Has Chongqing’s Great Divide Widened Since Bo?

The Globe and Mail’s Mark MacKinnon checks in from Chongqing, where he sees evidence of China’s large and growing wealth gap:

Chongqing, a vibrant Yangtze River metropolis, has found itself at the centre of the income equality debate in recent years. Until his sudden fall last year, Bo Xilai, the city’s former boss and the one-time rising star of the Communist Party, called for a return to Mao Zedong-era socialist values and better distribution of the country’s growing wealth.

However, he was ousted following revelations of his wife’s involvement in the murder of a British businessman. Mr. Bo himself is expected to soon face trial on charges of corruption and abuse of power.

But Mr. Bo is remembered well by porters like Ms. Yang, who say life for Chongqing’s poor was better under his rule.

Yang Xingcheng, one of Chongqing’s legendary “bang-bang” porters who carry goods up and down the city’s hills on a bamboo pole slung over their shoulders, didn’t want to talk politics, but also said business today is “not as good as last year or a few years ago.”

See also photos from The Globe and Mail’s John Lehmann, who also joined MacKinnon on a journey to retrace the path of Mao Zedong’s Long March and explore the challenges facing today’s China. China made its Gini coefficient – which measures income inequality – public last week for the first time since 2000.


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