Nothing to See Here

Li Ga / Xinhua Press / Corbis

Model communist soldier Lei Feng looms large over a road in Changsha, capital of the central Chinese province of Hunan.

Drivers who brave the northbound traffic on the third-ring road in Beijing crawl past capitalist edifices with names like the World Financial Center. Then comes a red banner strung across an overpass: STUDY LEI FENG. BE A MORAL PERSON. Lei Feng is a relic of China's communist past, a model soldier who supposedly wrote a diary chronicling his selfless, socialist existence before an unfortunate encounter with a falling telegraph pole ended his life more than half a century ago. I guarantee that the occupants of the Audis, Hyundais and occasional Ferraris inching forward in the smog are not receptive...

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!