It was just under 32 years ago now. Matthias Claussen was standing on a rooftop terrace with the vice mayor of Shanghai, and the men were looking across the Huangpu River toward Pudong. “What we saw,” Claussen recalls, was like a “swamp of croaking frogs.” And the businessmen from Germany smiled mildly when the Shanghai official predicted to them that Pudong would be home to one of the world’s most modern residential and business centers. “I lacked the imagination for it at the time,” Claussen says today – and does not conceal his high regard for the building achievements of the Chinese over the past three decades. “They have managed to turn a bitterly poor country into a world power.
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