Another excellent article on the division between rural and urban China. For those of you that may have missed it, the following is vindication for those of us that doubted whether so many Chinese really have been lifted out of poverty as is often claimed.
For two decades, commentators have talked with pride about how many people were being pulled out of poverty. But last summer the authoritative Asian Development Bank published an official survey showing that China’s economy was actually smaller and poorer than hitherto thought.
It estimated that the number of people living below the World Bank’s poverty line was three times previous estimates: 300 million people living on $1 a day or less, about 50p.
When you take into account that the definition of poverty is relative to each country and that prices have been going up for many years (rapidly in recent times) in China, there will be many more Chinese with a higher income that are still struggling to make ends meet even for basics and should be considered impoverished.
Another warning for foreigners not to be blinded by the obvious changes visible in Chinese cities – China is fast becoming more economically divided than a lot of developed nations.
Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.