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Parting shots with Scott Tong

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Steve Chiotakis: Today is reporter Scott Tong’s last day in Shanghai. Scott has spent 3.5 years covering China for Marketplace. Crafting stories in a place that has seen dramatic economic change. We thought we’d bring him in to share some notes with us as he’s headed out.

Good morning Scott.

Scott Tong: Hi Steve.

Chiotakis: Scott, take us back to when you first arrived in Shanghai, just to give us sort of a clue as to how things are different there.

Tong: So we got here Jan. 1, 2007, and I bought a map and it’s now obsolete. It tells you how much this place has changed. We have four new subway lines, three giant new shopping malls and property prices per square meter in Shanghai has doubled, and the stock market has gone from 2,000 to all the way to 6,400 and back down to 2,000.

Chiotakis: Which story, Scott, over the years have fascinated you?

Tong: Well, last year Steve, I was up in northern China in Shenxi province. And I met a coal miner there. Now, coal mining is one of the most dangerous jobs in China. Twenty coal miners die, on average, everyday in China. And here’s what was interesting, he said, “I wish my child could have one of those jobs that I used to have, to go all the way down in the bottom of the mine to make $1.50 an hour, because despite all the risks, it is really good money.” So, I think when we think about China and working conditions, what I found almost everywhere is people want these jobs.

Chiotakis: Any last stops before you get out of there Scott?

Tong: Well, if I have a little bit of time, I want to go to a place called the Park Hotel, which I never went to. My mom was born in Shanghai, and when she was a little girl, she used to go to the Park Hotel and have tea. That is supposed to be the central point of Shanghai, and then you see where it’s grown. But you know, a little bit of old Shanghai remains, including the old Park Hotel. I’m going to go give it a shot.

Chiotakis: That’s great. Well, safe travels to you Scott. Thank you for your service in Shanghai and in China and all your coverage there. And we wish you the best of luck as you come back home.

Tong: Alright. Thank you Steve.

Chiotakis: By the way, Scott continues his Marketplace work in Washington, and a new China correspondent has already begun work in Shanghai.

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