Books

02.23.18

The Laws and Economics of Confucianism

Taisu Zhang
Cambridge University Press: Tying together cultural history, legal history, and institutional economics, The Laws and Economics of Confucianism: Kinship and Property in Pre-Industrial China and England offers a novel argument as to why Chinese and English pre-industrial economic development went down different paths. The dominance of Neo-Confucian social hierarchies in Late Imperial and Republican China, under which advanced age and generational seniority were the primary determinants of sociopolitical status, allowed many poor but senior individuals to possess status and political authority highly disproportionate to their wealth. In comparison, landed wealth was a fairly strict prerequisite for high status and authority in the far more “individualist” society of early modern England, essentially excluding low-income individuals from secular positions of prestige and leadership. Zhang argues that this social difference had major consequences for property institutions and agricultural production.{chop}Related Reading:“Confucian Economics: The World at Work,” Kazimierz Z. Poznanski, World Review of Political Economy, Summer 2015“What was the Great Divergence?,” C.W., The Economist, September 2, 2013The Great Divergence: China, Europe, and the Making of the Modern World Economy, Kenneth Pomeranz, Princeton, 2001Civil Law in Qing and Republican China (Law, Society, and Culture in China), Kathryn Bernhardt and Philip Huang, Stanford, 1994Order without Law: How Neighbors Settle Disputes, Robert Ellickson, Harvard, 1991

Chinese boy with frozen hair reignites poverty debate

BBC
An eight-year-old Chinese pupil, dubbed "Ice Boy" by social media users after images emerged of him arriving at school with swollen hands and frost on his hair and eyebrows, has sparked renewed discussion online about child poverty...

China's Path out of Poverty Can Never Be Repeated at Scale by a Country Again

Zheping Huang, Tripti Lahiri
Quartz
Since China began its market reforms in the late 1970s, it has lifted more than 800 million people out of poverty, slashing the rate from nearly 90% in 1981 to under 2%, as measured by the World Bank’s latest spending benchmark.

Hunan to Encourage People Living in Poverty to Work Abroad

du juan
China Daily
Central China’s Hunan province plans to encourage people living in poverty to work abroad to achieve its goal of poverty alleviation, according to Xinhua, citing information from the province’s poverty relief authorities.

Stuck at the Bottom in China

Lijia Zhang
New York Times
If the Chinese government is serious about fostering a stable and harmonious society, it must address limits on social mobility before it’s too late

Depth of Field

11.08.16

Dongbei’s Last Match Factory, Capital Straphangers, Retracing the Long March...

Yan Cong, Ye Ming & more from Yuanjin Photo
In October, several publications marked the 80th Anniversary of the Chinese Communists’ Long March. We have chosen two stories that revisited this event and that were standouts, visually. Elsewhere, photographers followed stories both large and...

Mother’s Killing of 4 Children Reveals Cracks in Anti-Poverty Drive

Li Rongde, Xiao Hui, Huang Ziyi, and...
Corruption, red tape has led to most vulnerable citizens receiving little help

China to Relocate Two Million People in Bid to Tackle Poverty

Neil Connor
Telegraph
People from poverty-stricken communities are relocated to more developed urban areas as part of a wide-ranging plan to tackle poverty.

Caixin Media

06.09.15

China’s Cabinet Unveils Plan to Improve Rural Schools

The State Council has released a plan for improving the quality of education in rural areas over the next five years—a move the cabinet says is aimed at improving the quality of teaching at primary and secondary schools in the country’s less-...

Media

03.26.15

Brother, Can You Spare a Renminbi?

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian
Who deserves to be poor in modern China? One man in China’s southern Zhejiang province certainly seemed sympathetic: Each day, he pushed himself along the street on a homemade wooden skateboard, his apparently paralyzed legs tucked under his body,...

Xi’s Yunnan Visit Highlights Poverty Elimination, Ethnic Solidarity

Xinhua
Xinhua
President Xi Jinping seeks to rally support for a "tough battle" against poverty and to speed up growth in the country's relatively underdeveloped ethnic regions...

Infographics

11.20.14

Who Really Benefits from Poverty Alleviation in China?

from Sohu
A series of reports issued by China's National Audit Office highlights problems in 19 counties that have received funding from national poverty alleviation programs. News of "impoverished counties’" constructing luxurious new...

Once a Symbol of Power, Farming Now an Economic Drag in China

Ian Johnson
New York Times
Frustrated by how little they earn, the ablest farmers have migrated to cities, hollowing out this rural district in the Chinese heartland.

Mapping the Four C's of Chinese Wealth

Warner Brown
Live in a city near China's coast, and in a capital. (Coal doesn't hurt.)...

China’s Income Inequality Surpasses U.S., Posing Risk for President Xi Jinping,

Lorraine Woellert and Sharon Chen
Bloomberg
The income gap between the rich and poor in China has surpassed that of the U.S. and is among the widest in the world, a report showed, adding to the challenges for President Xi Jinping as growth slows.

Bill Gates Urges China’s Wealthiest to Give to Charity...Again

Jonathan Kaiman
Guardian
Businessman makes plea in People's Daily for country to improve bad philanthropic record by investing in the poor...

Media

09.30.13

China Watches “Breaking Bad”

Why do millions of Chinese care about a fictitious New Mexico meth cook? The soon-to-be-concluded television drama series Breaking Bad, which depicts embattled high school chemistry teacher Walter White’s transformation into a crystal...

Instant City

Nicolai Ouroussoff
Harper’s Magazine
In the district of Bao’an in Shenzhen, thousands of laborers live in a makeshift city of prefabricated dormitories beside the hulking, mile-long steel shell of what will soon be the city’s newest airline terminal.  

In China, A Vast Chasm Between the Rich and the Rest

Sim Chi Yin
New York Times
The passing coal miners in remote Shaanxi Province took one look at our marooned Audi and walked on, leaving us stuck on the sleet-covered mountain road. As dusk fell, I managed to mingle with some young migrant workers, and trek with them through a...

Assuring Chinese Finish Their Live Lobster Sashimi

Adam Minter
Bloomberg
The Chinese Communist Party wants you to clean your plate, and it’s not afraid to barge into the dining room and take matters into official hands if you don’t.

(Photo essay) Migrant Nation: Liu Jie Docuements China’s Ongoing Transformation

Liu Jie
Time
In 2011, Liu Jie, a Chinese photographer based in Beijing, visited and photographed more than 20 villages in the Chinese countryside, documenting one of the more silent but equally poignant externalities of the Chinese economic miracle: the...

China to Make State Firms Turn Over More Profits

Liyan Qi
Wall Street Journal
China unveiled guidelines on its long-awaited income redistribution plan by saying it would boost income for the poor, tighten its grip on illegal income and ask state companies to contribute more profits to the government.

China’s ‘Lamborghini’ Coefficient

Didi Kirsten Tatlow
New York Times
According to China's first official Gini coefficient figures in a decade, China today is more equal than in 2003. ...

China’s Inequality Index Highlights Urgency for Distribution Reforms

Global Times
Global Times
The first rich-poor index for the past decade paints a far-from-rosy picture of what must be done to bridge the wealth gap.

Features

12.18.12

College Graduates Compete for Jobs Sweeping Streets

from Tablet
Tong Peng spent six months discovering his bachelor’s degree was “worthless” before deciding to apply for a job as a street sweeper.He graduated from college in Harbin in June, 2012, not expecting to find it so tough to find work with a college...

Forced ‘Vacation’ for Man Who Broke Dumpster Death Story

Josh Chin
Wall Street Journal
The journalist who publicized the deaths of five young boys in southwestern China last week, has been forced to take a “vacation.”

Books

10.17.12

To the People, Food is Heaven

Audra Ang
In China, life is comfortable for the fortunate few. For others, it’s a hand-to-mouth struggle for a full stomach, a place to live, wages for work done, and freedom to speak openly. It’s a place where few things are more important than food; “Have you eaten yet?” is another way of saying hello. After traversing the country and meeting its people, Ang shares her delicious experiences with us. She tells of a clandestine cup of salty yak butter tea with a Tibetan monk during a military crackdown, and explains how a fluffy spring onion omelet encapsulates China’s drive for rural development. You’ll have lunch with some of the country’s most enduring activists, savor meals with earthquake survivors, and get to know a house cleaner who makes the best fried chicken in all of Beijing. Through her reporting, Ang bites into the gaping divide between rich and poor, urban and rural reform, intolerance for dissent, and the growing dissatisfaction with those in power. By serving these topics to us one at a time through the stories of ordinary citizens, To the People, Food Is Heaven provides a fresh perspective beyond the country’s anonymous identity as an economic powerhouse. Ang plates a terrific, wide-ranging feast that is the new China, a country convulsed by change and propelled by aspiration. Have you eaten yet?  —Lyons Press{chop}

Jesus vs. Mao? An Interview with Yuan Zhiming

Ian Johnson
New York Review of Books
In the intellectual ferment leading up to the 1989 Tiananmen protests, a much-watched series on Chinese television called River Elegy became closely identified with the hopes of China’s reformers. The six-part series, which used...

Reports

01.01.11

Early Childhood Development and Education in China: Breaking the Cycle of Poverty and Improving Future Competitiveness

World Bank
Given China's goal to develop a harmonious society and to improve the competitiveness of its future workforce in order to overcome the challenges of an aging population and move toward a high-income society, there is an urgent need to identify...