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Poverty & Hunger

People’s Republic of China

In the early years

of the 21st Century

Description: Description: Description: China

CAUTION:  The following links and accompanying text have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in China in the early years of the 21st Century.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated, misleading or even false.   No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page and others to see which aspects of poverty are of particular interest to you.  You might be interested in exploring the relationship between distribution of labor and per-capita GDP, for example.  Perhaps your paper could focus on life expectancy or infant mortality.  Other factors of interest might be unemployment, literacy, access to basic services, etc.  On the other hand, you might choose to include some of the possible outgrowths of poverty such as Human Trafficking, Street Children, or even Prostitution.  There is a lot to the subject of Poverty.  Scan other countries as well as this one.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Meanwhile, check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.


Check out some of the Resources for Teachers attached to this website.

*** Extreme Weather ***

According to a report by NBC News, China has been experiencing extreme weather conditions such as floods and droughts. The report states that the country has been facing a season of extremes, with the country lurching between stifling, unrelenting heat and heavy, monsoonal rainfall. The Chinese Ministry of Emergency Management said that 147 people were dead or missing because of natural disasters in July 2023. The report also mentions that most of China’s farming regions are under the monsoon influence, making them susceptible to meteorological disasters such as floods and drought.

Another report by states that China is currently experiencing a cold snap across a vast area of northern, eastern, and southeastern China. The brutal cold follows a summer of record-smashing heat and devastating floods across the country’s north. Experts warn that global warming caused by greenhouse gas emissions makes extreme weather more likely  Microsoft BING Copilot

*** ARCHIVES ***

The World Factbook - China

U.S. Central Intelligence Agency CIA

[accessed 30 November 2020]

World Factbook website has moved to --->

[accessed 5 January 2021]

Since the late 1970s, China has moved from a closed, centrally planned system to a more market-oriented one that plays a major global role. China has implemented reforms in a gradualist fashion, resulting in efficiency gains that have contributed to a more than tenfold increase in GDP since 1978. Reforms began with the phaseout of collectivized agriculture, and expanded to include the gradual liberalization of prices, fiscal decentralization, increased autonomy for state enterprises, growth of the private sector, development of stock markets and a modern banking system, and opening to foreign trade and investment. China continues to pursue an industrial policy, state support of key sectors, and a restrictive investment regime. From 2013 to 2017, China had one of the fastest growing economies in the world, averaging slightly more than 7% real growth per year. Measured on a purchasing power parity (PPP) basis that adjusts for price differences, China in 2017 stood as the largest economy in the world, surpassing the US in 2014 for the first time in modern history. China became the world's largest exporter in 2010, and the largest trading nation in 2013. Still, China's per capita income is below the world average.

GDP - per capita (PPP): $18,200 (2018 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:

agriculture: 27.7%

industry: 28.8%

services: 43.5% (2016 est.)

Unemployment rate: 3.64% (2019 est.)

Population below poverty line: 3.3% (2016 est.)

Maternal mortality rate: 29 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)

Infant mortality rate: total: 11.4 deaths/1,000 live births

Life expectancy at birth: total population: 81.2 years

Drinking water source: improved: total: 92.8% of population

Physicians density: 1.98 physicians/1,000 population (2017)

Sanitation facility access: improved: total: 90.7% of population

Electricity access: electrification - total population: 100% (2020)

The Borgen Project - China

[accessed 24 January 2021]

The Borgen Project works with U.S. leaders to utilize the United States’ platform behind efforts toward improving living conditions for the world’s poor.  It is an innovative, national campaign that is working to make poverty a focus of U.S. foreign policy.  It believes that leaders of the most powerful nation on earth should be doing more to address global poverty. From ending segregation to providing women with the right to vote, nearly every wrong ever righted in history was achieved through advocacy. The Borgen Project addresses the big picture, operating at the political level advancing policies and programs that improve living conditions for those living on less than $1 per day.

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Jobs, Houses and Cows: China’s Costly Drive to Erase Extreme Poverty

Keith Bradsher, New York Times, Jieyuan Village, 31 December 2020

[accessed 31 December 2020]

China has spent heavily to help its poorest citizens, an approach that few developing countries can afford and even Beijing may struggle to sustain.

When the Chinese government offered free cows to farmers in Jieyuan, villagers in the remote mountain community were skeptical. They worried officials would ask them to return the cattle later, along with any calves they managed to raise.

But the farmers kept the cows, and the money they brought. Others received small flocks of sheep. Government workers also paved a road into the town, built new houses for the village’s poorest residents and repurposed an old school as a community center.

Jia Huanwen, a 58-year-old farmer in the village in Gansu Province, was given a large cow three years ago that produced two healthy calves. He sold the cow in April for $2,900, as much as he earns in two years growing potatoes, wheat and corn on the terraced, yellow clay hillsides nearby. Now he buys vegetables regularly for his family’s table and medicine for an arthritic knee.

The village of Jieyuan is one of many successes of President Xi Jinping’s ambitious pledge to eradicate abject rural poverty by the end of 2020. In just five years, China says it has lifted from extreme poverty over 50 million farmers left behind by breakneck economic growth in cities.

Small village in Hubei beats poverty by growing pomelo

Huangyue, China Global Television Network CGTN, 19 December 2020

[Long Link]

[accessed 19 December 2020]

A small piece of fruit has changed the destiny of an entire village.

That's the case in central China's Hubei Province where locals have managed to beat poverty by growing the humble pomelo.

Villagers once unable to even use smartphones are now able to sell pomelos by live-streaming, an increasingly popular marketing method in China.

As of last year, almost every family in the village plants pomelos. And with an annual output of 400,000 tons and a per capita annual income of 9,000 yuan ($1,200), the whole village has been lifted out of poverty.

China has reached a major milestone in ending absolute poverty. But the Communist Party isn't celebrating yet

Ben Westcott, CNN, 27 November 2020

[Long Link]

[accessed 30 November 2020]

China was for decades one of the world's most impoverished countries and ending absolute poverty has been an important policy goal for Xi. The Chinese leader pledged to meet his target by the end of 2020, and establish a "moderately prosperous society" ahead of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party in July next year.

The Chinese government defines absolute poverty as surviving on less than 2,300 yuan ($350) per year. Over the past 40 years, China has moved from a primarily agrarian economy into one of the world's most rapidly urbanizing countries.

In its announcement, Xinhua quoted an expert who said this marked the end of "the millenia-old issue of extreme poverty."

Former hunters chase poverty out of deep mountains

Zhang Long, Editor, Xinhua News Agency, 14 December 2020

[accessed 15 December 2020]

Zhagana was listed as a provincial geological park in 2006 and a national geological park in 2018.

With government support, roads were built linking the village to the outside world, and two- and three-story Tibetan-style houses were built, attracting tourists to the village to enjoy stunning mountain and forest sceneries and experience unique Tibetan customs and foods.

In 2019, the village received more than 1.38 million tourists, and the comprehensive income from cultural tourism reached 800 million yuan (around 122 million US dollars). The annual per capita income of villagers has increased from 5,100 yuan in 2013 to 11,000 yuan in 2019.

The World Bank in China

[accessed 18 April 2021]

Since China began to open up and reform its economy in 1978, GDP growth has averaged almost 10 percent a year, and more than 800 million people have been lifted out of poverty. There have also been significant improvements in access to health, education, and other services over the same period.

Looking back a few years …

Advameg, Inc., Encyclopedia of the Nations

[accessed 15 December 2020]

Traditional China was predominantly agricultural. Adhering to farming patterns developed over a score of centuries, China could sustain a harsh level of self-sufficiency, given surcease from natural calamities. For almost three decades prior to 1949, the incessant ravages of civil disorder, foreign (principally Japanese) invasion, and gross economic neglect virtually decimated China's frail abilities to sustain itself. The first task of the new PRC government thus was to restore the flow of natural resources to prewar levels. By the early 1950s, the government had succeeded in halting massive starvation. Almost all means of production and distribution were brought under state control, and vast parcels of land were redistributed to the peasantry. During 1953–57, China's first five-year plan stressed heavy industry. Economic development was aided by imports of machinery and other industrial equipment from the former USSR and East European countries. In return, China exported agricultural produce to them. A major geological prospecting drive resulted in the discovery of mineral deposits that provided a major thrust toward industrialization.

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