Leaders tackle China’s great divide – Jonathan Watts

From the Guardian (link);

China’s prime minister, Wen Jiabao, yesterday promised an extra 42bn yuan (¬£3bn) in spending for poor rural areas, in a key policy speech aimed at addressing the strains that have emerged in the world’s fastest growing yet most unbalanced large-scale economy.

Amid growing unrest in the provinces, Mr Wen said the redistribution of resources to create a “new socialist countryside” was a historic task. While there was no mention of political reform, the government’s sense of domestic and international insecurity was highlighted by a sharp increase in the defence budget and the arrest or expulsion from Beijing of dozens of human rights campaigners and rural protesters.

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