Visit any major city in China such as Shanghai, Beijing, or Guangzhou and you'll discover growth at a feverish pace. Not only are Chinese cities expanding outward to hold the burgeoning middle class, they are also growing up-- literally. Over the past decade, the Chinese economy has allowed the government to go on a spending spree with investment in massive urban planning projects, including skyscrapers. In fact, this growth isn't just limited to cities. While some smaller urban areas in the United States may hold less than 250,000 people, in China the same areas are often populated with over a 1,000,000; this often means building upward so businesses and residents have somewhere to work and live.
However, visit Huaxi in China's eastern Jiangsu province and you might wonder why this small village of just over 2,000 people recently finished construction on a 1,074 foot skyscraper. For one, it's a fantastic attraction for tourists. It also serves as a symbol of China's unique blend of socialism and capitalism. Huaxi serves as a "model" village, constructed and run by the Chinese government to show off their brand of state management and social collectivism.
Inside the tower, named the "New Village In The Sky" is a 24-karat gold water buffalo weighing one ton, which is another symbol referring to China's agrarian village culture. Communist party officials believe the tower will provide work and living space for an addition 3,000 people, many of whom come from a crop of 25,000 migrant workers who have come to Huaxi in search of work. In addition, 2,000 tourists visit Huaxi everyday – many of them members of the Communist party --to catch a glimpse of Marxist-Leninist ideology at its finest.
Some wonder if communism is driving the village's prosperity, or if it's the fact that Huaxi itself is really much like a public company that offers benefits to the people who work inside the system. In any case, as long as the village is driving renminbi (or dollars) into the economy, everyone wins-- whether you're capitalist or a socialist.