This documentary is about the story of White Horse Village, a tiny farming community deep in rural area in west China. A decade ago, it became part of the urbanization project. BBC journalist Carrie Gracie follows the lives of three local people during this upheaval, filmed over the past six years.
China’s rise to economic prominence over the past 30 years has rested in large part to its rapid urbanization. Prior to Mao's death, 90% of Chinese citizens are farmers. Currently China has an urban population of 700 millions or 53% of its total population. Mega cities in east China such as Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen have been engine of China's rapid growth. And household annual income of these east cities is reportedly on par with that of developed countries.
However, poverty in agricultural mountain provinces in west China is still persistent, especially in remote rural areas. The Chinese communist party (CCP) is pushing hard for its Western Development policy to boost economical growth to lift peasant residents out of poverty. China is constructing thousands of cities for its state-planned urbanization, extending tax incentives for enterprises to shift to west China, bringing in foreign investment to west China, building trans-mountain highways and railways to interconnect newly-built cities (a new road network to rival that of the USA), and starting tens of thousands of tuition-free schools.
Yet, behind the fact that the quick urbanization and industrialization of west China is creating vast wealth (25+% annual GDP growth) and middle class is emerging in west China, many scandals such as CCP corruptions, land seizing and violent demolition, astonishing environmental pollution, ghost cities and white elephant expressways, fast-growing local government debts, routinely prompt anger at the "reckless growth".
The industrialization of west China is also expected to stop the exodus of USA manufacturing jobs. Nowadays factories in east China are facing labor shortage because more and more immigrant workers are going back to their hometowns, therefore those labor-intensive factories have to provide much higher salaries, basic benefits, better working conditions as incentives, which are often too costly to be tenable. More importantly, the rapidly-growing consumption market is leading China to shift into a consumption-oriented economy. In February, China's imports surprisingly increased by about 40% against only 18% export increase, and China had a decade-deep trade deficit of $31.5 billion (though partly due to Chinese lunar new year). Once China is no longer export reliant, the appreciation of Chinese currency is presumably necessary to reduce the costs of imported products, which will also speed up the return of USA manufacturing jobs.
documentary part 1
documentary part 2
China built thousands of bridges among mountains in west China
A trans-mountain expressway in west China
White Horse Village is close to the newly-built Yichang-Wanzhou railway, the most difficult and expensive railway in China
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