Thursday, October 13, 2005

5-year plan will address wealth gap, China says

5-year plan will address wealth gap, China says

China's Communist Party leadership, concluding its annual planning session, approved a new economic blueprint that it says will address the country's yawning wealth gap and reduce "outstanding contradictions" that have led to a rash of social unrest. Hu Jintao, president and Communist Party chief, put his oratorical stamp on China's forthcoming five-year economic plan, his first since becoming the party's top boss in 2002. The work report describing the plan - read verbatim on the main evening newscast on Tuesday - was filled with his slogans, such as building a "harmonious society" through "scientific development." The leadership is also alarmed by a surge of protests, especially in the vast countryside, where corruption, land grabs by government agencies and private developers, a crumbling health care system and worsening pollution have sparked the worst outbreak of unrest since the Beijing democracy demonstration in 1989. After more than a decade of city-centered economic growth, urban residents on average take home more than three times as much money as their rural counterparts, one of the largest wealth gaps in the world. The number of mass protests in China increased to 74,000 last year from 10,000 in 1994, according to police figures.


At October 13, 2005 4:58 PM, Blogger John B said...

I recently read an interesting article (likely the National Post in Canada - no link unfortunately) that quoted an internal Chinese report concluding that China had until 2010 (five years) to successfully address the issue of rural poverty relative to the cities. If not successful, the report stated that China may explode from the civil unrest.

At October 13, 2005 5:27 PM, Blogger Evan said...

This talk about the China implosion is more and more populat these days. China in my view has short-term problems that are going to result in a major correction - things like heavy overbuilding due to corruption and megalomania by local officials, all of whom want their own high-tech production center whether there is demand to support it or not. They also have long-term problems like sex imbalances, anger over land seizures and the like. The critical question will be, when the short-term correction crash comes, whether the people believe it to be temporary and something that can be overcome. If they do, things will be relatively quiet. And even if the peasants want to rebel, China is still a totalitarian state, and so they might not get any farther than the Xinjiang or Tibetan independence movement has.

I think the expansion of China into Siberia is more likely than the implosion of China.


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