Many have grown up hearing about the need to help the poor in China. But that was decades ago, right? China is now the top economy in the world. There can’t still be such widespread poverty in China. The truth is surprising and saddening.
China has indeed risen to the top economy passing the United States in 2014. Families in urban Chinese cities like Bejing, Shanghai, and Tianjin, have experienced the fruits of the country’s ascent. Jobs are more plentiful, pay is increasing, and opportunities are readily available in many fields. China has social and financial influence around the globe. The rise to power is only half the story, though.
Economic Growth Means Nothing in Rural China
In the United States, over 80% of the population lives in urban areas. Urban population is an indicator of development and prosperity. In China, only 52% of the population lives in urban areas. About half of all Chinese still live in the countryside where the benefits of a rapidly improving economy are irrelevant.
For a variety of reasons, including China’s internal passport system of Hukou, rural Chinese are effectively banned from receiving the benefits of China’s urban success. To get an idea of the wide divide, read the story of Mr. Yan, who faced leaving his family to provide for them.
There’s more than anecdotal evidence, too. By any measure, there is still rampant extreme poverty in China. One estimate puts the number in poverty at over 400 million people! That’s more than the entire population of the United States.
Hope for Ending Poverty
There is hope, though. China’s government is aware and acting on the issue. In recent years, the government has relaxed the Haiku restrictions some, implemented poverty reduction as a major factor in the most recent five-year plan, and even ended the notorious one-child policy. It’s not enough, though.
China knows the problem is too massive to solve entirely with public policy, and the policies will not have an immediate impact. That’s where you come in as a Project Partner supporter.
Your gifts have an immediate and meaningful impact.
Remember that it’s only half the story when you hear a news story of China’s success. Almost half the country is in isolated rural areas and has been left behind. Poverty still exists in China. Thank your for joining us to end it.