But first, it’s necessary to dispel the widespread myth that China’s current political and economic system is uniquely responsible for China’s growth. Yes, in the last 30 years, China has done a remarkable job of lifting hundreds of millions of people out of poverty, but we must keep this achievement in perspective. One reason the post-Mao leadership lifted so many people out of poverty is because Mao Zedong kept so many Chinese poor. (In 1979, showing remarkable candor, the Chinese Communist Party itself publicly acknowledged that per capita grain consumption of Chinese remained stagnant between 1957 and 1978.) Second, the poverty threshold is commonly defined as living under $1 a day. Living above that line is an improvement — not prosperity. Based on data provided by the World Bank in 2008, roughly 30 percent of China’s population, or 390 million people, lived below $2 a day. By this measure, China has a comparable percentage of people living in poverty as Honduras, a country that never experienced China’s rapid GDP growth.
Besides, China’s overall performance in the last 60 years does not stack up well against its neighbors. Since World War II, the most successful economies have all been in East Asia: Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore. There are three exceptions to this East Asian rule of success: China, North Korea, and Mongolia. The first two are led by communist parties, while Mongolia was communist from 1924 until 1993. So the appropriate question is not why China has grown so fast in the last 30 years, but why it is still so poor compared with other countries in the region.
Ouch! And some of my friends say I’m a harsh critic! Assuming my site hasn’t been relegated to the outskirts beyond the walled city, it just might be after having quoted the above article by 黃亞生 (Huang, Ya-Sheng)
This comes into better perspective, when you hear about little girls who are starving, because only free meals are provided in schools, but then she can’t go to school because her parents can’t afford it:
The little girl’s paternal grandfather is shown next. He says she really wants to go to school and every time she gets home, she’ll take her brother’s books and practice with them. He says only he, at 76 years old, is left to take care of them. The reporter then reveals that a kind-hearted person unwilling to reveal their name has sponsored the little girl, allowing her to “put on her backpack and go to school beginning tomorrow”. This leads into the main subject of the report which is that in impoverished mountain areas, even those children who can afford to go to school often have difficulties when it comes to lunch.
Or how “5 Homeless Boys in Guizhou Bijie Suspected Suffocating to Death After Hiding in Dumpster to Escape the Cold“, and that “”According to an official of the Bijie Propaganda Department, the person who first found the 5 deceased is an old scavenger woman.”