machines. This silk factory and the later cotton yarn factory were important parts of Shanghai’s early industrial output, and one of Jardine Matheson‘s earliest industries, exporting silk to various parts of the world. (Photo source: Shanghai: 1842-2010, Portrait of a Great City Post Wave Publishing)

1911 Xinhai Revolution and Shanghai Recovery, during the chaotic state of affairs in the nation, the state of affairs in foreign concessions/international settlements were relatively stable. All the way until 1936, Shanghai’s international settlements were all in a state of high prosperity. Photo is of the Shanghai Jardine Silk Factory between 1910-1912, where the manager and his wife pose for a photograph among the rows of silk reeling machines. This silk factory and the later cotton yarn factory were important parts of Shanghai’s early industrial output, and one of Jardine Matheson‘s earliest industries, exporting silk to various parts of the world. (Photo source: Shanghai: 1842-2010, Portrait of a Great City Post Wave Publishing)

At the beginning of the 20th century, movies were one of the most important entertainments for people in Shanghai. In the 1920s, Shanghai had 40,000 theater seats, extremely high attendance, and the most popular movies were wuxia [martial arts] and family dramas. Photo is of the office of the Star Film and Theater School that was founded in 1922. This company made many of the most successful films of the time as well as trained a group of the most dazzling stars of the Shanghai Bund. (Photo source: Shanghai: 1842-2010, Portrait of a Great City Post Wave Publishing)

At the beginning of the 20th century, movies were one of the most important entertainments for people in Shanghai. In the 1920s, Shanghai had 40,000 theater seats, extremely high attendance, and the most popular movies were wuxia [martial arts] and family dramas. Photo is of the office of the Star Film and Theater School that was founded in 1922. This company made many of the most successful films of the time as well as trained a group of the most dazzling stars of the Shanghai Bund. (Photo source: Shanghai: 1842-2010, Portrait of a Great City Post Wave Publishing)

1930, Zhou Xuan (third from left), the star singer known as the “Golden Voice”. She initially performed in the Bright Moonlight Singing and Dancing Troupe and later became a famous movie star, playing the leading role in 43 films. (Photo source: Shanghai: 1842-2010, Portrait of a Great City Post Wave Publishing)

1930, Zhou Xuan (third from left), the star singer known as the “Golden Voice”. She initially performed in the Bright Moonlight Singing and Dancing Troupe and later became a famous movie star, playing the leading role in 43 films. (Photo source: Shanghai: 1842-2010, Portrait of a Great City Post Wave Publishing)

Apart from films, sports competitions and the like had also become a pursuit of high society. They never tired of tennis, horse racing and similar sports. Quite a few foreigners established jockey clubs and such organizations here [in Shanghai]. Photo is of three sisters awaiting the start of a tennis match. Corbis.

Apart from films, sports competitions and the like had also become a pursuit of high society. They never tired of tennis, horse racing and similar sports. Quite a few foreigners established jockey clubs and such organizations here [in Shanghai]. Photo is of three sisters awaiting the start of a tennis match. Corbis.

Relying on its unique political system and advantageous geography, Shanghai, after being opened up as a port, gradually became the most prosperous center of trade in the Far East, regarded as a “paradise for adventurers”, with the people who came all expressing an attitude of “doing business big, or not doing it at all”. Photo is of Shanghai’s riverbank pedestrian street around the 1930s in the 20th century. AFP

Relying on its unique political system and advantageous geography, Shanghai, after being opened up as a port, gradually became the most prosperous center of trade in the Far East, regarded as a “paradise for adventurers”, with the people who came all expressing an attitude of “doing business big, or not doing it at all”. Photo is of Shanghai’s riverbank pedestrian street around the 1930s in the 20th century. AFP

1927 March 29, the Nationalist government set up the Shanghai Special City (new municipality) outside the foreign concessions, greatly helping Shanghai’s development. Photo is of 1927, a peddler selling cigarettes to foreign soldiers. Getty/Topical Press Agency

1927 March 29, the Nationalist government set up the Shanghai Special City (new municipality) outside the foreign concessions, greatly helping Shanghai’s development. Photo is of 1927, a peddler selling cigarettes to foreign soldiers. Getty/Topical Press Agency

Photo is of Nanjing Road in the ’30s of the 20th century, both sides of the street covered with signs. Wikipedia

Photo is of Nanjing Road in the ’30s of the 20th century, both sides of the street covered with signs. Wikipedia

On Shanghai’s booming docks, cargo both large and small transferred. Photo is of dockers unloading a train locomotive engine; this engine car was provided by the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration. In addition to this, the UNRRA also provided many train cars, railroad ties, and steel rails. Corbis

On Shanghai’s booming docks, cargo both large and small transferred. Photo is of dockers unloading a train locomotive engine; this engine car was provided by the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration. In addition to this, the UNRRA also provided many train cars, railroad ties, and steel rails. Corbis

1930s of the 20th century, Shanghai became China’s number one metropolis. With the exception of Shanghai, the majority of China still hovered on the brink of destruction founded on a natural economy. Photo is of 1936 September 19, of Chinese laborers on the docks unloading watermelons to be sold. AP

1930s of the 20th century, Shanghai became China’s number one metropolis. With the exception of Shanghai, the majority of China still hovered on the brink of destruction founded on a natural economy. Photo is of 1936 September 19, of Chinese laborers on the docks unloading watermelons to be sold. AP

in 1843, 26 British businessmen and missionaries arrived in Shanghai, the first group of foreigners to arrive in Shanghai. By 1935, the number of British expatriates living in the Shanghai International Settlement had exceeded 6000 people. Photo is of the Shanghai Hotel in the 1930s. Corbis

In 1843, 26 British businessmen and missionaries arrived in Shanghai, the first group of foreigners to arrive in Shanghai. By 1935, the number of British expatriates living in the Shanghai International Settlement had exceeded 6000 people. Photo is of the Shanghai Hotel in the 1930s. Corbis

In the 1930s and 1940s of the 20th century, Shanghai’s advertising and media industry had already developed to a very high level, yet another piece of evidence of Shanghai’s flourishing commercial trade at the time. Photo is of the Shanghai Bund in 1935, where public buses were “invaded and taken over” by all types of advertisements. Corbis

In the 1930s and 1940s of the 20th century, Shanghai’s advertising and media industry had already developed to a very high level, yet another piece of evidence of Shanghai’s flourishing commercial trade at the time. Photo is of the Shanghai Bund in 1935, where public buses were “invaded and taken over” by all types of advertisements. Corbis

During the War of Resistance, Shanghai became Japanese occupied territory. During this time, Shanghai became a city where visas were not needed to enter, called the “Casablanca” of the East, with slight economic development. However, good things don’t last forever, and with the German request to get rid of Jews, Japan began to implement strict controls in Shanghai. Photo is of Shanghai during the War of Resistance. Getty/Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone

During the War of Resistance, Shanghai became Japanese occupied territory. During this time, Shanghai became a city where visas were not needed to enter, called the “Casablanca” of the East, with slight economic development. However, good things don’t last forever, and with the German request to get rid of Jews, Japan began to implement strict controls in Shanghai. Photo is of Shanghai during the War of Resistance. Getty/Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone

Photo is of Shanghai’s business street during the 1940s of the 20th century, where buildings, walls, and public buses were all pasted with advertisements. Photo: Alan Larson

Photo is of Shanghai’s business street during the 1940s of the 20th century, where buildings, walls, and public buses were all pasted with advertisements. Photo: Alan Larson

Photo is of 1948 January 1, a billboard on a Shanghai street. Other than physical goods, these advertisement billboards also featured advertisements for movie and stage play showings and the like. Getty/Time Life Pictures/Jack Birns

Photo is of 1948 January 1, a billboard on a Shanghai street. Other than physical goods, these advertisement billboards also featured advertisements for movie and stage play showings and the like. Getty/Time Life Pictures/Jack Birns

Photo is of 1947, a rickshaw puller, with a lot of advertisements visible on the commercial street. Getty/Time Life Pictures/Mark Kauffman

Photo is of 1947, a rickshaw puller, with a lot of advertisements visible on the commercial street. Getty/Time Life Pictures/Mark Kauffman

1947 June 1, a newsstand on the side of a Shanghai street. Other than local newspapers and periodicals, Time, Esquire, and similar periodicals were popular sellers on the streets of Shanghai. Getty/Time Life Pictures/Mark Kauffman

1947 June 1, a newsstand on the side of a Shanghai street. Other than local newspapers and periodicals, Time, Esquire, and similar periodicals were popular sellers on the streets of Shanghai. Getty/Time Life Pictures/Mark Kauffman

1945, Japan surrendered, and the Japanese occupation of Shanghai ended. However, not long after, the Chinese Civil War began, and Shanghai became a focal point that both the Nationalists and Communists fought over. For the Kuomingtang [KMT], Shanghai was it’s industrial base, whereas for the Communist Party, Shanghai was a hotbed for the labor movement. Photo is of 1946 August 1, a bird’s eye view of Shanghai. Corbis

1945, Japan surrendered, and the Japanese occupation of Shanghai ended. However, not long after, the Chinese Civil War began, and Shanghai became a focal point that both the Nationalists and Communists fought over. For the Kuomingtang [KMT], Shanghai was it’s industrial base, whereas for the Communist Party, Shanghai was a hotbed for the labor movement. Photo is of 1946 August 1, a bird’s eye view of Shanghai. Corbis

The Daxin Department Store building (now the First Department Store) after the War of Resistance victory. Photo: Alan Larson

The Daxin Department Store building (now the First Department Store) after the War of Resistance victory. Photo: Alan Larson

Photo is of the rooftop of the Shanghai Park Hotel, with American members of the Flying Tigers surveying the complete view of Shanghai. Photo: Alan Larson

Photo is of the rooftop of the Shanghai Park Hotel, with American members of the Flying Tigers surveying the complete view of Shanghai. Photo: Alan Larson

Photo is of not long after the end of the War of Resistance, of a dancing girl and a soldier dancing. There were still many foreign soldiers in the bars. Shanghai became an international city where foreigners could be seen everywhere. Corbis

Photo is of not long after the end of the War of Resistance, of a dancing girl and a soldier dancing. There were still many foreign soldiers in the bars. Shanghai became an international city where foreigners could be seen everywhere. Corbis

At the end of the 1940s in the 20th century, despite Shanghai remaining China’s number one city, the theme of Shanghai during this time was of social unrest/turmoil. Strikes, civil war, and inflation plagued the city of Shanghai. Photo is of 1947 June 18, on the street from the central business district to the Bund public markets, a flock of sheep crossing the street causes road congestion in the morning. AP

At the end of the 1940s in the 20th century, despite Shanghai remaining China’s number one city, the theme of Shanghai during this time was of social unrest/turmoil. Strikes, civil war, and inflation plagued the city of Shanghai. Photo is of 1947 June 18, on the street from the central business district to the Bund public markets, a flock of sheep crossing the street causes road congestion in the morning. AP

1948, a dragon boat race on Shanghai’s Huangpu River. Shanghai. The beginnings of Shanghai’s modern skyline already visible. Getty/Time Life Pictures/Jack Birns

1948, a dragon boat race on Shanghai’s Huangpu River. Shanghai. The beginnings of Shanghai’s modern skyline already visible. Getty/Time Life Pictures/Jack Birns

1949 May 1, at the Shanghai market bazaar, vendors selling “555″ branded pots. Soon after on May 14, Shanghai was surrounded and the Kuomingtang too started to retreat.

1949 May 1, at the Shanghai market bazaar, vendors selling “555” branded pots. Soon after on May 14, Shanghai was surrounded and the Kuomingtang too started to retreat.

1949 May 1, a Shanghai street filled with rickshaws. At this time, many businesses had already began closing their doors and moving. Getty/Popperfoto/Paul Popper

1949 May 1, a Shanghai street filled with rickshaws. At this time, many businesses had already began closing their doors and moving. Getty/Popperfoto/Paul Popper

1949 May 1, inside a bar, a photo of American bar owner Frank and his Chinese wife in their bar. This was several days before Communist Party forces reached Shanghai. Getty/Time Life Pictures/Jack Birns

1949 May 1, inside a bar, a photo of American bar owner Frank and his Chinese wife in their bar. This was several days before Communist Party forces reached Shanghai. Getty/Time Life Pictures/Jack Birns

Shanghai did not stop developing after it was controlled by the Communist Party, at the time, it and Beijing were kept as the only two municipalities. But for Shanghai, a period was already marked ending it’s most important chapter in history, as it welcomed yet another age/era.

Shanghai did not stop developing after it was controlled by the Communist Party, at the time, it and Beijing were kept as the only two municipalities. But for Shanghai, a period was already marked ending it’s most important chapter in history, as it welcomed yet another age/era.

Comments from NetEase:

网易重庆市手机网友 ip:183.70.*.*:

Why are the developed/flourishing places all places that have “fell into enemy hands/been captured” before? Requesting explanation.

网易浙江省衢州市手机网友 ip:123.158.*.*:

Looks more prosperous and bustling than the Shanghai before the Reform and Opening Up.

网易韩国手机网友 ip:223.62.*.*: (responding to 183.70.*.*)

Requesting explanation for why all the liberated places are impoverished…

网易美国手机网友 [nevermindnorth]:

The reason why Shanghai is the Shanghai today is because it was “colonized” [colonialism] long-term, and the reason why it is inferior to Hong Kong is because it its period of being a colony was shorter, proving that Chinese people will become excellent as long as they are in long-term contact with Western mainstream culture.

网易黑龙江省哈尔滨市手机网友 ip:218.9.*.*: (responding to above)

Mao and the Left’s hate of the West will only keep China and civilization further and further apart.

湛蓝之空 [网易广东省深圳市宝安区网友]: (also responding to 183.70.*.*)

Because a party of peasants came to govern the city, which will sooner or later show its incompetency.

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  • Shanghai is truly niubi!

  • lonetrey / Dan

    Very interesting. I always thought the style of old Chinese scenes during this era were exaggerated by movie producers, but it was a pleasant surprise to see otherwise!

    I keep wondering about the clothing they wear, a bit surreal to see them in actual photos since I’ve only seen them in Once Upon a Time in China movies.

    • Raranga

      > Very interesting. I always thought the style of old Chinese scenes
      during this era were exaggerated by movie producers, but it was a
      pleasant surprise to see otherwise!

      There were surely lots of places like that at the time. Cities like Shanghai, Shangai, Shanghai and …

  • Anus Presley

    A collection of old postcards from China in the early 20th Century here on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/china-postcard/sets/

  • takasar1

    as long as china has western money, nothing can go wrong!

    • Irvin

      The west can file for bankrupcy.

    • StatusQ

      The west can file for bankruptcy protection…. moreover, they have soft power (Hollywood, blonde girls, oil, atomic bombs), freedoms (firearms), spirituality (Dalai Lama, Neo-Nazis, Black Power, Vatican, Satanists), creativity (NSA, Sarin gas, science, Uyghur separatist groups, Alex Jones, Julian Assange), ecstasy (Cocaine-SSRIs-opium). Well, at least, China has 1.3 billion people and a trillion problems they have to keep
      this thing going and if the United States and the European-Indian-Japanese-Indonesian-Koreans do not
      consume the Chinese do not sell…….

      • takasar1

        i…don’t…get why you even bothered to reply. Did you read
        what I wrote? What does your piece of crap have anything to do with this?? I’ll play though, I have some spare time todayJ

        Anyways, the soft power is eroding as we speak (especially
        if Syria is bombed), when more and more people realize that the west (by which you almost exclusively mean America) is a) is in economic turmoil thus showing that capitalism isn’t a cure-for-all and b) the ‘west’ is just as morally corrupt than everyone else (human beings cant afford to take a moral high ground). As more and more people escape from poverty and get access to the internet, this quickly becomes obvious. When did atomic bombs become a proponent of soft power?? I’m also assuming that having the right to kill a bunch of college kids is a freedom??? If not please correct me. I don’t understand the ‘spirituality’ argument, so apparently no one else has a spiritual side? Besides, the dalai lama is chinese, not western. No one else is creative either? I am sure the ‘eastern’ world held the edge technology/science wise 400AD-1700AD. Guessing Toyota and Samsung must also be ‘western’. Yes…with 1.3 billion you do get a whole host of problems but you also have potential which if tapped gives you un-heralded power. True, but no one benefits if both sides have a hissy fit and stop trading, the ‘westerners’ have to move production and lose the world’s biggest market and the chinese haven’t yet rebalanced their economy. Who wins???
        No one

  • donscarletti

    Walking down the street in the Huangpu district or northern Xuhui district usually feels really nice, there are nice trees, attractive buildings, parks, respectable looking people, etc.

    Then it strikes me. Most cities in the west are not as nice, comfortable or attractive as Shanghai. Shanghai is really a very nice place. This is particularly strange, since Chinese cities are honestly pretty crap most of the time and the countryside is worse.

    Though what’s with all the ugly girls back then?

    • Refractions_of_Error

      “Though what’s with all the ugly girls back then?”

      Then?

      • Eurotrash

        LOL!

      • justanotherday

        Sir, you are the true winner of this comment section.

        • Refractions_of_Error

          Hahaha, thank you Sir but, Biggj, Mr. Wiener, Enlightened one had yet to comment at the time of my posting. As you can see, they have outdone me already. All in good humour though. We now have Nivea face whitener in mainland. It’s supposed to be an enlightening experience? No sarcasm intended to Enlightened One.

          • justanotherday

            I just saw you edit 9 seconds ago. Good to always double check your comment for spelling and grammar because that’s the first starting point for your opponents.

          • Refractions_of_Error

            Wow. Now that is efficiency. No, not bragging about myself, I meant your watching my back. Thank you! Typo Sir, typo :-) No opponents here, it is simply all good fun and humour.

          • carmouflagger

            lol

    • justanotherday

      Dont’ know where the fuck you’ve been living in but all my friends Shanghai says they would trade Canada for that shit hole.

      • donscarletti

        The only real compelling thing about Canada is you can get a doughnut, a coffee and a serve of chili for $3 at Tim Hortons. The forests and lakes are lovely but, the cities are largely the same shopping-mall and drive-through dystopias that you get south of the border.

        • Repatriated

          I dunno, man. Been back in the states for just a few months, and after 8 years in China, it seems like paradise!

          It’s clean, the skies are blue, people are generally considerate drivers, I’m not afraid to eat in a restaurant, I can drink the tap water, people are super friendly, for the price of a tiny 1-br apt in Shanghai…you can buy a huge house on it’s own pc of land with a 2 car garage…..

          I could go on and on….

          • Repatriated

            Florida beach vs. Hainan beach haha

          • cb4242

            Dammmnn!

          • Refractions_of_Error

            Are you referring to the Hainan image sir? In that case, I must correct your spelling. I think you intended to write ‘Dammmmned’?

          • cb4242

            Dude, relax, this is not an English class, you clearly understood the point I was making, you are taking it way out of context! It was supposed be taken as a verbal astonishment, nothing more. If you are that bored with your life, might I suggest you take on a hobby and leave the house every once in awhile and peruse other geeks such as yourself at the Comic con.

          • Refractions_of_Error

            Hey man chill, I wasnt getting anal about spelling. It was simply wordplay. ‘Dammmned’ as in damnation. A place, a people damned. It wouldn’t be correct to say ‘dammmned’ as means of exclamation in any case. It was a JOKE bro. I am not going to comment on the rest of your advice as this will get out of hand and I don’t want to bore the other members here with you and myself throwing personal insults at each other although, it is tempting to reply to that ‘geek’ comment. Let it go man. Don’t get too sensitive around here or you run the risk of becoming as guilty as those who cannot deal with a little humour.

          • cb4242

            Not being sensitive as much as “I thought” you were being condescending, but fine, I accept your statement as an apology. Just trying to not let my guard. But, yeah, it’s all good. I see where you are coming from.

          • Refractions_of_Error

            Thanks man, but it wasn’t an apology, it was clarification. You don’t appear to be a pain in the ass so I thought it would be better to try and reason and explain I had no intention to mock your posting whatsoever. I save all that for Eattot:-)

            But it is good that we can deal with this and move onto the current ‘news’ if we can ever call this stuff news.

            Have a good evening.

          • Terrik

            I miss Clearwater beach :(

          • Repatriated

            I’ll be over there today. Headed to St. Pete for work stuffs.

          • Terrik

            I’m from New Port Richey in Pasco. It was always my favorite beach to just go and hang out at. I just went to Jin Shan beach in Shanghai just a week or so ago and got so depressed.

          • The Enlightened One

            Seriously?

            It didn’t look like that when I went lol. It must of been drunken hobo night at the sea side bar.

            Although… it still wasn’t as clean as the Flordia beach pic.

          • wafflestomp

            That is after a Chinese tourist season/holiday.

          • Mighty曹

            That Chinese tourist couple must be shocked to see such a filthy beach.

          • Balefulness

            That pic just says it all. I’d wash dishes and sleep rough in florida, than be one of these retired westerners on hainan, That is no beach, please tell me all hainan is not like that?:(

          • justanotherday

            Even the Chinese in America?

          • Repatriated

            Even the Chinese in America, what? There are quite a few Chinese here in FL, but I seldom encounter them…well other than my wife…LOL. An ABC isn’t any different than any other American for mannerisms, etc. The “laowai” Chinese here are super shy, and much like most expats in China, seem to stick with their own little communities.

        • The Enlightened One

          You just don’t know the side of Canada that most people are too lazy or scared to see. Which involves getting out of the city and doing out-door activities.

          Rafting, Sledding, Snowboarding, Skiiing, Rock climbing, Hikiing, 4-Wheeling, Dirt Biking, Motocross, Horseback riding, Skating, Camping, Big Mountain Biking… and so on and so on are all amazing in Eastern and Western Canada.

          If you are a dude that likes stuff like gambling, clubbing and those kinds of things… Montreal, Vancouver and Toronoto are okay but they are no Las Vegas or Atlanta City. Got to do the right thing in the right area.

          • wafflestomp

            Except Alberta and the maratimes. Leave those shit holes alone!

          • justanotherday

            LOL!

          • If you like the cold I guess it is ok,but I am a T shirt guy, don’t “do” cold weather.

        • justanotherday

          The fuck you’ve been everyone knows only poor white gwai-lo’s and FOB Korean students go to Tim Horton.

    • mr.wiener

      Tastes have changed. I look at pictures of flappers back in the 1920s and think….erm..no.

      • TJDubs

        I bet girls were selected based on singing and/or dancing talent, and plastic surgery didn’t exist.

    • Germandude

      “Most of the cities in the west are not as nice, comfortable or attractive as Shanghai”?

      Say what? Where are you from? Or haven’t you seen many places in the west?

      Let’s just make a quick list of cities (bigger ones) that are nice, comfortable, attractive and/or historically interesting:

      Madrid, Barcelona, Paris, London, Antwerp, Amsterdam, Den Hague, Arnhem, Hamburg, Berlin, Cologne, Munich, Stuttgart, Vienna, Salzburg, Prague, Rome, Milano, Venice. That’s just the list of European cities I can come up with without actually thinking and sticking to the bigger ones.

      Then US: New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Sacramento, San Francisco
      Australia: Sydney, Cairns, Melbourne

      So, which city in my list is less nice, comfortable or attractive than Shanghai?

      And the real beauty (in my eyes) of cities can be found in the smaller cities/towns of the west. Check out the villages in the Alps (French side, Austrian side, Italian side, German side, it doesn’t matter).
      If your life quality is based upon shopping, international cuisine and accessability of many pretty young girls, well then I understand your definition of attractiveness of a city. Life quality? NOT

      • cb4242

        You forgot Los Angeles!

        • slob

          No he didn’t.

      • bprichard

        I’m curious about your high opinion of Sacramento. I’ve just never met anyone who felt that way!

        • Germandude

          Beautiful and clean. It has style considering architecture and city layout, don’t you think?

          • bprichard

            I haven’t spent enough time there to form much of an opinion, usually just stopped by for a bit on the way from San Francisco to Tahoe. A bit sleepy for my tastes, but I can agree with you on the city layout.

          • justanotherday

            but they still have the gook and negroe problem.

          • Refractions_of_Error

            What is a ‘negroe’ problem?

          • mr.wiener

            It’s a spelling problem apparently.

          • Refractions_of_Error

            Excellent!

          • mr.wiener

            It would explain ebonics.

          • Refractions_of_Error

            LMAO!

      • donscarletti

        Been to some of them, London, Paris, Melbourne, San Fransisco, Sydney, none I could call worse than shanghai, though certainly not better in every aspect (Paris is a little dirtier, San Fransisco lacks pretty girls almost entirely, London has worse weather, etc. Not categorically worse, but not categorically better either. This does not conflict with my point, I am not calling Shanghai “better than all western cities”, that is untrue. You deliberately selected the best cities in those countries, if you added Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow to London, does shanghai come out ahead of British standard? Yes. Add Los Angeles, Detroit, Jersey City to US, does Shanghai win? Yes. So this is my point, shanghai is better than an average western city.

        • Taoran

          “So this is my point, shanghai is better than an average western city.”

          Comparing the “best” city of one country to the “average” city of other countries hardly seems a fair fight. But I agree with what you said in the first part, it’s all about different aspects.

        • Germandude

          I didn’t deliberately select the best cities in the countries, but just as mentioned, wrote them down without really thinking about it, since I have been to all of them and thought they are comparable.

          Paris a little dirtier than Shanghai? Hm, let’s see. I agree that Paris has some “dark corners” and some pretty messed up areas. But so does Shanghai. Minhang, Songjiang, Jiading, Qingpu can hardly be called beautiful.

          If you compare the French Concession, the nicer areas of PuDong with Paris as a whole, then certainly Shanghai would appear better. Comparing both cities entirely…?

          Just out of curiosity: Why would you judge a city by its amount of pretty girls? (I have lived in San Francisco and wouldn’t remember the girls there being noticeably pretty or not. I certainly wouldn’t judge a city because of its girls).

          And regarding “You deliberately selected the best cities in those countries, if you added Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow to London, does shanghai come out ahead of British standard?”, Taoran already gave the answer. You are comparing the best Chinese city (Shanghai) to Manchester, Birmningham and Glasgow now?

          The Chinese counterparts of Manchester, Birmingham and Glasgow would rather be Tianjin, Ningbo and Lanzhou.

          Last but not least. The real beauty of European cities can be found in the population range of 50,000 or less inhabitants.

          • Balefulness

            Agreed. Manchester, has far more culture than Tianjin, ningbo and lanzhou together. Most are just hard faced dullards in those cities who would not know real culture or music if it came up and spat in their rice bowl or baijiu glass. Ningbo has a nice lake, that is about it.

        • Refractions_of_Error

          London is the capital but not the ‘best’ city. The weather? London has 4 seasons, all of them. Besides, clear rain is better than the putrid, polluted, humidity laden, incubator for imminent madness type of air you get in Shanghai EVERY season.

          You say San Fransisco lacks pretty girls. And Shanghai? The only attractive women in Shanghai are foreigners. Local girls? Eating with their mouth full, hacking, spitting, hairy armpits and yes, there too. They don’t have asses either.

          You want attractive Chinese girls? Hong Kong my friend. But they won’t give you time of day there.

          Paris is dirtier than where? Shanghai? I hope you did not mean that. Maybe dirtier than London but dirtier than Shanghai? Have you lost your mind?

          Oh and Melbourne. Won 3 years in a row for best city in the world. Please do not even THINK to compare Shanghai to Melbourne or any other major western city.

          Shanghai can’t compare to Hong Kong let alone the ones you mentioned.

          @taoran:disqus is right. Your whole premise is off balance. You appear to be a local from Shanghai who has either travelled or, are regurgitating sterotypes. Feel free to like Shanghai but careful in allocating a status which is purely an opinion.

          • Balefulness

            Eating with their mouth full, hacking, spitting, hairy armpits and yes, there too. They don’t have asses either.

            What is it with no damned ass (arse in the UK!), I am reminded of Al Pacino in heat, when I think of womans asses something comes out of me….not sure he could say the same in you know where.

        • Balefulness

          A city has a centre. I have yet to see a single city in you know where with one definable place to be called a centre. Urban sprawl is more like it.

      • justanotherday

        You forgot the 53rd state of America: Seoul.
        51st: Canada
        52nd: Israel
        53rd: South Korea

      • Balefulness

        I’ll give you all but madrid, too expensive, too dry and hot in summer and too cold in winter, and filled with pickpockets. Very overrated in my opinion. The capital should have remained in Cadiz (great place, equally hot, but at least near the sea). The rest I agree with.

    • Balefulness

      Shanghai is a bit too much of a big ugly sprawl with no definable centre for my liking but each to their own. It does look GOOD in these photos however, well before the economic boom of the 90s until present.

  • donkeykong

    Great photos and very informative commentary.
    Thanks Fauna !

  • Refractions_of_Error

    …present day..

    • justanotherday

      HOLEE FUK

    • David S.

      Is this demolition or construction?

      Bringing down a building like that, or building it on its side and then pulling it up sound equally insane and fun to me.

      • Repatriated

        It’s a brand new building that fell over in Minhang District, Shanghai just before construction was completed. Fortunately, only a single worker was killed.

        • Cv

          Wow……

        • Refractions_of_Error

          Oh well thank you for clearing that up for me, I was about to look for the link. Btw, rope. Always buy rope the length of the floor you are living on. Might save the day in SOME cases. Like new year, when fireworks are going off inside apartments.

          • Repatriated

            They were pretty quick to clean up the mess. So fast in fact, that they didn’t even salvage any of the 1,000’s of dollars in windows, etc. They brought the machines in and just tore it apart within a couple days.

            Apparently, the cause of the collapse was twofold. The contractor cut corners (big surprise there) on the foundation, and they were digging the underground garage at the same time while the water levels were too high.

            Glad it happened before people actually occupied the building.

          • Refractions_of_Error

            Ah well. Just as well I wasn’t apartment hunting at the time. Imagine that. Real estate agent showing me around?

            “As you can see Sir, the view is….the view is….getting closer?”

          • Refractions_of_Error

            I should have just edited but anyway. All we need is for Biggj to summon the officials on that image. Come on man, bring in the 3 stooges.

        • linette lee

          MOst of the building is still intact. Not crumbled. Wow.

      • Refractions_of_Error

        No Sir, the story is that is simply tripped over and fell. I will try and dig up the link.

      • Refractions_of_Error

        Sorry for not replying sooner but @repatriated:disqus has beat me to it. Not sure in which part of the world you live. But, living here in Mainland? Words cannot suffice. A visit will not suffice. You have to live here to have your psychological senses caressed. Or jarred.

    • The Enlightened One

      Hey, I designed and built that building!

      What?

      It is suppose to look like that.. it’s a new sideways living experiment we are doing… it’s hot shit right now!

    • Irvin

      Well……at least some of the glass didn’t break.

      • Refractions_of_Error

        It was plastic.

  • Refractions_of_Error

  • Phenomenal collection of pictures, but quite disappointed to see only 6 translated netizen comments…

  • someguy

    I agree with the netizen who claims the people of China who only hates the West will hold China back. If there’s one thing the Japanese of the Meiji era were right about is that the future lies with Europe and the United States, not with Asia. As long as China sees countries like North Korea as their allies instead of the US and Western Europe, China will not see her full potential.

    • iLL

      Do you really want China to be like America? I mean all the shit we talk about China, i wouldn’t want China to take the same route as Western countries. Its at a time where China has to take its own direction and thats what they are doing. What China has done in the last 20-30 years has been pretty amazing. Shit there are still tons of Chinese that go out and piss in public malls and sell dog meat, but still its miles ahead of where it was 20 years ago. China keeps North Korea in check because really, they know if they piss off China, they will stomp them out. Its sorta like America and Canada ;)

      • Irvin

        I agree, there’s already one america why would we want another one? that’ll be redundant and boring.

      • xmarkwe

        Nowhere in the world is like America.

        I (an Aussie) have only visited a dozen or so times, and it is the one place in the world that just feels alien to me … the people are great, maybe it is just the layouts of towns, the shops, the food, so many churchgoers. Hard to put a finger on it – perhaps I expect it to be more like Oz. Tis an interesting place when you get lost driving in a midwest town and find extremely poor suburbs you’d never dream were there. Truly there is a wealthy/poor divide that I’d not expected to see.

        I have traveled dozens and dozens of times to China, Vietnam, Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia …. and to me somehow it feels they are just as they should be. Plenty of poor people there, and a surprising number of very wealthy people in each of these places.

        China is fascinating – the hospitality is amazing, every meeting is preceded or followed by a huge meal, always too much great food… and drink if they can force it on you. Feeding visitors is their religion I think. Seeing the pace of development there over the last 15 years one can only wonder where they would be now if not for the communist hiatus.

        • Seems fairly evident that you bring erroneous preconceived expectations to the USA that you don’t bring to other countries. The USA is just as it is, just as China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia are.

        • Balefulness

          and drink if they can force it on you

          IF is the key word. Oftentimes, refusal is met with anger or indifference, even if you explain you do not drink politely.

          • xmarkwe

            I find that things are changing; ten years ago everyone at a table would drink and some were under great pressure to do so, but now I find it is very common for Chinese to refuse alcohol. (Part of that is the enforcement of drink driving laws).
            It is a bit harder for visitors to refuse, but I usually manage to regulate it to 1 or two downed glasses, then carefully sip the rest at each toast. They give up pressuring in the end.

          • Balefulness

            They will usually plot a way into getting you to drink. Like oh everyone else is so you should.

  • Q Ball

    A little bit of Western culture: Hong Kong and Shanghai.

    Alot of western culture: United States of Asia with a white majority and Native Asian in reservations with 90% alcoholism.

    • Repatriated

      Flushing, NY

      • The Enlightened One

        Haha, there’s like only one English sign. Even walking down the street in China you would see more English signs.

        “Hmmm… well honey, I guess we should… go to the Barber shop because that all I can damn well read!”

      • Balefulness

        Looks more like nathan road than nyc

    • POS

      A lot of interaction with the West= Korea, Japan, Taiwam developed prosperous progressive Asia with empathetic enlightened societies with confidence in their own culture. Isolation and hatred of the West= Maoist China, mass starvation, Chinese gulags, inferiority complex and insecurity about ones culture. Asians already put them selves in their own reservations, ever hear of North Korea? I guess actually acknowledging the reality of Asia doesn’t put wumaos in the wallet does it?

      • Whaddashack

        Man, you’re pathetic. Some of those countries were advanced even before they developed democracy. All of those countries would have done well regardless of democracy or Europeans. I’m afraid you’re talking about yourself and representing America in a negative light. No, I doubt Chinese are insecure with themselves. Even I look at you, and

        At least Blacks don’t rush into articles about Asians and shove their insecurities up our throats. You and you’re gay buddy, Percy are lower than Blacks. And that’s perhaps the worst insult of all. For you*(important before you pull a race card)

        • TJDubs

          Japan had a per-capita GDP (PPP) on par with the likes of Jamaica, South Africa, and Kazakhstan in 1960. South Korea was in the company of Nigeria, Cameroon, and Sudan as late as 1970. Taiwan was at a similar African level of development until the late 50s.

          You can’t say those three haven’t come a hell of a long way since they decided to play nice with the West. (Edit: They probably didn’t _decide_ anything, but were forced into it. Poor them.)

          • POS

            The boy is a racist Mao worshiper. I doesn’t actually know anything about East Asian politics or economics… don’t argue with a sheep :)

          • percymay

            Whaddashack = Ohnoes

          • Whaddashack

            I agree. All three have done very, very well and come along way. What I disagree with is that their success is the result of democracy. Rather, I think it was democracy that chose them as an example when the reality was a combination of culture, environmental factors, some genetics, luck and a good work ethic. Democracy and insecure Whites like associating with great people, that’s a given. Look at democratic India or Egypt for instance, and you’ll notice there’s barely a squawk from the neocons.

            Aside from America, Europeans played NO part in those nations ascendency. And even without, they would have risen into greatness anyway. Japan’s greatest partners are mainly Asian countries for instance from as far away as the Philippines.

            But here are a few facts, GDP and PPP is a western construct. Back then, as far as I remember and actually looking at old records of Japan, it was not a poor country by any means. Today, SA, Jamaica and Kazakhstan are doing quite well, certainly better than many parts of China. Which is why Kai’s argument is logical. You can’t run when you don’t even know how to walk. (Rolls eyes, guess who said that? Here’s a tip, not a Westerner, at least)

            If people were really genuine about democratic China, then you’d think they’d put much more effort into lifting those in poverty out like the evil CCP has done. You’d think they’d try to outdo the CCP but instead opt to market their overpriced, lousier products in. And this is coming from someone who’s not even a nationalist nor a pro-CCP supporter.

          • TJDubs

            You can say that SA, Jamaica and, Kazakhstan are doing “quite well” today, if you compare them to neighbors Mozambique, Haiti, and Uzbekistan. Regardless, they are middle-income, at best. The standard of living in SK, Taiwan and Japan is comfortably first-world, equal with some Western European countries.

            Care to guess how “Taiwan Province” would be today, had it been “liberated” in the 1950s? Any idea what was preventing this liberation?

            And how about if the American Imperialists had been ejected from South Korea around the same time, and the glorious Kim Dynasty had encompassed the entire peninsula?

            Protection from regimes intent on starving off millions of their own populations is not a small factor in aiding development.

            I won’t say that democracy was the key factor, though. Indeed, Taiwan and the ROK were dictatorships until the 80s, albeit pro-Western dictatorships.

          • Ohnoes

            In terms of GDP per capita, I think those 3 also beat out China. In today’s terms, those countries are doing very well in their own right. I’d argue in many ways, they are doing better than Western European countries. You made a very good case regarding America’s contribution that’s hard to argue but there will always be questions.

            Even by your example, Japan’s history and situation was different from Taiwan and SK. There was no threat from a starving “brother” neighbor, although if Taiwan was part of China then, it would look poor if you accounted for the whole country, but Taiwan itself would be well off. The Japanese left Taiwan relatively well constructed.

            SK is different yet again. I do agree being a part of the NK regime is terrible and it’s in the best interest for NK to be reunited with SK under a SK model. The Kim regime is undoubtedly brutal, and it was a pity that the CCP supported that regime for personal gain. However, in the 50s, NK was said to be more developed than China. Read it somewhere, can’t remember where. You’d need to consider the fact that sanctions have been put into affect on NK since the 50s and NK isn’t allowed to trade with the free world. Now imagine if sanctions were placed on your country, and your country was barred from technology. I think you’re nation would be left screwed even without brutal dictators in place. So once again, it’s not clear cut lack of democracy that NK is like this. I hope there’s an end to NK’s suffering.

            And that’s the main argument. Whether a democratic system was the result of those countries success or if it was those countries themselves that succeeded and made democracy look good. Note I earlier mentioned “Europeans” had no contribution. If those countries were so poor back in those days, then it’s obviously by their own hands that they managed to get out of the shit pile, since other democracies haven’t. Huge capital, aid and free money definitely wasn’t given to Taiwan or SK.

            Democratic India and Egypt are obviously not the same as Taiwan, Korea and Japan. And because GDP “per capita” is population dependent, of course China’s always going to have poor figures here.

        • POS

          Your the racist not me little man, with every ignorant statement you type that is more and more obvious. Take your inferiority complex and go back to the kids table, fenqings not wanted here.

          • Whaddashack

            As I said before and I say again, stop projecting, racist little man. Who shat on your cereal, you’re inability to come up with a coherent argument, lack of reason and failure to back up any claims with evidence has bared the ugly side of you. You now come across as some desecrated piece of black shit. Now take your hatred and insecurity elsewhere and stop fantasizing over fenqings. There are few here. Fenqings would have you hanging by your parmesan stinking guts in an actual debate.

          • Kai

            Frankly, both of you guys (@whaddashack:disqus @7416b1a8d805d7456b2ffc41bbaac236:disqus) have said some really obnoxiously and arguably racist things, and you guys are crossing the line into harrassing each other.

            We don’t care if you guys have a heated row arguing back and forth, we allow that, because it happens, but the comments you guys have been leaving each other have gotten out of hand. They’re no longer arguments, sincere attempts to understand each other, and are just repeated flames and name-calling.

            I know both of you guys feel like the innocent victim in this but you guys are both guilty and have demonstrated both a lack of respect for our comment policy and a willingness to circumvent our moderation. Not cool.

        • SOP

          Kai why do you let this racist post this crap? Apparently I’m ixnayed? So be it, but come on if you are gonna let this overt racist post what does that say about cS?

          • mr.wiener

            “Racism” does not get you booted from China smack, neither does personal attacks which you are both indulging in to lesser or greater extents. What will get you booted is being disruptive and constantly harassing people.
            The best thing to do if you do not like a poster’s comments is tell them so, and leave it at that, Not indulge in long drawn out exchanges which devolve into penis measuring and name calling.

          • biggj

            What about that chinkacide guy? I don’t think he was harassing people, he was just straight up racist. And isn’t constant personal attacks pretty much harassment? Even if both side are guilty? I don’t give a fuck or anything, just saying.

          • mr.wiener

            Re:Chinkicide,Disruptive behavior.
            Two idjits calling each other names does harassment make

          • Kai

            He was moderated. Any moderation can be circumvented by anyone motivated enough. It’s a never-ending battle for us. We pretty much NEVER ban someone unless it has been determined they’ve repeatedly violated our comment poicy.

            BTW, for your benefit, I’d be careful of continuing to casually use the term “chinaman”. You know it is considered offensive by many, so persisting in using it will eventually become a form of trolling (intentionally inflammatory). You’re otherwise a cool guy but we’ve talked about some of your commenting habits before. I know you think it’s all fun and games, casual shit-talking with friends and whatever, but cS has a really wide readership and a regular commenter repeatedly dropping words like “chinaman”, “chink”, “nigger”, etc. is no longer excusable as casual racism but being intentionally inflammatory.

            Today has been really discouraging in the amount of flagged comments and comments that are clearly comment policy violations. @7416b1a8d805d7456b2ffc41bbaac236:disqus I haven’t checked what mr.wiener has done but I’ve moderated both of you at roughly the same time as I’m trudging through the comments you guys have slung at each other. I’d much rather get back to the conversations I’ve been having with people, including you, but I’m forced to deal with this or else my inbox won’t shut up.

          • biggj

            Yeah I’ve been thinking about that, I’m going to stop using chinamen and switch to “yellows”,Calling Caucasians “whites” and African’s “blacks” seems cool so Asians “yellows” seems logical…. I’m just fucking with ya. hahah

    • POS

      I wonder how the weather is today on the Native Tibetan reservation? Hope they can free themselves of the colonialists who have invaded their lands :)

  • Shanghai_Slim

    Thank you for putting this together, Fauna!

    • Irvin

      Thank you Fauna for the translation.

  • justanotherday

    I actually like the Shanghai 100 years ago, it looks way better than the shit hole it is now. China can’t have anything good because of corrupt Chinese assholes oppressing poorer Chinese. Shanghai run by white people were way better and I bet it was like Thailand, young women running around with panties in their hands flashing their pussy at foreigner advertising their tight oriental pussy making vietnam look like the Vatican.

    • Robert Rou

      Free Shanghai? Wait until they figure out the real nickname that we have for them, which will be like never, since they have no clue who to trust, have never visited anything other than their hometown and a few other main cities, and know nothing but the language of force. This is the poor all the way up to the top.

      • justanotherday

        IT’S SHITHOLE BECAUSE OF THE PEOPLE THAT LIVE IN IT

        • mr.wiener

          And you raise your voice and repeat yourself slowly when they don’t understand you right?

          • The Enlightened One

            I hate those expats.

            “I WANNNNNNNNNNNNNNT AAAA CUPPPPPPPPPP OF WAAATERRRRRRRR!!”

            “DUDE, SHEEEEEEEEEE DOESSSSN’T SPEEEAAAAAK ENGLISSSSSSH! MORRRRRONNNN!”

            “Fu wu yuan, zhe ge sha zi xiang yao yi bei shui.”
            (Waitress, this idiot wants a cup of water.)

            Would be nice of they used a little bit of that rage and energy to learn a bit of the language instead of acting that.

          • You really do look like that serpentza guy, almost a doppelganger. The only thing that gets my GOAT here is Taxis, or the lack of ettiquette when it comes to hailing them and getting into them, no line or queue forms, and it is just to hell with you waiting, this taxi is mine!!! Pig ignorant ape like behaviour, and they deserve to be called out on their bullying primate behaviour.

        • Irvin

          My my, aren’t you a dramatic one.

    • Tee Kei

      wtf?

    • Irvin

      Have you any idea how many poorer chinese were alleviated by the government within these short 20years? While there certainly are corrupt elements in china, if they were all doing shit we would have raised up and kill those fuckers already.

      • justanotherday

        True, the achievement of CCP is certainly something to think about. They did lift a large body of the population out of poverty but is it necessarily made Chinese public and society happy? No, seeing other’s abusing power and money have certainly made everyone angry because they can’t do the same.

  • biggj

    The 3 officials have done it again.

    • Irvin

      you forgot to do the shadows

      • biggj

        Time travelers don’t cast shadows. lol

    • lonetrey / Dan

      rofl time machine car

    • Mighty曹

      The officials should be picking out a sheep.

    • Balefulness

      Brilliant work!

  • the ace of books

    Loving this collection – I like old/historical photos anyway, but especially of places I know or have been, since it’s such a shock to see how much they’ve changed. (You mean there’s a a time when Shanghai was a non-vertical city? good god, man, buildings oless than ten stories!)

    And actually, re: this: does anyone know any good places to find old/historical photos of other Chinese cities? Beijing, Xi’an, etc? There was once this 1923 map of Beijing I saw that was truly amazing – it was so empty, and still had a wall! – but that was in a store. Anyone with links or sites they know or like?

  • David S.

    Very nice pictures! Pretty good watermelons too. Nowadays you look at one the wrong way and it pops open.

    • Irvin

      That’s why we should always be nice to watermelons.

  • Germandude

    Love those pictures! Very interesting to see how things have changed. I can even recognize several of the locations.

  • Guest

    How things have changed

  • Probotector

    How things have changed…

  • linette lee

    Shanghai is so beautiful. Their architecture is so beautiful. I see traditional Chinese writing used all over the city. So pretty and so authentic. China why can’t you go back to traditional Chinese writing? It’s only right and real. So much history.

    • hess

      Scandinavia why can’t you go back to traditional Norse rune writing? It’s only right and real. So much history. Because the current system is superior to the old one.

      • Except, simplified Chinese is not really superior to traditional at all.

        And modern Scandinavian alphabets might not even necessarily be better than runes…

        • hess

          Ah yes, of course not. How would making a written language more efficient probably be better? Oh, and the modern scandinavian alphabet is defnitely better than runes.

          • linette lee

            Simplified Chinese is easier to write, but to me traditional chinese writing is much prettier.

            Looks like horse running in the wind.
            http://www.china-learn.info/Hanyu/EvolutionOfHanZi.png

            http://beyond-calligraphy.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/figure_2_-ryuu_dragon.jpg

            http://www.nganfineart.com/customart/200935ccanv_dragon_400x400.jpg

            traditional writings closer to ancient scripts
            http://www.ancientscripts.com/images/chinese_stages.gif

          • TJDubs

            The leftmost one in the first picture is the “real” traditional Chinese. It certainly looks quite horsey, but I have not seen a horse sit like that before.

          • Your error is in assuming that “simplified characters” are inherently and inevitably “more efficient”. Practically anyone who knows traditional characters will tell you that traditional characters are easier to remember because they maintain the legacy of etymological continuity, and that simplified characters often involve arbitrary transformations devoid of etymological meaningfulness. The literacy rate in Taiwan is higher than in the PRC, so the “literacy” argument is BS. It’s true that simplified characters are easier to write, but nowadays most text is digital rather than handwritten, so that argument, too, is irrelevant.

            I’ll take your word on the runes, but to compare the difference between two different phonetic alphabets to traditional vs. simplified Chinese characters is a completely false analogy.

          • hess

            1 billion mainlanders says simplified characters are easier than traditional ones. But, according to your etymological argument, the ancient scripts that linette posted would be the best characters to use, no?

          • 1 billion mainlanders have only ever learned simplified. English is easier for me than Esperanto––it might have something to do with the fact that I learned English and not Esperanto.

            The ancient scripts that linette posted are clearly easier to remember. But I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that you can’t build an entire functioning language on pictograms alone, which is why the language evolved as it did. Natural, usage-informed linguistic evolution is an entirely different matter from top-down, technocratic language reform, which was done at a time when practically everything being done in the PRC was totally f*cked up. “1 billion mainlanders” were certainly wrong when it came to economic reform and cultural revolution; I’m not sure why you’re so keen to trust their insights on linguistics.

          • hess

            “1 billion mainlanders” were certainly wrong when it came to economic reform and cultural revolution; I’m not sure why you’re so keen to trust their insights on linguistics.Then lets just trust the folks in Singapore, m’kay?

          • 1. Singapore’s literacy rate is lower than Taiwan’s.

            2. A large percentage of Singapore’s Chinese population aren’t even literate in Chinese characters. Their quality of spoken Mandarin is also poorer than either China or Taiwan.

            3. Singapore dived headfirst into simplified characters and the “Speak Mandarin Campaign” solely to integrate with PRC conventions. To cite Singapore as proof of the superiority of simplified characters is silly and ridiculous. If the PRC had continued using traditional characters, Singapore would have followed likewise.

            Honestly, it’s ridiculous that I’m having to defend what is fundamentally the general consensus.

          • hess

            How is it the general consensus? Because you said so? Because Taiwanese who learns traditional characters says so?

          • Is this a joke? You’ve offered absolutely ZERO evidence that simplified characters are superior to traditional characters. Not ONE statistic––not even so much as a single anecdotal story. Nothing! And yet you’re criticizing me for failing me to properly defend my stance even AFTER I thoroughly debunked your last-resort argument invoking Singapore.

            Considering you’re the one who originally made a point of claiming that simplified characters are indisputably superior to traditional characters, one would think that the burden of proof would fall on you, not me.

          • hess

            You’re the one who said “the general consensus”. And I’d say that theres more people who thinks that simplified characters are easier to read and write than traditional, simply because they use it on the mainland, and you know, theres a hell lot of people over there.

          • *facepalm*

            We went over this already. I’m talking about people who have been exposed to BOTH scripts––THEIR general consensus is that traditional characters are better. How do I know this is their general consensus? Because I’ve read their comments! It’s not like I have any personal agenda in extolling one set of characters over another; I ain’t Taiwanese or any sort of linguistic purist. I’m simply telling you what OTHERS have written.

            Your only argument so far has been that simplified characters are superior because more people use them. Wow. I don’t even know what to say…

          • hess

            Ok, well im just telling you what my friends says now: they can read most, but not all traditional characters. and they do find simplified easier.

          • Are your friends mainlanders who haven’t formally studied traditional characters? That would explain it…

            If your friends are Taiwanese or otherwise grew up studying traditional characters, then they’re a bizarre anomaly. Linette’s point of view is far more typical.

          • Robert Rou

            What’s wrong with promoting universal literacy over etymological accuracy? We’re talking about a generation of peasants, not a generation of nobility.

          • My entire point is that the distinction between traditional and simplified characters has nothing to do with literacy.

            I didn’t cite etymology for the sake of “accuracy”; I cited it for the fact that it HELPS learners to better understand the characters––which ASSISTS literacy rather than impedes it.

            A generation of peasants managed to learn traditional Chinese in Taiwan (and Hong Kong) just fine.

          • linette lee

            Are you chinese? You think it’s harder to learn traditional writing over simplified writing when you were a kid?

            How is this harder? You just add 心 to it.

            爱 simplified
            愛 traditional

          • SOP

            And with computers now days using pinyin to input its not like you are saving any more time using simplified because of the number of strokes… simplified are ugly, simple as that :P… just wastes my time having to learn both.

          • don mario

            exactly. its just a massive waste of time.

          • Refrigerator Jones

            Ministry of Education spokeswoman Xu Mei just announced that 400 million Chinese (almost a third of the country, 30%) can’t speak “mandarin” or “putonghua” . Well, at least I’m not the only one.

          • Balefulness

            There are people in some cities in Guangdong who do not even speak standard guang dong hua. Good luck with putonghua,the farther from the emperors seat!

          • Chairman Wow

            grow a penis

          • don mario

            i find the whole reading thing to be BUNK. how can one pictograph be easier to read than another?

            is the letter I easier to read than M because it is more simple?

            there really is no argument. if you have been brought up on simplified you will be used to it and find it easier than traditional. and likewise for traditional.

            i was not taught either but i have been exposed to both in equal amounts and i don’t find either of them simple, but i do prefer traditional as it just looks nicer. some of the adjustments made in the simplified characters just look ugly and do not make any sense.

            the only reasonable argument you could make is that simplified has less strokes, and will take less time to write and will be easier to learn. but even then its likely only going to be marginal and as has already been noted.. there is no evidence for it so far as the mainlands literacy rate is behind taiwan and HK.

          • Chris L

            The literacy rates of both Hong Kong and Taiwan, both traditional character users are higher than that of mainland China. This strongly suggests that economic and social development are stronger factors for overall literacy than the differences in complexities of a writing system. The official language of Mali is French but their literacy rate doesn’t reach 30%.

            Among Chinese readers, deciding whether traditional or simplified characters are easier to read relies on more anecdotal evidence. I myself can read both, but as I was educated in my younger years in mainland China, I have more difficulty with traditional characters. I learned traditional just by coming across them in TV, books, comics and of course, KTV lyrics. I imagine that Taiwanese and Hongkongers feel the reverse to me, and that is because they are educated during their life in traditional Chinese.

            Proclaiming that simplified is easier just because “theres a hell lot of people” in the mainland is a ridiculous argument. You’d be better off finding percentage statistics on how well mainlanders read traditional, and vice versa with Taiwanese and HKers reading simplified.

          • don mario

            they think it is easier because they use it?

            thats no argument, its what they have been brought up on and all they know, of course they will find it easier than something they havent been taught.

          • Justin

            In Culture and Customs of China, Richard Gunde found that literacy rates increased steadily since the adoption of simplified characters at a rate greater than any of the preceding years under KMT and Manchurian rule. Part of this was due to educational reforms, but the contribution of the simplified system can’t be ignored.

            I find this evidence to be a lot more scientific and empirical than saying “Taiwan’s literacy rate is higher”, an argument that would never make it into any reputable scientific journal.

          • linette lee

            Do you know that the mainland Chinese can not read traditional chinese writing? They have trouble reading it. Only the people in Taiwan and Hong kong use all traditional chinese writing and their population are shrinking because they are not reproducing fast enough. The mainland Chinese are moving in. In another 80 to 100 years traditional chinese writing will be nothing but memory.

          • hess

            Well, can you read simplified Chinese?

          • linette lee

            not all. For some I still need google translation to translate the simplified chinese words into traditional chinese words.

            I can read all the chinese words in these old shanghai photos. They are all written in traditional chinese writing.

            I don’t agree that it’s harder for children to learn traditional writing than simplified writing. How did Taiwan and hong kong children learned? They learned it. Everything is the same like grammar or sentence structure except in simplified chinese words there are less strokes so you can write it faster.
            I think it is a china communist party conspiracy or something that they burned books, killed scholars, and destroy traditional chinese writing. lol.

          • jixiang

            So the fact that Taiwanese and Hong Kong children learn the traditional characters means that they are not harder to learn? That is hardly logical.

            The traditional characters do take longer to learn, as research has shown. They are also so absurdly complicated that when you see a website written in traditional characters, you have to make the writing bigger to be able to distinguish the strokes.

            I think simplifying the Chinese writing system, without touching the basic system, was a great idea. The Japanese have done the same thing by the way.

            In Taiwan using the traditional characters has become a matter of identity, which is why they go to the effort of really using them. They also have a small population all of which goes to school until the end of high school. It’s not practical to use such a complicated system in the Mainland, it would probably only encourage Mainlanders to use pinyin and forget about the characters all together.

          • don mario

            “I think simplifying the Chinese writing system, without touching the basic system, was a great idea. ”

            but that isn’t exactly what they did. i agree, some characters are overly complicated and look ridiculous. if all they did was made some appealing versions of these overly complicated characters i don’t think people would have a problem with it. but they basically changed a lot of characters that are hardly any simpler and just look uglier. for example, the character for fish. in simplified it has a line, in traditional it is 4 small dashes. apart from that, no change. it isnt any easier to read, it just looks worse.

          • linette lee

            There is no such thing as too hard to learn your native language. A native language is the primary language a child use to communicate with other people since his first word. Is French too hard to learn as a primary language for a french child? Is Russian too hard to learn as the primary language for a russian child? Is traditional chinese writing too hard to learn for a chinese kid as the primary chinese writing? Only children with learning disability have trouble learning their first language. So it’s not harder for children to learn traditional writing as their primary instead of simplified. And you don’t forget traditional and remember simplified characters better because they have less strokes. If you don’t remember how to write that chinese word you will not remember regardless traditional or simplified.

            And simplified characters not all necessary have less strokes. Some characters have almost the same number of strokes but they just look very different. You know in a Chinese word a line across instead of downward can turn it into another word. So I can’t read all simplified characters like you can’t read all traditional characters.

          • jixiang

            Yes, there is such a thing with Chinese. Even with simplified characters, Chinese children take much longer to learn to read and write then any other children in the world (then again, British children take longer than any other European children because of their spelling system). God knows how long they must take in Taiwan.

            Couldn’t all that time be better spent learning other stuff? Sure, you can probably learn any alphabet if you really try hard enough, but this comes at a cost of time and energy.

            Plus, what about foreigners who move to China as adults, and have to learn the language? As Chinese societies start becoming more international, this will also be a problem. I doubt the traditional characters are even learnable by most adults.

          • linette lee

            We are comparing traditional to simplified, and not Chinese to English or Spanish. We are not comparing two different languages that’s completely different. Some language takes more time to learn. Chinese takes more time to learn than English so of course it takes Chinese kids more time.

            We are talking about the amount of time takes to learn traditional or simplified is really not that much different same thing just a bit less strokes. If you are concern about how learnable is the chinese language then maybe get rid of simplified and traditional characters altogether and just use pinyin or create a writing system like English where you can spell a word out with just 26 alphabets. But we don’t want that.

            It takes the same amount of time to learn to write愛 or 爱.

          • Alejandro

            White that lives in China (too late here) well, I can read both systems. Traditional Chinese is easier.

          • Refrigerator Jones

            You’re making perfect sense. What’s really confusing me is the fact that people are arguing with you on this. What defines a language that is “too difficult to learn”? This has been a really bizarre debate (thread)

          • Repatriated

            According to my wife, MOST mainland Chinese can read traditional Chinese characters…..

          • linette lee

            Really? Let’s ask Fauna. Because the chinese from China I know alway ask me what word is that when it’s traditional writing on the hk or taiwan magazines. Do they teach traditional writing in China school?

          • Repatriated

            Well, ask Fauna then…although I’m curious as to what would make her the end-all expert on the subject.

            I’ve personally been sitting in a room with both my wife and step-daughter (13) watching an English language movie that only had traditional character subtitles, and they both followed along just fine.

          • linette lee

            Your wife can read every single traditional chinese words compare to simplified chinese words? Ask her if she can make out all words in traditional writing.

            全國關注的山西臨汾市六歲男童小斌斌慘被挖去雙眼一案,官方傳媒引述警方消息指,經連日調查已有重要發現,將加快偵破該案。正為小斌斌進行治療的醫院表示,小斌斌目前傷口愈合良好,預計三個月後可安裝義眼。院方得知小斌斌一家經濟有困難,已為他們墊付住院費,讓他能好好養病。

            慘劇發生後,郭家遭遇令人惋惜,不但為照顧小斌斌疲於奔命,小斌斌的伯娘日前投井自殺更是雙重打擊。據悉,郭家過往屢次遭逢不幸,多年前小斌斌的祖母懷着身孕上山摘野桃時,失足跌到溝內跌死,祖父亦長年癱瘓在床。小斌斌的另一名姐姐,於四歲時墮井身亡,他的嬸嬸早前亦因交通意外成為植物人。

            本港眼科醫生林順潮表示,其醫療團隊於山西了解小斌斌的病情後,發現其右邊眼腔骨破裂,幸目前並無感染,可以考慮植入義眼。

            善長紛紛捐款太陽報愛心基金

            小斌斌事件廣受香港市民關注,太陽報愛心基金與東方日報慈善基金為小斌斌設立捐款專戶後,連日來善款如雪花飛至,有關善款將用於小斌斌日後的治療及教育開支。

            至於查詢小斌斌情況的來電亦未有間斷,更有善長寄來心意卡,希望透過基金向小斌斌送上祝福,冀他能夠「忘記過去、展望將來」。

          • a Chinese

            Sure she will understand. frankly there are so many similarities between the two systems in eyes of Chinese. For me, I didn’t learn Traditional Chinese and it’s hard for me to write some complicated traditional characters but I can read them absolutely correctly, this is true for every grownup Chinese.

          • Gordon Gogodancer

            Actually that’s also my opinion…most of the Chinese i know can read them unless they are quite ancient. They just don’t write them because they are not use to it.

          • linette lee

            It could be because these chinese grew up reading HK and Taiwan magazines and watching HK and taiwan dramas and films. They have subtitles in traditional chinese writing.
            But in China school they don’t teach traditional chinese characters.
            Most China chinese I know they all know most of the hk celebrities so that is telling me they watch hk programs and movies and listen to hk singers. The lyrics are in traditional chinese writing in those hk and taiwan songs.

          • Gordon Gogodancer

            Well at least i won’t have studied all those simplified characters for nothing :p

          • Robert Rou

            It’s not really accurate to say the literacy argument is BS if the control groups aren’t the same. Comparing literacy rate of Taiwan to literacy rate of PRC… now that is a faulty analogy.

          • The point is that the argument that traditional characters significantly impede literacy is patently false. It does not matter that the ROC is politically or economically different from the PRC. What matters is that literacy is not a problem in the ROC, and therefore traditional characters do not pose an obstacle to literacy.

          • Robert Rou

            Literacy is not a problem in ROC ==> Literacy will not be a problem in PRC. What kind of elementary logic is this?

            I’m more inclined to trust Mao, a leader of troops and men in several wars, to understand his people than some ivory tower scholar who spends his day writing caligraphy scripts.

          • Wow. I guess you’re also inclined to trust Mao on the Cultural Revolution and the Great Leap Forward. *facepalm*

            FYI, Mao originally wanted to do away with Chinese characters completely. So if you’re more inclined to trust Mao, then you should prefer a completely romanized system, rather than simplified Chinese characters, which were only meant to be a transitional phase to completely eradicating Chinese characters in favor of Hanyu Pinyin.

          • Robert Rou

            CKS lost China. Get over it. And better yet, why you’d place your trust that witch Madame Chiang Kai Shek having one night stands with politicians the world over, and the way she tried to whore out China is beyond me. The fact that the CCP had to explain it away as a thirst for power to save her face is just generosity far more than she deserved.

          • What does any of that have to do with anything I said?

          • Robert Rou

            “Wow. I guess you’re also inclined to trust Mao on the Cultural Revolution and the Great Leap Forward.”

            Your words, not mine.

          • Yeah, that was directly in response to this:

            “I’m more inclined to trust Mao, a leader of troops and men in several wars, to understand his people”

            Your opinions are clearly being influenced by peripheral political concerns that have absolutely NOTHING to do with linguistics. I’m talking about written language and you’re talking about Chairman Mao understanding the common people.

          • Robert Rou

            Linguistics doesn’t live in a vacuum. Languages and writing systems serve a practical purpose.

          • What the hell does that have to do with Mao Zedong?

            You’re not making any comments that have anything to do with practicality. You’re just making strawman arguments glorifying Mao and denouncing intellectualism.

          • Robert Rou

            You: “Your opinions are clearly being influenced by peripheral political concerns that have absolutely NOTHING to do with linguistics.”

            Me: “Linguistics doesn’t live in a vacuum. Languages and writing systems serve a practical purpose.”

            In other words, linguistics is not island in and of itself. Language serves a definitive purpose. These things are not “peripheral political concerns”. Language is geared towards an audience, and the audience for that simplified Chinese language was the common man.

          • You’re still not getting it. Stop for 10 seconds and actually read what I’m writing: My point is that simplified characters are not necessarily any better for “the common man”. There is absolutely ZERO evidence to prove that they are, and that has been my entire point from the very beginning, since I first took exception to hess’s comment taking exception to linette’s on the basis that “simplified” characters are objectively superior to traditional characters. So far, no one has posted even a single fact corroborating this claim. If you’d like to post one, I eagerly await reading it.

          • Refrigerator Jones

            I’ve got to go to K-Mart. Underwear from K-Mart.

          • don mario

            the only argument you can make for simplified is that it takes less strokes. and if you compare the characters they are hardly simple. they are still very complicated for the most part. traditional looks way nicer and has the actual meaning intact.

          • POS

            When it comes to fenqing “logic” 罗技=垃圾, he is amazing in his own mind though lol

          • Refrigerator Jones

            Is this a debate or the script to Rain Man 2? :)

          • linette lee

            robert rou, you don’t understand what’s going on. Even some of the educated china chinese are concerned with this.
            They talk about it in the blog when the mainland chinese exchange opinion with the hongkongese.

            ““Over half of the population in China does not read traditional Chinese characters. Sigh. The Huaxia civilisation is dead,” Wong said in his message posted early this week. (Huaxia refers to Chinese civilisation in historical literature.)

            Some bloggers who agreed with Wong pointed out that traditional characters were important as they were used to write most of China’s ancient cultural classics.”

          • don mario

            if half of the chinese population cannot read historical literature and ancient cultural classics… simplified has done the job that was intended of it.

          • Mighty曹

            Bluntly put but true.

          • Robert Rou

            Yep, consider it a public service announcement for those that care about “linguistics”.

          • POS

            Yea Mao the nihilistic pedophile is much better than Madame Chiang, well better at getting 10s of millions of Chines killed I mean. An incompetent idol for an incompetent brainwashed fenqing, makes sense to me.
            http://www.spectator.co.uk/features/7342808/me-and-maos-girl/

          • don mario

            way to defend your crappy ‘simplified’ characters. by going off on a tangent about mao, ivory towers and chiangs wife.. not that people were taking you seriously in the first place but did you seriously think that would help your case?

          • POS

            That Khan-Rou is more inclined to trust a pedophile who spread STDs to his many victims not to mention the small fact that he is responsible for more deaths than any other dictator in human history makes sense. And it speaks volumes about who Robert Rou is.

            http://www.nytimes.com/1994/10/02/world/the-tyrant-mao-as-told-by-his-doctor.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm

          • don mario

            straight up mong.

          • Justin

            How does the literacy rate in Taiwan being higher prove your point at all? You can’t think of any other factors that might affect literacy besides the writing system? Hello? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller? How bout economic development? China has only been an open economy for what? 30 years? and still a large proportion of the population are subsistence farmers. Go back to school and learn to make an argument based on logic.

          • Balefulness

            Bueller? Bueller?

            My favourite fill-um ever. Rooney! ROONEY! Bet the peado actor who played the headmaster never knew a man united football player would also have his surname.

          • donscarletti

            Practically everyone finds the system they are familiar with inherently better and can think of plenty of reasons to justify it. Traditional characters have their stories, simplified characters have their shapes. It was thought in the 1950s that peasants and other illiterate people could quickly recognise the characters if they were clearer and simpler, without the need for a teacher giving stories. No matter if it was because of or despite the simplified characters, the peasants did in fact learn to read and write during the Great Leap Forward, so I will give them some credit.

          • linette lee

            Simplified characters increase literacy in peasants? I don’t buy that. Sorry.

            They are equally hard but they look different. Is not that much different just a bit less strokes but enough to confuse me not able to read all simplified words.

            traditional:
            全國關注的山西臨汾市六歲男童小斌斌慘被挖去雙眼一案,官方傳媒引述警方消息指,經連日調查已有重要發現,將加快偵破該案。正為小斌斌進行治療的醫院表示,小斌斌目前傷口愈合良好,預計三個月後可安裝義眼。

            simplified:
            全国关注的山西临汾市六岁男童小斌斌惨被挖去双眼一案,官方传媒引述警方消息指,经连日调查已有重要发现,将加快侦破该案。正为小斌斌进行治疗的医院表示,小斌斌目前伤口愈合良好,预计三个月后可安装义眼。

          • jixiang

            Well now, let’s look at the difference between 义 and 義. Characters like that needed to be simplified. You can’t have a modern society using such absurdly complicated letters in daily life.

      • don mario

        its not superior at all, not to mention its currently in use.

    • Whaddashack

      Agreed with everything but the last.

    • Justin

      Because simplified Chinese enabled vast amounts of illiterate people to become literate. It’s probably the single greatest contribution the CPC has made to Chinese society.

  • Gordon Gogodancer

    Great photos

  • Zebadee

    To answer the question posed in the above post: “Why are the developed/flourishing places all places that have “fell into enemy hands/been captured” before?”, I would suggest watching that scene from Monty Python’s Life of Brian; “What have the Romans done for us?”

    • Irvin

      It seems like basic logic, if you’re an invader, you would wanna invade a flourishing city too. There is no point capturing a desert.

      • biggj

        Unless there are resources there.

        • Irvin

          Of which will make it flourishing.

    • mr.wiener

      Shanghai was a sleepy fishing village before the foreigners got there, They were people who wanted even less regulation than could be found for foreign businesses than Hong Kong had.
      The “Shanghainese” are people who moved there from every where else in China, poor, landless, dispossessed looking for a new start, and the opportunity to learn form the foreigners and exploit their own.

      • The Enlightened One

        Yup, right is right.

        Kind of ironic that today Shanghairen are known to heavily dislike wai di ren. Is it because of self loathing or just the hating the thought of others coming in and then having to share has been passed on through the generations?

        • Balefulness

          Very morisette indeed, just a little bit, dontcha think? Most of them are indeed anhui, jiangsu ren

  • mr.wiener

    When I see old photos ,like that one of that bar owner and his wife I find myself wondering what became of them?

    • Irvin

      They were probably hunted down like witches…….and they looked so happy, the wife at least.

    • lonetrey / Dan

      Same here. I bet they had an interesting life after that photo was taken.

      • biggj

        Shot by the Japanese 2 days after. lol

        • mr.wiener

          More likely the communists. [1949]

          • biggj

            Shit, never noticed the date. Still Japs did it. The communist said so. I believe them. lol

    • vincent_t

      He moved to Paradise Falls before the communist invaded.

    • TJDubs

      In that same picture, I noticed a sign behind the bar: “Cash Only”.

      What other methods of payment were available in those days? I guess you could buy on credit from some stores?

      • LeftVentricle

        Cheques

        • TJDubs

          The thought crossed my mind, but it seemed strange to pay that way at a bar. I suppose cheques were not as gauche in those days.

    • Mighty曹

      He was forced to leave China without her and she was mostly likely publicly humiliated.

    • Bear

      Hopefully she was shot as a foreign conspirator against Chinese independence from western colonialism.

  • POS

    Chinese civilization will only flourish under democracy.

    • Irvin

      That statement is apparently not true evidently with china now being the 2nd largest economy all flourished under an autocratic rule.

      • POS

        I would hardly call it a flourishing society outside of the economic sphere, by all other measurements its a hollow shell of a society that nobody really wants to emualate. Chinese themselve even copy whole Western cities and elements of Western society, but they are missing the key ingredient that makes the West great; freedom.

        • biggj

          What you mean? American freedom is made in china. ahah I have a whole box of that shit.

          • linette lee

            hahhahaa……lol……You are so crazy. I love this one. :)

          • Mighty曹

            Bootlegged American Freedom!

          • Refractions_of_Error

            Excellent!

          • POS

            山寨自由?

        • Status Quo

          Chinese themselves even copy whole Western cities (Shanghai) and worst elements of Western society (free capitalism, slave labor), but they are missing the key ingredient that makes the West great; freedom, creativity, spirituality and ECSTASY.

          • POS

            I don’t know if X is gonna help Chinese lol, maybe their dancing skills but I’m not one to talk in that department.

          • jixiang

            They can do without the spirituality, please.

          • Status Quo

            Power (Hollywood, military industrial complex), freedom (individuality), spirituality (Vatican, White supremacy, Dalai Lama), creativity (science) and ecstasy (cocaine).

      • Whaddashack

        Indeed. They are doing very well.

    • Kai

      One of the problems with such a pithy argument is that none of the other oft-cited democratic Asian societies flourished under democracy. Any sort of meaningful democracy only came after were flourishing under arguably autocratic governments. Another tired counterargument is the juxtaposition with “democratic” India.

      Anyone who is serious about wanting democracy for China has to overcome these counterarguments, especially if you want the people to be the ones to institute democracy instead of waiting for it to be granted to them as some sort of evolving experiment like it was in the US.

      • POS

        Well holding up India which is most definitely not a Northeast Asian cultural entity is like saying Egypt and the MIddle East can’t handle democracy so neither can China. Culturally Egypt is as far from China as it is from the USA. And culture is the primary determinant of success or failure in the world today and historically.

        While most developed East Asian nations did spend some time under authoritarian governance after their initial foundation it was only once they became democracies that they became the truly holistic flourishing societies we see today. You seem to be saying that they are not flourishing today but last I checked they all have magnitudes higher per capita GDP than China. And economics alone is a rather narrow prism through which to judges flourishing; culture, society, education, empathy within society, and care for the environment are all equally important areas where Japan, Taiwan, and Korea completely blow China out of the water on all these fronts.

        I don’t think it is the pro-democracy people who need to overcome arguments about East Asia’s compatibility with democracy, that case is already established fact as Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and Thailand are testament to. Of course China needs to find democracy in its own way, but its current model is a failure on many many fronts relative to the East Asian nations which are on the democratic path. The onus is on the CCP apologists to rationalize and articulate who a one party dictatorship better serves China and for how long.

        • percymay

          “It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.”

          Sir Winston Churchill

          • POS

            Most definitely true. China is on the path of 1930s Japan, its dictatorship not only negatively affect Chinese but all people. It all of our business.

          • percymay

            The parents of this generation experienced fascism from the ultra-left during the Cultural Revolution.

            Their children generation will experience fascism from the ultra-right.

            China will become a 1930s Japan. It will also have the same result.

            This is why the “Pivot to Asia” and the “Air-Sea Battle Plan” have the breakup of China as its goal.

          • percymay

            This article may give you a timeline on the economic crisis to hit China and why China will do a “1930s Japan.”

            Rebalancing and long term growth
            Posted by Michael Pettis

            http://blog.mpettis.com/2013/09/rebalancing-and-long-term-growth/

        • Kai

          We both know India is commonly compared to China in discussions like these and I trust we both know why (population and poverty levels for example). I wasn’t suggesting it was a Northeast Asian cultural entity.

          You cite culture as a determining factor but that’s incredibly vague. How do you define culture in this context? Is it mutable or not? What’s the difference in culture between Taiwan, Korea, Japan, and China for example? What part of “their” culture paved the way for their modern and historical successes and failures?

          If we don’t define it, we’re just trotting it out hoping other people will nod their heads by filling in the blank with whatever half-baked notion they have. How can we make this “culture” explanation something more objective that can be understood and used as a premise in a legit discussion?

          Moving on, putting aisde that “truly holistic flourishing societies” is somewhat subjective, this suffers from the chicken and egg problem. It begs the question, is democracy the cause for success (development, “flourishing”) or the result of success? Is democracy prescribed to advance a society or because the society has reached a level of advancement?

          I am not saying East Asian countries are not flourishing today. At all. Not sure where you interpreted that.

          Yes, Japan, Taiwan, and Korea is far more developed than China in many regards, but the question here is whether these are due to democracy itself or due to a democracy achieved after sufficient economic development. China is definitely behind the curve, but as the popular argument goes, doesn’t that mean China thus needs to go through that authoritarian step even more if they hope to follow in the footsteps of Japan, Taiwan, and Korea? Maybe we can damn China for being late, being slow (though it has plenty of things to cite in mitigation of how much damning it deserves), but do we damn it for charting a similar course as countries we now consider proven successes?

          I’m not arguing about whether or not East Asia is compatible with democracy. I’m not sure why you think that’s what I was saying. I am saying if you want to speed up the adoption of democracy in China, you need to persuade the people that the country is ready for it, as was the case in Japan, Taiwan, and Korea.

          The CCP has people who simply pay lip service to working towards democracy, but it also has people who genuinely believe it. They DO articulate why their rule right now is better for China than attempting immediate democracy. They do point to their successes so far in reducing poverty in China, increasing literacy, whatever. They think more remains to be done before democracy can be instituted with stability. They cite how much less populous and how much more developed Taiwan, Korea, Japan were before they adopted democracy. They cite how India hasn’t been as successful as China in many very important measures. Yeah, China has to find it’s own way, but those in China who are ready for democracy need to persuade those who aren’t sure. Since you support democracy for China, maybe you can lend a hand in how they can do that?

          I’ll be happy to play devil’s advocate against you as a pro-democracy representative. The very nature of democracy is for the people to debate the pros and cons, the suitability and timeliness of anything to be adopted and applied to all. The onus is on everyone who wants to see their way adoped and achieved. Democracy slacktivism is an insult to democracy itself.

          • POS

            Culture certainly has both tangible and intangible aspects that can be difficult to tease out but are quite evident when you travel between the different states in the region. Northeast Asian countries seems to generally share a strong emphasis on family units, a reverence for education and academic achievement, and a work ethic akin to the Calvanist work ethic in the West that places significant emphasis on enhancing ones and ones family and county’s material wealth. But what it lacks is almost as important; no rigid superstitious religions (Maoism falls into this category) that dominate all aspects of life and reward piety over self development, critical thinking, and economic progress.

            But your key question seems to be seems to be centered around when (what I gathered from what you wrote you see democracy as a “when” not an “if”) a country is ready to transition. There is no simple answer to that question, some economists will say when a country reaches a certain level of per captia GDP they will tend to transform into democratic societies. Political scientists may point to historical waves of democratization such as what occurred in the late 80s early 90s when the Soviet Union fell and the CCP was only able to resist the trend by massacring its citizens in the streets with PLA units from outside Beijing.

            But I am not someone who subscribes to the theory that the best foundational development occurs under authoritarian tutelage. Sure you can site South Korea and Taiwan, just as I can point to North Korea, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Burma as opposing case studies. Yet Japan rose faster than any of them despite being the most decimated by WWII. Sure the LDP ruled most of that time but it was still a relatively open society with elections long before Taiwan or Korea transformed, yet it was the most (and remains) technologically advanced. For basic development both models can bring results, it is when we begin to look at a knowledge economy that the advantage of democracy and liberalism becomes glaringly apparent.

            Democracy is a cold shower, and it is natural that even the progressive elements within the CCP would want to dither and over analyze if China is “ready”. With that attitude nothing will ever happen. If you ask me if Americans with all the disinformation and ideological partisanship in our public sphere are “ready” for democracy I’d almost be tempted to say no. We are never “ready” for democracy, our human societies are flawed and always will be. But even if we aren’t “ready” it is still better to make the transformation, regardless of your stage of economic development. otherwise 50 years will pass and you will find yourself an old man still living in a dictatorship asking why you didn’t leave a better country for your children and grandchildren.

            Now the economic rationale is probably the most important aspect but perhaps another time as I’ve rambled on long enough in this response.

          • Kai

            Japan was decimated by the war but it had already achieved a high level of modernization and development. They lost “things” but not the underpinning “thinking” that produced those “things”. The reason we can consider Japan as having charted a course similar to Korea and Taiwan is because it was arguably an authoritarian government prior to the War that guided the nation in its development.

            Japan rose faster after the war because it already had the ideological foundation AND history of industrialization. They “recovered” not “rose”. After they got back to where they were, then you can say they “rose”. Know what I mean? Japan was much further ahead of both Korea and Taiwan at the time. They had much more to build on compared to the two. It’s small wonder why they advanced faster than Taiwan or Korea. They had much less “feeling out the stones in the river” than the other two. All three had the benefit of US aid, but only Japan had a solid pre-existing history of modernization and industrial development. That’s how they became an imperialist in the first place. They opened up, learned, and adapted faster than complacent China.

            Historically, it’s been hard to reach a “knowledge economy” without first going through industrialization, a manufacturing economy, and a services economy. Even now, the notion of a “knowledge economy” is kinda murky, and possible a notion designed by Westerners to comfort themselves and their economic anxiety resulting from the migration of manufacturing jobs. Democracy and liberalism certainly has advantages but it also has disadvantages. The question is if the advantages outweigh the disadvantages for China’s current situation, isn’t it?

            In your fourth paragraph, you’ve established that you believe every country should adopt democracy regardless of its stage of economic development. Your argument for this seems to be the fear of the country never becoming one. This isn’t a strange position to have but the question to this is: How do you persuade the person who fears not having enough food to eat now than not having one vote amongst a billion? Having political rights is indeed desirable, and many people would acknowledge that if put to the question, but what about its relative priority and desirability based on their current situation? This is a Maslow’s hiearchy situation. What if people are more preoccupied with earning enough money to send their kid to school than informing themselves and participating in community politics or national politics?

            An autocracy isn’t just a form of government or a tyranny of the powerful, it is inherently also the byproduct of division of labor, the idea that a member of the community has only so much time, attention, and interest available that they’ll allow others to do things that aren’t a priority to them.

            How do we persuade people to feel democracy is a priority and take on the responsibility of demanding it when they may have so many other things they care more about? If we want China to make the transformation now regardless of its stage of economic development, this is the central question.

          • Whaddashack

            Thanks Kai. Well argued facts that can’t be rebutted by the likes of POS and the very bitter Percymay.

            What’s even funnier is the feigned concern these China bashers have for China. Not a shilling was ever donated to the very poor in China, ever and even if China became an impoverished democracy, they’d still not donate. India is in fact a very good example. But you can’t expect much, these people even refuse to help the very poorest and neediest in their own countries but prefer to remain armchair warriors and patriots at home.

            Japan, Taiwan, Korea, et al are often mentioned but what we have to know is that all those countries are doing very well, with no help from Europe. The only reason China bashers/White people bring them up is due to jealousy of those nations successes. Have you ever read how some White people pretend to be Japanese and claim “racial” relationships with them. Hilarious considering they are quick to emphasize how their true relatives, Arabs, Iraqis and Indians are non-White.

            All this comes down to one very good point, those countries are used as comparisons and favored because many have exceeded the capabilities of European nations and their proximity/similarity with the Chinese. An argument that democracy brought about their greatness is ridiculous as it’s simple culture, upbringing, genetics and outside factors at work. Not democracy. With or without democracy, these countries will stand and rise. With or without the slobbering China bashers these countries will continue to flourish. And so will China. Kai, is there a way I can chat to you privately? Thanks.

          • POS

            Wow did the CIA dose you up with crack cocaine because that rant was incomprehensible lol. Your inferiority complex really has made you a sad shell of a man.

          • Whaddashack

            What are you talking about? CIA? Hehehe, the hell? It’s not that serious, although to someone as insecure, frustrated and with as much inferiority complex as you, it certainly is. Your gay lovermanboob Percygay says I’m attacking White men, boohoohoo. Hahaha, you’re not too different.

            Incomprehensible? Only to you.

            By the way, I’m not the one insecure enough to talk about another country without knowing the facts. Nor am I making up lies that ethnic minorities from another country are fleeing me own. I’m more of a man than you’ll ever be. Now go back to having your hairy cock sucked by Percygay :)

          • SOP

            Look at what you wrote, you don’t even deserve a response except to say you are a petty racist with an inferiority complex. Take your insecurities elsewhere.

          • POS

            BTW you might re-read what Kai wrote, he seems to acknowedge that China must eventually transform into a democratic society… you are looking for allies where you have none.

          • Whaddashack

            And wherein did I disagree with him? If you read my post carefully, and not fantasized about “le wumaoz suckin ya dickz”, you’d actually comprehend the content of my post.

            Ironically, many of the slobbering, spiting China bashers have yet to make a single contribution to China’s route to democratization and have yet to lead by example. Democracy comes as a second thought to a country’s well being, there are far more important things to solve such as abject poverty, public welfare, national security etc. So have you donated your shilling, even to those native Americans whose rights you trample?

          • mr.wiener

            Just out of curiosity, are you a native American? using their plight as a gaming chip to bash westerners over the head or are you getting angry on their behalf?

          • Ohnoes

            To the spartan from down under, my first comment towards you was of admiration for letting someone insult you pass. Unlike a few random particular posters here, you actually had a heart for people.You never joined in mocking dead people, so hats off. But why do you seem to take offense at me when I’m not even insulting you?

            I typed a reply to one of your comments to me a few days ago. My internet messed up and I think my reply didn’t register. In that comment, I told you and Kai that I’d just do what they do since apparently they are enjoying themselves bashing others with impunity. Some of the bashers are slinky, I won’t name him because he’s kept quiet for a while and I just “might” be wrong, although I doubt it. Others are more blatant and obvious, aka POS. Fun should be shared after all, shouldn’t it?

            It’s not a bash against all Westerners but the North Americans that are “occupying” native lands, who like to chime in about “Tibetans” and use it to blame all Chinese but aren’t leading by example.

            You ask me if I’m genuinely angry for Native Americans? Well, I am concerned for them, that’s why I linked those articles and if you want to see the reality of how the natives live and how the wannabe natives actually feel about native Americans, you just have to look over at Percymay’s comments about them, likening them to “niggers”. In Canada, Native Americans are called chugs
            because of the belief that alcohol and a native are inseparable and subject to violent abuse from Law Enforcement and some inbreds there.

            The harsh reality is he is the actual “piggish nigger”. Not surprisingly, resident China basher POS hasn’t raised not a squawk about the issue.

            In addition to bashing the whole staff in Csmack, that guy continues to troll without impunity while insulting your website.

            The reason? I manhandled the shit out of him earlier and he’s not too happy about that.

            So the thing is, while I don’t take any of this personally and haven’t actually been offended by the whole dramatic comments (just playing along), I don’t get how I am “so very ebil wacist” but there’s a person who can go around insulting Native Americans and not get banned.

            I’m willing to bet after getting banned, he’ll show up yet again like a fly attracted to shit but my point will be proven. :)

          • Kai

            Use the contact form and I’ll reply to you. Frankly though, I don’t find myself being able to identify with your position. Your arguments are as unfair as the arguments made by the people you’re criticizing.

          • Status Quo

            Democracy? Ability to colonize, enslave and exterminate? “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.” ― Charles Darwin

            China? I would hardly call it a flourishing society outside of the economic sphere, by all other measurements its a hollow shell of a society that nobody really wants to emulate. Chinese themselve even copy whole Western cities (Shanghai) and worst elements of Western society (free capitalism, slave labor), but they are missing the key ingredient that makes the West great; freedom, spirituality, creativity and ecstasy.

      • POS

        BTW disqus really should show who downvotes, I’m wondering who and how the guy posting the fallen over building above gets almost 20 downvotes… and of course what barbarian downvoted my brilliant ramblingd?

        • Kai

          We don’t control Disqus features. When we first adopted Disqus, it didn’t show who made upvotes either but they added it subsequently.

          The rationale for Disqus making who upvoted visible and not showing who made downvotes is pretty easy to guess. Showing upvotes is postive reinforcement meant to encourage commenting, and showing downvotes encourages spiteful voting behavior, grudges, and essentially vote trolling (which can still happen with upvotes).

          If it were possible, I’d personally consider disabling voting entirely on cS. Some people have shown that they can’t avoid abusing the system. Unfortunately, Disqus doesn’t currently give us that option or any options controlling how the voting system works or displays.

          We’ve known for a long time that people are padding votes here (mostly upvotes, since padding downvotes is a bit harder) and I can assure you that it is hardly just one “side”. A lot of people are guilty of this behavior.

          Upsettingly, you seemed to have come out encouraging this sort of abuse today (and have just engaged in circumventing moderation). Not cool because you and I were just otherwise having a legit conversation. Just because you suspect others of doing it doesn’t mean it’s okay for you to do it either.

    • biggj

      Democracy only works with 500,000,000 people or less.

      • TJDubs

        So that’s what Mao was shooting for! I knew his intentions were good.

        • POS

          Well he got part way there. He wasn’t even competent in killing off 100s of millions of Chinese only 10s of millions.

  • Rick in China

    “Municipal government and public facilities brought by international settlements; telegrams, telephones, and movies, balls, and other Western lifestyles brought by technological development;”

    I guess “Western lifestyles’ includes BALLS…

  • wafflestomp

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercer_Quality_of_Living_Survey

    China doesn’t even crack the top 50. I doubt they could the top 100 this time around (2013) as conditions worsen in China. They only got Shanghai (95) in 2012.

  • MrT

    Looks cleaner and healthier back then, I think that was the dream china i fell in love with.
    WTF happen since..

    • mr.wiener

      I think you are looking at black and white photos with rose colored glasses.

    • YourSupremeCommander

      The US culture took over…

      • Refractions_of_Error

        …but was choked to death on pollution.

      • linette lee

        hhahhahhahahha…….lol. I always love your one- liner. So short but shocking. lol

        • YourSupremeCommander

          your honesty still does not change my view of you.

          • Mighty曹

            Hahaha… another short one-liner to love.

          • YourSupremeCommander

            I am currently fine tuning my new skill of one-worders… that’s gonna be off the hook yo!

          • Mighty曹

            One word limit is not very effective but let’s see what you got?

      • Brendon

        The US culture was better in the past, now its shit.

  • Ahhh, the good old days!

    • YourSupremeCommander

      add “IzKool” to your name.

  • Mighty曹

    Not a single photo of a Shanghai gangster?

    • YourSupremeCommander

      I wished I lived in the 20’s Shanghai or the 60’s HK, I would been the kingpin of all the kingpins.

      • Mighty曹

        And the pimp of all pimps in fedora hat and trench coat.

  • Brendon

    Damn, Asian chicks where ugly back then. Thank god for surgery!

  • Karze

    Vintage photos are very interesting to see and bring back the good old childhood days.

  • don mario

    http://china1930.virb.com/ these photos are great, really makes me wonder about the china before communism. the place looked vibrant, you can really get a feel for the traditional chinese culture. a lot was lost.

  • Balefulness

    Fantastic photos of a bygone world.

    • KAMIKAZIPILOT

      True dat, dear boy.

      • mr.wiener

        It’s like having a schizophrenic uncle who thinks he is Noel Coward.

  • Jimney Cricket

    I saw noone peeing in the street…could this really be china?

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