Thursday, April 17, 2008

The rural/urban axis in China

I heard a story on NPR yesterday about the rural-urban divide in China and how the burgeoning urban middle class are increasingly drawn to rural China for week-end getaways. It sounded similar to the way we use rural America, but is a more recent trend there. The story highlighted some aspects of the rural-urban divide in China that I've given some thought to -- specifically how vast the divide is there, compared to here, economically and otherwise. For example, 10 million rural Chinese do not have electricity, according to the story. Educational and economic opportunities are so much greater in cities than the in the country that migration to the former is overwhelming. Somewhat more related to law are the reports I have read of disparities between rural and urban enforcement of the one-child policy.

So what do the rural Chinese think about the influx of urbanites, seeking inns and tranquil getaways, but also altering the landscape? According to the reporter, they say "bring it on." They see the urbanites' presence as an opportunity to sell their produce and crafts and to improve their own lot.

It's a good thing I was jotting down notes as I listened to the story because I couldn't find it on the NPR website when I wanted to add the link to this post. What I did find when I searched for "rural" and "China," however, was a long list of recent stories using both of those words -- which is interesting in and of itself.

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