China: Another Great Leap Forward? by Justin Jin

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A 50 year old rural migrant works in a garment sweatshop on the outskirts of the southwestern Chinese megapolis of Chongqing. They often work through the nights, earning 1,000 - 6,000 yuan per month depending on work load, a decent income compared with subsistence farming. For many, this is a long and arduous step in the transition from farming to urban living. China is hoping by relocating farmers into cities they would start to buy food, making a break from the cycle of farmers consuming only what they produce. 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