Postcard from Shajing Town
October 13, 2010 by michaeljjordan
Until the late 1970s, Shenzhen was little more than a Chinese fishing village, and nearby Shajing Town was known for its shuckers of “Shajing Oysters.” Then, China anointed Shenzhen – strategically situated just north of Hong Kong – as its first “Special Economic Zone.” The population exploded, swamping Shajing.
The mass of humanity in Shajing, now one of 18 districts in Shenzhen, a city whose population is officially listed at 9 million. Shajing is considered a surburb -- but a one-hour drive from downtown.
- Perched over freshly shucked Shajing oysters.
Three decades later, Shenzhen is a manufacturing powerhouse fueled by millions of migrant workers from across China, with a glitzy financial district that’s one part Las Vegas, one part Wall Street. Factory workers now dominate Shajing, as I saw one weekend, though remnants of the oyster-shucking tradition remain.
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A popular mode of transport.
Women were offered free sidewalk beauty tips -- but a small fee for eyebrow-plucking.
Architectural hint of historic Shajing.
Worn wall details of dragon and phoenix.
Long week in the factory, short nap in the park.
China had just celebrated its National Day.
Old man sifts through garbage bin.
Not far away, the awesome neon of downtown Shenzhen.
The Communist leader who initiated the Shenzhen miracle, the now-deceased Deng Xiaoping, exhorts his countrymen on a downtown billboard to "Conform to the Party principles, and don't change for 100 years."
I might have popped a helmet on my daughter.
Once surrounded by rice paddies and fish ponds, Shajing is now as densely populated as anywhere in China.
A game of mahjong, in the country where it originated.
Not everyone works in factories.
Hoisting water from a communal well, to wash clothes.
Shajing oyster shells, discarded.
Shucking is hard, dirty work.
Old home in the shucking quarter.
Mother and child.
Young nurses in the old neighborhood.
Doorway to the past.
Portrait of a man.
Sunday picnic in the park.
Street scene in the shopping district.
Another new Shajinger, on the way.