China 2.0; after 25 Years of Sizzling Growth, Beijing's Shifting to a New Economic Model. Can Big Red Go Green?

Newsweek International, January 30, 2006 | Go to article overview

China 2.0; after 25 Years of Sizzling Growth, Beijing's Shifting to a New Economic Model. Can Big Red Go Green?


Byline: Melinda Liu

If you're a China watcher, you don't just listen to what top Beijing leaders say, but also to how many times they say it. This month President Hu Jintao has embraced a new mantra, stressing "sustainable development," "innovation" and "a resource-saving, environment-friendly society." He uttered those buzzwords in his New Year's address, then at a high-profile science and technology conference, and then again last week during an inspection tour of Fujian province. In a significant departure from his predecessors' focus on no-holds-barred GDP growth, Hu is calling for nothing less than a quantum shift in China's economic-development model, deeming it "an important and urgent strategic task."

China has already achieved a quarter century of unprecedented economic growth. Now Beijing is essentially saying that it needs to keep growing in a more responsible way, emphasizing environmental protection, more energy efficiency and cutting-edge technology. Software mavens might call this new vision China 2.0. You don't have to be a rocket scientist (or a Politburo member) to see that the mainland's winning formula of cheap labor, heavy investment and nearly double-digit GDP growth can't last forever. Without a fresh paradigm, authorities believe, China will increasingly suffer from environmental degradation, destabilizing income disparity and social unrest. The question is whether the country can afford to shift gears now--or whether such concerns could cost it the competitive advantages that have made China's economy the most-talked-about in the world today.

Certainly China is already paying a heavy price for its economic success. According to the World Bank, pollution and other environmental damage may be costing the Chinese economy between 8 and 12 percent of GDP annually, due to medical-care expenses and damage to crops and marine products. The mainland is now home to 16 of the world's 20 most polluted cities. More than three fifths of the country's rivers and lakes are tainted with chemicals, industrial waste or toxic spills like the recent Songhua River benzene slick, which contaminated the water supply in the city of Harbin for days.

Already scarce arable land is disappearing as rapacious real-estate developers gobble up farmland. Though China is desperate for energy, the country uses power inefficiently. Experts estimate that the country uses three times as much energy per unit of GDP as the United States, and nine times more than Japan. Meanwhile, rural discontent has flared over land seizures, pollution and lagging wages--roughly one third of what urban workers make. Last week the Public Security Ministry admitted that incidents of social unrest grew by more than 6 percent in 2005. "Ordinary people aren't satisfied with the results of fast economic growth," says economics professor Xia Yeliang of Tsinghua University, "so the government has embraced the idea of 'green GDP'."

Chinese leaders are essentially admitting that brains, not brawn, are the key to what Hu calls an "innovation-based economy." The concept is an echo of U.S. economist Paul Krugman's 1990s critique of East Asia's export-based economies, in which he touted the benefits of "inspiration" rather than "perspiration." Chinese experts have even revealed when they believe this paradigm shift should occur--when a country's per capita GDP reaches the $1,000 to $3,000 range. (China's per capita GDP exceeded the $1,000 threshold in 2003. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

China 2.0; after 25 Years of Sizzling Growth, Beijing's Shifting to a New Economic Model. Can Big Red Go Green?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.