Chinese Reforms Widen Gap between Coast and Hinterland China's Vast Rural Population, Whose Support Is Vital to Communist Party Leadership, Is Becoming a Powerful Influence for Change. for This Report, Staff Writers Ann Scott Tyson and James L. Tyson Lived in Villagers' Homes, Unescorted by Government Officials, and Explored the Frustrated Ambitions of China's Peasants

By James L. Tyson and Ann Scott Tyson, writers of The Christian Science Monitor | The Christian Science Monitor, July 22, 1992 | Go to article overview

Chinese Reforms Widen Gap between Coast and Hinterland China's Vast Rural Population, Whose Support Is Vital to Communist Party Leadership, Is Becoming a Powerful Influence for Change. for This Report, Staff Writers Ann Scott Tyson and James L. Tyson Lived in Villagers' Homes, Unescorted by Government Officials, and Explored the Frustrated Ambitions of China's Peasants


James L. Tyson and Ann Scott Tyson, writers of The Christian Science Monitor, The Christian Science Monitor


SHAO GUOXING shoulders a bamboo pole with two pails and sets off into the dawn mist across a crumbling stone bridge toward the village well.

In recent years, as Mr. Shao each morning crossed the bridge over the glassy creek, he has regarded the cracked structure as a symbol for China's struggle to bridge the gap between penury and prosperity.

"Everyone uses this bridge and some villagers have plenty of money, but still we let it go to ruin," Shao says, pointing at the mossy span and shaking his head. Neglect of village structures has become more common in recent years, he notes.

"During reform we've only worked for ourselves, not for each other," he says, sweeping a finger toward the mud-and-thatch dwellings around him.

Shao's disgust highlights the failure of the government to carry out full economic reform in the villages of China.

Overall, market-oriented reform has been a boon for the country's ancient effort to feed and clothe itself. Most of China's 860 million rural residents are prospering more than ever before and inducing more progressive change.

Yet as self-reliant farmers cross the bridge to prosperity, many of those Chinese who are more dependent on the rickety socialist economy remain behind. The steep rise in their incomes has sharply leveled off in recent years.

The per capita income of farmers more than tripled in the decade after senior leader Deng Xiaoping disbanded Mao Zedong's communes and condoned family farming.

But farmers' incomes have risen only 2.5 percent since 1989, according to Farmer's Daily, an official newspaper. Consequently, village tax revenues are insufficient to maintain vital public works like the bridge near Shao's home.

Research for this report indicates that farmers are bearing the brunt of a failure in national leadership. The authority and prestige of officials ranging from the central government in Beijing down to the cadres in Shao's village have waned because of corruption and the unpopularity of socialist ideology.

Also, China's leaders are too divided and afraid of unrest to finish the high-stakes task of reform and carry the economy completely from socialism to a market system. Conservative leaders have ruled out the decontrol of agricultural pricing, private land ownership, and other reforms essential to invigorating the economy.

"China needs to ascend to a new level in rural reform," says Du Ying, the head of experiments in economic reform at the Ministry of Agriculture.

The political uncertainty and hesitant leadership have provoked concern about a possible return to collective tilling. Farmers refuse to invest in the common good, favoring their own short-term interests instead. Vital public projects like roads, irrigation systems, and the bridge in Shao's village have deteriorated.

The costs of such fractious leadership have grown especially conspicuous in recent years. The problems have underscored how leaders have wasted opportunities to end persistent poverty.

Arable land and per capita grain production are shrinking; the population and the potentially explosive army of idle farmhands are growing.

Also, the disparity in incomes is widening. In Shao's village and thousands of others nationwide, many farmers cannot get along on what they grow because state-set prices for agricultural products are too low to cover the rising costs of farming. …

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

Chinese Reforms Widen Gap between Coast and Hinterland China's Vast Rural Population, Whose Support Is Vital to Communist Party Leadership, Is Becoming a Powerful Influence for Change. for This Report, Staff Writers Ann Scott Tyson and James L. Tyson Lived in Villagers' Homes, Unescorted by Government Officials, and Explored the Frustrated Ambitions of China's Peasants
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.