This morning Bob Grant posted Contradiction of Times at Speak Without Interruption, an international online magazine. He shows visually and through words the discrepancy in lifestyles that he has witnessed between China’s cities and countryside. There is a reason for this discrepancy. After Mao died and China started down the road toward Social Capitalism, the central government decided to focus growth and modernization in the cities.
However, when Hu Jintao became president in 2002, he responded to the rising social tensions and China’s wealth gap by advocating a drive to build a “harmonious society”. He promised greater spending on health and education in rural areas where eight-hundred million Chinese live. Prior to that, most of China’s efforts at growth and modernization took place in the cities. What we see in China’s cities today took place over a period of more than thirty years. It may take longer to improve the living standards of rural Chinese, but if the current government is going to survive, they have no choice.
To learn more, I suggest you read this BBC piece about China’s Country Profile. Hu Jintao was reelected in 2008 for another five-year term. China has a two five-year term limit for public office.
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