Three Gorges Probe

Chongqing: A tale of two cities

Bill Schiller
Toronto Star
April 19, 2008

The Toronto Star highlights Chongqing [PDF], the world’s fastest growing metropolis of 32 million at the upper end of the Three Gorges reservoir.


Over the last ten years, the Chinese government has invested over $148 billion in Chongqing, building expressways, rail lines and rapid transit, aiming to make it the gateway and financial capital for western China, the Toronto Star reports.

There’s a new $200 million opera house, a field of skyscrapers—one that is a replica of New York’s Chrysler Building—and the controversial Three Gorges dam project is expected to bring ocean-going vessels to the municipality’s door.

Not all of Chongqing’s 32 million residents are benefiting from the boom, the Star reports. Tens of thousands of men and women earn a few dollars a day hauling goods up and down the riverine city’s steep steps from dawn to dusk.

As the city grows, so does the cost of living, leaving those on the margins struggling to survive.

Peng Dongfu, who earns $143 a month, shares a tiny apartment with three other families. “Last year we were paying 200 yuan per month rent (about $29),” he says. “But this year the landlord wanted 500 yuan (about $71.50).We bargained them down to 420 yuan ($60).”

All figures are in Canadian dollars.

Categories: Three Gorges Probe

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