CHAPTER 10The New Chinese Reality Check

AS I WALKED OUT OF THE FOUR SEASONS, MY SISTER, JASMINE, pulled up in her brand new Mercedes—her second car. Jasmine, a marketing manager at the Shanghai office of a New Zealand dairy company, lives a typical Shanghai upper-middle-class lifestyle. She and her husband, a purchasing manager at an American multinational machinery company, take home healthy paychecks; they bought an apartment several years ago without taking out a mortgage.

Like most of her friends, Jasmine loves to drive to work, even though it means an hour’s commute each way instead of the 20 minutes it would take by subway. Rather than fight through the crowds that swarm the trains and buses at rush hour, Jasmine prefers the luxury of sitting ...

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