China's rich town


Xu was a bit too...


Party Secretary Wu Xie En (49) was a bit too generous. ,,When we finished building this hotel, we offered all residents of Huaxi a free night'', he says, sitting in a comfortable leather chair in one of the hotel's lounges. ,,That was taking it a bridge too far. These people from outside, they didn't know how to behave themselves in a five star hotel. They smoked in areas where it's not allowed, threw their cigarette stubs on the brand new carpet and took stuff home from the hotel rooms. Oh well, they cannot help themselves. Nobody ever told them about the proper conduct in luxurious hotels. We will have to teach them. Until then, we only allow people from inside the village into the hotel.''

The outsiders are the 35 thousand people who live within the administrative borders of Huaxi but who do not share in the town's wealth. Twenty thousand of them are migrants from other parts of the country who are now working in the factories of Huaxi. The other 15 thousand are original residents of the towns in the area which have been incorporated by the affluent Huaxi and have been renamed as Huaxi 2, Huaxi 3 and Huaxi 4.