February 22, 2006

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A tale of two Chinas

There's a new buzzword entering the Chinese lexicon: "new socialist countryside". As part of its efforts to help the 800 million Chinese peasants who are seeing their city cousins get richer far faster than they are, the CCP has put out a policy statement that contains enough motherhood statements to last a lifetime. The real test is whether these good intentions of the central government can be translated into facts on the ground once provincial and regional authorities get involved. Beijing, despite appearances, does not have a strong grip over the provinces and those governments are often intimately involved with state owned enterprises. That leads to clashes with peasants over land rights, development, pollution and more. In a democracy, of course, the peasantry can vote the bastards out at the next election. But examples such as Taishi show that even getting rid of corrupt village leaders is a difficult and dangerous task. The government knows about these problems and pledges to "strictly protect interests of land-lost farmers" while cutting the numbers of township-level officials. In short, we're watching a struggle between the central and provincial governments, with 800 million livelihoods in the balance.

Lest Hong Kongers feel that all these peasants are hogging the limelight, you can sleep easy knowing Hong Kong remains key to the mainland's bright future.

posted by Simon on 02.22.06 at 09:49 AM in the China category.


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A Not-So-New Socialist Countryside
Excerpt: The PRC government has announced a new initiative to revitalize the rural economy. This People's Daily editorial lauds the creation of a new socialist countryside. But, when we look at it carefully it is not so new. It does
Weblog: The Useless Tree
Tracked: February 22, 2006 11:45 PM


I feel calmer, for some reason.

posted by: d on 02.22.06 at 10:42 AM [permalink]

Was it a big night last night or you've just been breathing too much Hong Kong "clean" air?

posted by: Simon on 02.22.06 at 10:55 AM [permalink]

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