Potemkin Nation


An elevated portion of highway in central China collapsed on Friday after a truck loaded with fireworks for Lunar New Year celebrations exploded, killing at least nine people and sending vehicles plummeting about 100 feet to the ground.

Earlier reports indicated almost 30 people were killed, although China is now admitting to only nine. A 260-foot stretch of the highway collapsed in the explosion.

Thomas Friedman et al., marvel at how modern China is. Well, of course -- hardly anything there is more than 25 years old, other than some Imperial relics and the rice paddies. But look beneath the veneer and Beijing's ability to "get things done," and you see an awful lot of people dying of shoddy workmanship.