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The Reality Behind China’s Miracle and the Ongoing Debates

Dale Jiajun Wen
International Forum on Globalizataion September, 2007 Washington D.C.

The Rising China in the Media
The way to middle class life style—The China my university classmates are experiencing.

The Hinterland China
A village school. It was founded in late 60s. Now the villagers have to beg a US foundation to cover the renovation cost.

Thousands of rural schools with similar history. Thousands of rural schools already closed down.

000 2005 87.000 2004 74. demonstrations.000 .Which One is More Real? • Number of mass incidents (protests.000 2003 54. or even clashes with police involving more than 100 people) 1993 10.

87% 1.7% 45% 1.8:1 2003 3.23:1 • Income distribution Top 10% Early 1980s 1995 2005 <20% (of total income) Bottom 10% 33.Growing Inequality • Ratio of urban versus rural per capita income early 1980s 1.4% .

42 percent of rural households experienced decreased income in absolute terms. . • From 2000 to 2002. Yet. is this monetary measure of poverty accurate? • The number of rural people living in extreme poverty increased from 28.2 million in 2002 to 29 million in 2003.Poverty • Cheered by World Bank and Chinese government: 300 million people were lifted out of poverty since 1978.

• Government and collective contribution declined from 78. • Percentage of people covered by government/collective health care Urban 1978 2003 Almost 100% ~50% Rural ~90% <10% .8% to 44.5%. health care costs skyrocketed 15 fold.Health Care Neoliberal reform in health care • From 1980 to 2003.

Health Care Collapse in Rural Areas • Number of rural health care professionals: 1975 2001 Rural Doctors Rural Nurses 1.5 million 3. while his total income from his medical practice is 30~40$ per month.28 million 1 million 270. Who will serve the village once he retires? .000 A 60 year old barefoot doctor. He has served the villagers for more than 30 years.

.Health Care (Summary) • Average Life Expectancy 1949 ~35 1978 67 2005 70 2005 (urban) 2005 (rural) 78 66 – In WHO’s 1978 Alma Ata Conference Health For All by the Year 2000. China’s primary health care system was featured as a model for the world. China ranked 188 out of 191 countries in terms of fairness in financial contribution to health and 144 out of 191 countries in overall performance of the health care sector. – In a 2000 World Health report.

Even for primary and secondary education. . more than 13 times average per capita rural income. nongovernment sources pay 44 percent of the cost (1999 data). • A four-year college degree costs an estimated 40.000 yuan.Education • Education costs have skyrocketed in the last 20 years while the share of government financing has dropped significantly.

Liquidation of Human Resource • Between 1949 and 1980. . adult illiteracy decreased from >80% to 33%. • The number of adult illiterate population has increased from 87 million to 116 million between 2000 and 2005.

most educational materials and media imply that – The only way to a better life is to industrialize. and should be replaced by upward mobility at all cost. – Everything urban is progressive and desirable. to urbanize. – Peasants’ traditional attachment to the land is a stupid sentiment.Education as a Form of Colonization • In the last quarter century. while everything rural is backwards and despicable. .

.Ideal Preparation for Sweatshops • Words from a female migrant worker and a survivor of catastrophic factory fire “ There is no possibility to be human back in the village”.

as a percentage of total national expenditure 1976-1980 1981-1985 1985-1990 10. 1979 10.5% 3.8% 1994 1.5% 5.7% .Declining Rural Investment • Government expenditure on agriculture.8 percent in 1992 and 1.7 percent in 1994.6% 1992 2.3% • The share of infrastructure investment in the rural sector decreased from 10.6 percent in 1979 to 2.

Left:The empty highway financed by World Bank. . Right: The village road built thirty years ago.

Left:The empty highway financed by World Bank. . Right: The village road built thirty years ago.

De-development of Rural Infrastructure An irrigation canal in early 1970s. Photos by Joshua . The same irrigation canal in 1990s.

• The annual government spending on rural health care is only 9. .Funding for Rural Exodus • More than 280 billion Yuan investment in Beijing for 2008 Olympics.25 billion Yuan(1998 data).5% of the Olympics expenditure. less than 3.

– During the same period. it is losing more manufacturing jobs than any other country due to the global re-structuring.Employment and Jobs • China is NOT stealing jobs from the world. . thus China’s job loss of 15 million contributed to two-thirds of the global shrinkage. On the contrary. manufacturing jobs decreased by 22 million globally. – From 1995 to 2002 manufacturing jobs decreased 15 percent from 98 million to 83 million.

4% From a 2003 survey in Pearl River Delta .9% 5. • Who are responsible? Foreign-funded enterprises Domestic private enterprises State/collective enterprises 26.000 severed fingers in Pearl River Delta per year.0% 53.Labor Conditions • Industrial accidents result in 40.

20 nominally between 1992 and 2004. .Declining Labor Income • The average salary of factory workers at Pearl River delta only increased by $8. and decreased by 30% in real purchase power.

The Families Behind “Made in China” 20 million leftbehind children grow up without parental presence. .

– About 60 percent of the water in China’s seven major river systems is classified as being unsuitable for human contact. – Ground water table under North China plain is dropping 5 feet per year. . mental pollution in export zones. – Pollution claims 750.000 lives prematurely per year.Environment • Becoming the world waste dump – Seven of the ten most polluted cities in China.



The river runs black or red? .

” . “No pollution. We need to survive.The signs say.

while US and Europe is the dinning room. labor supplier and waste dump. China is the kitchen. .Foreign Economy Growing on China’s Soil • Tax rate for foreign MNCs: 11% • Foreign funded enterprises account for 60% of China’s export. • China only as the cheap resource base.

Trickling Up of the Problems • Water crisis at Harbin city in December. • Middle class is increasingly complaining about run-away health care and housing price. at Wuxi City in June 2007. . 2005. • Employment rate for new college graduates has dropped to <50%.

washing machines. while our livelihood is declining. refrigerators or whatever consumer goods. – Please take away the TVs. give us back the affordable health care. .Growing Dissents • Actual quotes from the Internet – Their GDP is growing. education and housing we used to have.

. • Increased investment for rural areas.Recent Changes by the Government • Increased media coverage of the plights of peasants and workers. “scientific development” instead of “Development is the absolute need”. especially in health and education. • News slogans like “harmonious society”. • Several environmental initiatives.

Ongoing Debate and Possibility of Alternatives? • Rural reconstruction movement • Emerging environmental movement • Emergence of new left. “harmonious society”. resurgence of old left • What are the real meaning of new government slogans like “socialist contryside”. “scientific development”? .

It would not be possible two years ago. • National halt on “oil to liquid” and “food to biofuel” projects.Some Recent Good News • IFG’s book “Alternative to Economic Globalization: A Better World is Possible” is just published in Chinese. . • From the official government report of the 17th Party Congress meeting: Harmony between man and nature is one important aspect of harmonious society.