China’s once-mighty industrial heartland in the Northeast, or Dongbei, has fallen on hard times in recent years. Could the key to its revival lie in the American Rust Belt experience? As happened in the US Rust Belt, firms in Dongbei, almost all state-owned, started to struggle in the 1980s. They have been in decline ever since, leaving local governments with a cluster of problems, including heavy industry pollution and high debt levels, which would be instantly recognizable to policymakers in Gary, Indiana, or Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Now that its counterparts in the West have now largely transcended the phase, what can Dongbei learn from the American rust belt’s experience?
Jen Lin Liu, author of Serve the People: A Stir-Fried Journey Through China and founder of Beijing’s Black Sesame Kitchen, knows more than most people about China’s seemingly endless variety of local and regional dishes, but even she is humbled by the topic: “You could live your whole life in China and not learn all […]