“The cities we now have are partly based on what we saw in American movies — on the dream of big malls, airports, highways and tall buildings,” Mr. Zhou said. “I belong to the generation that witnessed the biggest change. We had been almost like North Korea, closed off. Suddenly we could see American movies.”

“This became our idea of progress,” he added. “Only we wanted to do everything bigger, because we thought that is what it meant to be modern. The actual needs of the real city are ignored.”

“In many ways, we are still living a dream,” he said.

Well, that’s why air purifiers are becoming best gift around there. But there’s still time to change.