Cleaning A River To Enhance A City

Zhou Ke, a factory worker and mother, grew up on the banks of Suzhou Creek, the narrow waterway that winds its way through the center of Shanghai and out into Zhabei, the suburb where Zhou still lives. And for Zhou, a lively, good-humored woman, many of her fondest childhood memories revolve around the creek, which flows into the Huangpu River and later into the mighty Yangtze. "When we were young kids, we used to swim in Suzhou Creek," says Zhou. That would have been in the 1970s, given that Zhou is now 35. When I met Zhou recently, she and her 62-year-old mother were sitting on tiny stools outside their house, shelling beans for that day's noontime meal. Nearby, Zhou's 10-year-old daughter and several friends giggled at the sight of a foreigner.

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