[REPORTER'S DIARY]China's Cold Stream

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[REPORTER'S DIARY]China's Cold Stream

Fuyong is a harbor located on the northwestern edge of Shenzhen, Guangdong province, China. The province is connected to Hong Kong. Although Fuyong is a small, quiet village, Hong Kong people often visit the town in order to travel from the Shenzhen Airport nearby by the seaport. Why do Hong Kong people fly from the Shenzhen Airport instead of using the fancy Chek Lap Kok Airport in Hong Kong? The answer is money.

In order to travel to China from Hong Kong, passengers have to pay fees for international trips. From Shenzhen, they only have to pay for domestic trips. China recently lowered the domestic airfares by a large amount.

Airfares from Shenzhen to cities located inland China have been reduced by half. It is a prompt measure to attract enormous numbers of tourists from Hong Kong. China is no longer slow to pick up such tips.

Recently, a massage parlor opened on the second floor of a passenger terminal at the port of Fuyong. The place was opened to accommodate the sudden influx of tourists from Hong Kong.

A golf course was recently opened next to the Shenzhen Airport. Chinese people who built the golf course said that playing golf before boarding an airplane can relieve stresses. They also advertised that tourists could escape from the boredom of waiting by playing golf. The golf course definitely became a big hit.

At the immigration of the seaport of Fuyong, there are two counters. One is for foreigners and the other is for Chinese citizens. A polite female officer welcomes tourists at the immigration counter for foreigners.

This is China today. Chinese people are busy chasing money. Even the Chinese government tries to earn profits as much as possible through all means - instead of polishing their dignity. One should no longer expect a "relaxed and tardy China" when opening a business there; doing so would be a serious mistake.

The local government of Shenzhen recently announced that it would provide preferential benefits to companies that bring in research and development projects together with investment projects.

The announcement can also be interpreted that the local government no longer wants firms that aim to take advantage of cheap labor and provide unattractive technologies, to do businesses in its territory.

In Korea, the fever for China in terms of economy, industry and military is heating up. Koreans passion for China is different from the passion for Korea initiated in Southeast Asia and some areas in China.

However, a cold stream flows inside the hearts of Chinese people because they are focusing on calculating gains and losses. We should remember to feel that cold current from the Chinese President Jiang Zemin, who arrived in North Korea on Monday.

It probably applies the same for any countries, but we should remember that China too will not give favor to neighboring countries' benefits over its own interest.



The writer is Hong Kong correspondent of the JoongAng Ilbo.

by Jin Se-keun

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