14 May, 2021

Daring Daliance

A young provincial mayor reflects the face of new China

Daring Daliance

It's China's third largest all-weather international port, the biggest on the mainland. It's also a major industrial hub, of heavy and hi-tech machinery. It has a petroleum refinery, and a shipyard that accounts for more than half of China's exported ships. Its football team has won nearly every national championship for the past decade. And it's also one of China's best-known summer resorts, where even Beijing bigwigs congregate whenever they feel the need to unwind.

This is Dalian. Meet its mayor, Bo Xilai. Bo and his glittering city - perched on the northeastern coastal province of Liaoning - reflect the faces of a new, resurgent China. Born in 1949 - the year the communist state was founded - the 51 years sit lightly on Bo's lanky, western-suit attired frame. In his eight years as mayor, the energetic man has single-handedly transformed the grey industrial port town into a glittering, squeaky-clean metropolis that rivals, if not beats, Rio, Tokyo and San Francisco.

He's the man responsible for actually bringing down the region's average temperature by a few degrees,...

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