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Shenzhen skyscraper shakes up Chinese thinking on growth

'Prophetic' essay from 2001 criticized overreliance on speed and efficiency

SEG Plaza in Shenzhen's largest electronics shopping district banned entry from May 21. (Photo by Yusuke Hinata)

GUANGZHOU -- In May, a skyscraper in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen suddenly started to shake, sending people rushing to evacuate.

Two decades ago, an essay analyzing the construction project for the building was eerily prescient, in that it pointed out the dangers of overzealously pursuing speed and efficiency. It highlighted the societal distortions caused by this outlook, which seems to have taken root throughout China.

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