In Defense of Carlton

The deluge of letters (June 30) critical of Michael Carlton's June 16 article on travel in China prompts me to write in his defense. In May I visited China for the second time, crisscrossing that country and enjoying much of the experience. However, Carlton is absolutely right about the problems of travel there. Standards of airline scheduling and safety are far below those of the United States, and standards of sanitation are deplorable. The water is not potable and the food is often contaminated. A vast number of people return home with respiratory and abdominal ailments.

It seems as if Americans are on a China kick, and although it is surely OK to put on one's rose-colored glasses while traveling anywhere in the world, and to be willing to accept some inconveniences and discomforts, one must also be realistic. China is simply not yet prepared to handle the enormous influx of visitors. It is having quite enough trouble coping with its own billion citizens!


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