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The Chinese Dream?

Just how capitalist is Communist China becoming? The People's Republic has now opened the floodgates to home ownership - about the least communal idea imaginable. And, of course, with private homes comes burgeoning demand for everything that fills them.

According to a Wall Street Journal report, the companies supplying furniture, plumbing fixtures, and interior design advice - whether domestic or foreign-based - are cleaning up. Make way for Home Depot.

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The party elite, supposedly, are delighted. They've OK'd a national system of bank-managed "provident funds" to help prospective buyers finance their dream homes.

In China, such trends have to be put in the context of 1.2 billion people. Countless Chinese, especially in the vast rural regions, don't share the dream. And dirt-cheap state-subsidized rentals still have their appeal. Still, it's another indication of the remarkable forces of change at work in the world's largest nation.

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