China: Another Great Leap Forward? by Justin Jin

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85 year old former farmer Zhang Tianyu enjoys a haircut near her relocation housing estate in the southwestern Chinese megapolis of Chongqing. She and her fellow villagers were moved from their farmland several years ago and resettled nearby in this purpose-built estate. She receives a pension of 1,000 yuan a month. A haircut normally costs 20 yuan, but the barber Liu Huan, 24 - himself a recent urban convert and who opened this shop four months ago - charges her 10 yuan. 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