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

French Refugee Drama Wins Cannes Top Prize

Dheepan is about a group of Sri Lankan refugees who pretend to be a family in order to flee their war-torn country for a housing project in France More

Photogallery Crisis in Macedonia Requires Meaningful and Swift Measures

The international community has called on Macedonian leadership to take concrete measures in support of democracy in order to exit the crisis More

Activists: IS Executes 217 Civilians, Soldiers Near Palmyra

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights on Sunday said the victims include nurses, women, children and Syrian government fighters 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.
Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmakingi
X
Bernard Shusman
May 24, 2015 2:55 PM
According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.
Video

Video Effort Underway to Limit Damage from California Oil Spill

Cleanup crews are working around the clock to remove oil from the waters off the coastal city of Santa Barbara, in California. About 380,000 liters of oil may have leaked out before a rupture in an onshore, underground pipeline was discovered Tuesday. The environmental disaster hit the popular West Coast resort area before the Memorial Day weekend. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports investigators have yet to determine what caused the incident.

VOA Blogs