CHAPTER 12The Human Cost of the Economic Miracle

IT WAS GOOD TO SPEND TIME WITH MY FATHER ONE ON ONE—healing, actually. I flew back to Shanghai to continue my research, this time taking a special interest in modern Chinese culture in order to understand what exactly had gone awry underneath this seemingly brilliant economic miracle.

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Up until Mao’s takeover, China had been a religious state. Whether it was Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, or a local folk religion, everyone had something to believe in. In feudal China, turning your nose up at the local deities was considered suicide to your fortunes. But after 1949, the Communists put an end to all things religious (except for the religious reverence of Mao, of course). Marx had proclaimed ...

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