In central Hubei province, farmers look at the new hospital in the nearest town with skepticism. As far as Farmer Pei is concerned, it represents a potential expense he can ill afford. Sucking on a cigarette as he walked along a road from his fields, the middle-aged farmer said he was reluctant to use it.
…Yet it is Farmer Pei, and 750 million rural residents like him, who are at the center of a development matrix designed to pull them from poverty and push China toward consumption-led growth.
…China has done an extraordinary job lifting people out of poverty but many have been left behind. By the end of 2005, 23.65 million rural Chinese still lived in absolute poverty, without adequate food and clothing. Based on the UN poverty benchmark of US$1 per day, that figure grows to 200 million. It is the world’s second-greatest concentration of poverty. [Full Text]
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