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Beijing has the heavenly world of government, Shanghai the earthy world of commerce, but in between stands Suzhou, a regional centre with an excellent balance of business and cultural life. This, of course, is a paraphrase of the famous saying: 'Up in heaven there is paradise, down below, Suzhou and Hangzhou. The idiom is well known to the inhabitants of Suzhou (formerly transliterated as 'Soochow'), which remains a prosperous, thriving city. It retains much of its ancient character, while at the same time being engaged in modern reform and industrial development. Suzhou stands as an example of a large number of Chinese cities where the modern reforms of China are taking place and will succeed, fail, or be adapted to local needs.