China goes back to the land – Kent Ewing

From Asia Times (link):

When Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao presented his third Government Work Report this week to the National People’s Congress (NPC), there was plenty to boast about.

With China’s economy racing along at 9.9% growth last year and surpassing Britain as the fourth-largest economy in the world, the premier clearly enjoyed basking in the nearly constant applause of the faithful 3,000 delegates assembled at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing for his speech.

But the emphasis in this year’s report on building a “new socialist countryside” betrays a worrying trend for the central government: outside of the urban centers – which, following the old Soviet model, have been the focus of economic development since the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949 – there is growing civil unrest over the gross inequities of China’s phenomenal economic growth.

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