“Is it real?” my Australian passenger asks looking at a picture of the Chongqing Green Dragon Waterfall, she’s just paid RMB80 to visit, which claims to be Asia’s largest.
“Is it real?” is a very valid question in this country.
We’ve just finished visiting Mount Emei, one of the 4 Holy Buddhist Mountains of China. I’d be curious to know when the mountain obtained this title, particularly if it was after Deng Xiaoping’s visit in which he said, “Turn your corn into gold” thereby engendering mass tourism to this mountain. The summit of Mount Emei was rebuilt in the last year complete with a rather gaudy gold statue and bronze- and copper-colored temples.
Can anything that new and re-buildable qualify as Holy? Furthermore, on our walk well below the summit, we pass 2 massive ‘stone carvings’. These supposedly ‘ancient stone carvings’ are nothing more than fiberglass facades they were installing the last time I passed by.
All of this makes me wonder, if the title ‘Holy Buddhist Mountain’ is merely a fabricated title to boost Deng Xiaoping’s call to mass tourism.
Of course we know China is rife with complaints of IPR violations, particularly with regards to films, music, and luxury goods such as Prada, Gucci, Louis Vuitton (which is whispered in every foreigners ear in Shanghai). But less well-known are fake foods, cosmetics, medications, and even prescription drugs. Ever tried fake Oreos? Those will kill your Oreo addiction, quick. Or fake alcohol? It’s cheap but it tastes like crap and will give you the worst hangover you’ve ever had. What about fake prescription drugs? Consider how effective saline water is or chalk tablets.
How about those compliments Chinese people give so easily, when meeting someone, to give face, build a relationship, or just try to get something from you? Is that a sincere compliment or fake flattery that’s just a means to an end?
And what about China’s economic growth statistics? Are those faked as well? Poverty is rampant, major development projects are left unfinished, shopping malls full of people but no one’s buying anything. How can China’s growth be at over 10% per year in a country where the working population has no understanding of customer service/satisfaction, nor efficiency and weekday afternoons in Yangtze rivertowns consist of playing (and watching others play) mahjong and cards? Who’s validating China’s statistics?
I could go on with examples of fake and the just not quite real but I’ll leave you to discover them for yourself.
As for that waterfall–it’s real…sort of.