Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Monday, February 04, 2013

Poverty in China

If you're looking for a description of poverty in China, this New York Times article and video would be great to hold up next to affluence of cities in the east.

Leader’s Visit Lifts a Village, Yet Lays Bare China’s Woes
With a gaggle of local party chiefs and photographers in tow, Xi Jinping ducked into ramshackle farmhouses, patted dirt-smudged children on the head and, with little prompting, nibbled on a potato plucked from Tang Rongbin’s twig-fueled cooking fire.

“It was as if we had met Mao,” said a still-incredulous Mr. Tang, 69, who shares a bed with five family members.

The visit to this village in Hebei Province, broadcast on national television, was meant to highlight Mr. Xi’s concern for China’s rural poor. But it was also an important propaganda flourish intended to burnish the new leader’s bona fides as an empathetic man of the people.

“I want to know how rural life is here,” he said at one point as the camera lingered on the unvarnished details of the Tang family’s poverty: a single light bulb, a tattered straw ceiling, a huddle of grimy pots and mounds of detritus. “I want to see real life.”…

Gu Rongjin, Luotuowan's party chief, and his wife, Liu Demei
The average per capita income here, about $160 a year, is less than half the official threshold for poverty, and it is a tiny fraction of the average urban income of slightly less than $4,000. Most young people have long since fled for jobs in distant cities.

The challenge to lift up impoverished backwaters like Luotuowan is a daunting one for the Communist Party, which has vowed to address a yawning wealth gap that some experts say threatens social stability, perhaps even the party’s hold on power…

In China’s rural hinterland, where half the nation’s 1.3 billion people live, incomes are, on average, less than a third of those in cities. During the 18th Party Congress in November that elevated Mr. Xi, Chinese leaders pledged to double per-capita incomes by 2020.

[G]iven China’s rampant corruption, another big question surrounding the antipoverty campaign, announced a few days after Mr. Xi’s visit, is how much of the additional $40 million that provincial authorities will funnel to Luotuowan and other villages in the surrounding county of Fuping next year will actually reach those in need…

The link to the excellent video is at http://nyti.ms/Vfc9fX 

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At 9:09 AM, Blogger Ken Wedding said...

China's Xi chats with impoverished villagers, migrant workers

Chinese leader Xi Jinping visited impoverished villagers and migrant workers during a tour of northwest China's Gansu Province that lasted from Saturday to Tuesday.

The inspection tour by Xi, who is general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, came just before the Spring Festival holiday, which begins on Feb. 9.

He visited villages, enterprises and urban communities in Jiuquan, Dingxi, Linxia and Lanzhou to get first-hand information regarding the improvement of local residents' well-being, the development of western regions and the improvement of local officials' work styles...


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