News / Asia

China’s South a Window on Economy, Reform

China’s South a Window on Economy and Reformi
X
March 08, 2013 12:08 AM
China recently began service of the world's longest high-speed rail line. It stretches from its political nerve center in the north to Guangzhou - one of country’s key economic centers in the south. Both the high-speed rail and Guangdong’s massive city of Guangzhou are windows into the tremendous economic challenges China’s new leadership is facing. VOA’s William Ide reports.
William Ide
China recently began service on the world's longest high-speed rail line, which stretches from its political nerve center in the north to Guangzhou - one of country’s key economic centers in the south. Both the high-speed rail and Guangdong’s massive city of Guangzhou are windows into the tremendous economic challenges China’s new leadership is facing.

A trip on China’s high-speed rail is a front row seat to the many faces of the Chinese economy: the country’s heavy reliance on construction to fuel growth, the disparity between regions, environmental challenges and overcapacity.

Xu Xianxiang, an economics professor at Guangzhou’s Sun Yat-Sen University, says there are many inequalities in China and that, although people in richer places are in good shape, there are also poorer places where people cannot even afford to go to school or to the hospital.  He says that, if you look at Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, it is all very good.  But if you drive two hours away from cities it is all very different.

China’s leadership designed a new, freer economic system in the south, more than three decades ago.  Now the region and its labor-intensive manufacturing-led growth accounts for 50-60 percent of the country’s economy.

But, as the global economy slows and demand overseas for Chinese goods wanes, the pace of development in the south is also slowing.

Xu says that government officials in Guangdong and coastal areas are worried now and trying to find a way to transform the south’s economic model. He says the search for a new model here could become the model for the rest of China in the future.

Although China’s economic growth is expected to remain stable at about seven percent until the end of this decade, the country’s leaders are acutely aware of the challenges that remain. Outgoing Premier Wen Jiabao highlighted some of those challenges this week during his report to the National People’s Congress - China’s parliament.

Wen says some people still lead hard lives. He says social problems have increased markedly and that people struggle with issues such as education, employment, social security and the environment.

It is not just the abundance of work opportunities and economic openness that makes the south unique, says AI Xiaoming, a filmmaker who has been documenting social issues across China for decades.

Ai says that, because Guangdong is so close to Hong Kong and Macau, there is a freer flow of information and that, because the region was the first to adopt reforms and open its economy,  people commonly value life. She says the environment is very open-minded.

Still, although it is easier for officials in the south to be more progressive, because they are so far away from the country’s political center in the north, Ai says an open-minded environment does not mean that change is easy.

You May Like

Video Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
March 08, 2013 7:32 PM
I think it is somewhat innevitable that there comes inequality among people during the beginning of economic growth. I hope profit would spread from southern coastal region to inner China.

China is now number one country from which US imports and third to export goods. They can not live any longer without each others. Compliance of fair trade rule will satisfy both nations and confirm sustainable international trades. Is China going to join TPP?


by: Lee
March 07, 2013 9:46 PM
We know that the hardship of the people and the problems of the economy are due to American protectionist measures and racist/xenophobic sentiments.

They are out to try to limit us Chinese even when we do not wage wars or invade other countries.

In Response

by: PAUL LE from: USA
March 08, 2013 4:25 PM
All countries should put a fair taxe on any of chinese good imported, that is only way to stop jobless and unfair global trades.

Do it right now to bringback jobs to local goverments.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid