China: Another Great Leap Forward? by Justin Jin

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A 79 year old unidentified former farmer ekes out a living as a new urbanite by growing vegetables under a new bridge on land that has been claimed by the government to build relocation housing project in the southwestern Chinese megapolis of Chongqing. She and her neigbours were all moved from their farmland and resettled nearby in a purpose-built estate. Some bemoan the poor relocation compensation but others are happy to enjoy a social life away from the burden of farming. The Chinese government plans to move 250 million rural residents into urban areas over the coming dozen years though it is unclear whether people want to move and where the money for this project will come from. Further urbanisation is meant to drive up consumption to counterbalance an export orientated economy and end subsistence farming but the drive to get people off the land is causing tens of thousands of protests each year. /Felix Features