Noted Chinese economist Stephen Cheung (aka Zhang Wuchang or 张五常), recently caught some people’s attention with an essay that appeared in Hong Kong’s Apple Daily in which he argued that China should open up the tomb of Qin Shi Huang (秦始皇) near Xi’an. Cheung argues that opening up the tomb would be economically sound, increasing tourist revenue by what he estimates to be billions of RMB. Furthermore, he says that this is the best time to do so, since Beijing is hosting the Olympics and Shanghai the World Expo (i.e. shitload of foreign tourists), and because the technology for preserving whatever is inside is adequate. He also says against the naysayers that this tomb isn’t really worth anything until you open it up and see what is inside.
Shanghaiist didn’t know who the hell Stephen Cheung was until we read this article, and from our cursory searches, he seems like a fascinating and somewhat controversial figure. A good place to start would be this Wikipedia entry, where it mentions the most salient facts about the man, which are:
- that he’s a very well-known economist who has done a lot of work on Asia
- he now lives in Shenzhen because there’s a warrant for his arrest in the U.S. on suspicion of tax evasion and the PRC does not have extradition treaties with the US
- and he’s an accomplished photographer
We tried to find some of his photographic work online, but weren’t terribly successful in finding anything complete. However, we found out that there he is currently having an exhibition in Hangzhou, address here (and the translations are ours, we’re sure there’s an official English translation but we couldn’t find it so we offer ours instead):
(The Art of Light — An Economist’s Interpretation)
展览时间：2006.9.16—10.15 上午9:00—下午4:30（逢周一闭馆）(Exhibition Time: Sept 16-Oct 15 2006, 9am-4:30pm, closed on Mondays)
Location: Hangzhou History Museum (18 Liang Dao Shan Lu, Wu Shan, Hangzhou)
You can check out some examples of his work here and here.
Photo of Stephen Cheung from people.com.cn.