I read with interest your article on Qingdao. The picture presented is inaccurate, dated and somewhat less than objective. As a 1986 Fulbright scholar, I visited several cities in China, including Qingdao. It was definitely not like going back to the twilight zone, as your article states.
Compared to other Chinese cities I visited, I found the "quality of life" in Qingdao to be quite good. People appear to be productive in their employment and satisfied to enjoy the culture of their city.