China: Another Great Leap Forward? by Justin Jin

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87 year old farmer Wang Mei grows food in a plot in front of a giant relocation housing project in the southwestern Chinese megapolis of Chengdu. Her neigbours were all moved from their farmland and resettled nearby in this purpose-built estate on the outskirt of the city. She, however, has not been given an apartment because she was a distant migrant without legal permit to live there. She bemoans this and said she wished the government would take her land and give her an apartment instead. 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