..the most repressive city in China

China is certainly large enough to accommodate two financial cities, Hong Kong and Shanghai, just as Frankfurt and London coexist in Europe. What Shanghai lacks, though, is a stable legal and business climate, the comfort factor identified by the HSBC chairman. And there is no indication that things are about to change in the near future.In fact, change seems less likely in Shanghai than in other Chinese cities because it is even more closely watched by security agents and the Propaganda Department. In Beijing and Guangzhou, some journalists, writers and lawyers manage to get past the police net and have their say, but in Shanghai, the merest hint of dissident behavior is enough to put one behind bars. Shanghai is the most repressive city in China. Several student and worker movements, some democratic, others not, started here. It was here that the Communist Party took root in 1925. For this reason, the current leaders do not permit any freedom of expression. [..] Shanghai is nothing but a facade of modernity erected by the Party, which pursues its vision of what the China of tomorrow should look like. Foreigners on a hurried visit tend to lose their critical faculties the moment they land in China. They gaze, wonderstruck, at the facade erected for their benefit.

– Guy Sorman, The Empire of Lies (2006)

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