The New York TimesThe New York Times

The Chinese dream, denied

By Vivian Wang

04 Dec 2022 · 9 min read

Editor's Note

Limitations on political freedoms in exchange for stability and economic growth; this longstanding social contract between China's government and its people is shifting, The New York Times analyzes.

The narrow alleyways of Haizhu district have long beckoned to China’s strivers, people such as Xie Pan, a textile worker from a mountainous tea-growing area in central China.

Home to one of the country’s biggest fabric markets, Haizhu houses worker dormitories and textile factories in brightly colored buildings stacked so close that neighbors can shake hands out their windows. Once a smattering of rural villages, the area became a manufacturing hub as China opened its economy decades ago. The government had promised to step back and let people unleash their ambitions, and millions flocked to Haizhu to do just that.

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