Two weeks in Fuzhou

My primary thought about being in China right now is: "What am I going to cook for Pesach?" (Answer: Fish soup. The fish are beautiful here, and the produce fresh and bright-tasting. Do I know how to fillet? Not yet. Can I ask for fillet at the store? Already tried that: after fifteen minutes of back-and-forth, I got a fish sans head but otherwise unaltered. So bring me the fish knife, squire!)

My secondary thought is this: I expected totaliarianism to be more . . . evident somehow. A Soviet grayness to everything, a hesitancy to speak about certain matters. It is true that the medical students I have the pleasure of spending time with did at first decline to criticize the government in public. But tonight we went out together, and they asked me what I thought of Chinese democracy. After a few minutes of pursuing the topic, I got the impresssion that they just don't care. It's all politics, one of them said. Would it matter if they believed the horror stories I'm telling them about their government's oppression? Or is economic life in China (for a certain class) just too much improved for the accusations of the disaffected to make much difference?

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