China’s “New Socialist Countryside” – Stephen Green

From The Business Week (link):

Standard Chartered Senior Economist Stephen Green explores how China should proceed to raise rural residents out of a cycle of poverty

The rest of the world hasn’t really taken notice yet, but in recent months, there has been a marked shift in the domestic political priorities of official Beijing. During the last decade, Chinese Communist Party leaders such as President Jiang Zemin and Premier Zhu Rongji focused on achieving and maintaining high-speed economic growth rates. They spoke about the benefits of membership in the World Trade Organization, about closing inefficient state enterprises, about the importance of importing foreign technology, and about the crucial contributions of China’s new rich elite.

Prosperity still matters in China, just like anywhere else on the planet. But for Beijing’s new generation of leadership, closing the yawning income gap between China’s well-off coastal region and its great interior has taken on equal urgency. In a candid Mar. 5 speech at the opening session of the 10th National People’s Congress, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao laid out the hardships of the mainland’s 130 million migrant workers and the problem of poverty in rural China.

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