The Moment

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Chinafotopress / Getty Images

A citizen watches the fireworks explode to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the founding of Shenzhen Special Economic Zone on September 6, 2010 in Shenzhen, China

By now, it's a historical trope, but let's recall the narrative anyway. Thirty years ago, a fishing hamlet in southern China called Shenzhen was released from the yoke of communism and allowed to prosper as the nation's cradle of private enterprise and magnet for foreign investment. The rest of the People's Republic soon followed, and double-digit growth became the country's most cited characteristic. Today, Shenzhen, which marked the 30th birthday of modern China with a shower of fireworks, has morphed into a city of 10 million — a story repeated across the land as flocks of building cranes overtake the slow-moving panda as the national icon. But as Chinese celebrate Shenzhen's establishment as the first economic outpost of China's engagement with the world, a chorus of foreign investors — beyond Google and GE, the E.U. and even normally quiescent Japan — has been grumbling about the mounting obstacles to doing business in the Chinese market. In the narrative of the new new China, there lies the twist.