A Force Of Nature

In 1999, officials in the city of Zhongshan decided to tear down a shipyard and replace it with a park. The city, situated across the mouth of the Pearl River from Hong Kong, has a tradition of putting its wealth to good civic use: its tidy streets are adorned with banks of flowers and well-manicured trees, and it has racked up model-city awards from Beijing and the United Nations. But these shiny credentials presented a dilemma for local leaderstheir political promotion would depend in part on outdoing their predecessors, and Zhongshan didn't leave much room for improvement. So when the Yuezhong...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!