China Beat Archive



Jacob Dreyer

Date of this Version


Document Type



2011 in The China Beat


Copyright 2011. Used by permission.


Like any good Shanghai resident, I am more or less terrified by the China that exists outside of metro line 3. However, I had been obsessing for months about the municipality of Chongqing, a radically unusual city even by the standards of contemporary China. When I found that I had a spare weekend, I finally took a trip there to explore. Instead of describing my trip, or offering a journalistic take on the city à la Christina Larson, whose piece in Foreign Policy does that more competently than I could hope to, what follows is a series of meditations on Chongqing’s urbanism, in text and images. A Buenos Aires to Shanghai’s Paris, Chongqing has the air of being a forgotten or undiscovered metropolis, completely overshadowed by a more worldly and prominent counterpart. Shanghai’s new cityscape has received thorough attention from photographers such as Greg Girard, but Chongqing hasn’t yet been the focus of such work. Here, I’ve tried to initiate such an exploration of the city.