The rise of China’s economy: Part Two…government prioritised education

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CHINA, though fast-developing, is largely an agro-based economy.
This is because about 70 percent of China is rural or communal farmland.
The developed parts of China can be found in the east and south of the country.
This is because the Pacific Ocean is found in the east and south of China and East Asia.
It is this area with coastal cities such as Shanghai and Guangzhou which are east and south-bound respectively.
It is also the part of China with the highest population density and development.
Historically, people were attracted to the coasts for reasons of international trade, travel and employment in the highly populated and well developed cities.
The ‘one child policy’ which limited Chinese couples to a maximum of one child, applied to the inhabitants of these east and south-bound cities and provinces.
A few years ago, the maximum number of children a family could have was increased to two.
If a couple has more than two, they are heavily taxed, demoted at work and stripped of some subsidies.
As for the west and north of China, there is low population density and very little development.
Families are permitted to have as many children as they please in the west of China.
This is where the Uyghur ethnic group, which is Islamic and uses a language resembling Turkish, can be found.
They are known to have multiple children.
There are also places like Tibet which are mountainous and of very high altitude.
Tibet borders Nepal where the Himalayas and Mount Everest, which is the highest point on earth, can be found.
These places are landlocked and water sources are scarce.
The same applies to northern provinces like inner Mongolia.
Life is very difficult in the tough terrain and dry climate of north and western China.
This is why most people can now be found in the east and south where more rainfall, rivers, lakes and the ocean abounds.
However, this part of China still contributes to the economy in a strong way.
Their culture promotes tourism and livestock, such as mountain goats which are kept in large numbers.
Groups such as those from Lanzhou can be found all over China, particularly in the food industry.
These people, who migrate to larger cities, are largely behind the halal (qingzhen) and Uyghur restaurants.
These attract many foreigners and locals throughout China.
Most of China, with the exception of cities, particularly central and southern China, comprises communal farmlands and villages.
These contribute to the economy by way of growing wheat, corn, rice, tea, soya bean, hemp, tobacco millet and so on.
The southern-most parts of China, including Hainan island, provide the nation with seasonal watermelons, mangos, coconuts and other fruits typically found in places with hot climates.
There are also a lot of mining activities that take place and such places do not look as glamorous as the developed China we often see on television.
These places are often devoid of subway trains, high-rise buildings and other fascinating traits of development.
The situation is very much like that of Zimbabwe where, besides large cities like Harare, Gweru and Bulawayo, to name a few, the rest of the places are rural areas or farmlands.
Besides villages and farmlands, China is riddled with industrial cities.
Where there is coal mining, there will also be industries and educational institutions associated with coal mining and processing.
The same goes for hemp and the mining of rare earths.
This shows that China, whether rural or urban, is productive. This high productivity, beginning with the primary sector and up, is the power source of China’s economy.
The high population density in the east, centre and south facilitates for abundant affordable labour to make production possible.
China also has many ethnic groups that have preserved their culture and traditions.
This attracts many local and foreign tourists who love to see their clothing, dances, cuisines and so on.
A good example is Shaolin kungfu (gongfu) which is promoted in films and attracts tourists to places like Luoyang.
Let us now look at China’s economic prowess on the world scene.
Since Deng Xiaoping’s economic reforms in the 1970s, China has made a great impact on the world economy.
Like the rest of east Asia, China had been set up to be a source of cheap labour for production in Western-owned factories.
However, the Chinese Government prioritised education and, like Zimbabwe after independence, made great strides to equip their citizens with technical skills and knowledge.
In a short time, Chinese businessmen began partnering with Western companies and eventually started owning the industries that produced goods to be sold to the West.
This is how many Chinese businessmen flourish and people from Wenzhou are known throughout China for owning factories that make them wealthy for generations.
China’s industrial and manufacturing sectors are so large that they contribute to almost 50 percent of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product.
Besides China, Chinese businessmen have also made a mark in places like Europe and the US.
A few years ago, the European Union (EU) filed a complaint against Chinese solar panels; not because they were not up to standard, faulty or dangerous, but because they were so cheap they were running European solar panel producers out of business.
This shows how important China has become to world trade.
Even more affected by the rise of China’s economic prowess is the economy of the US.
The US purchases more goods from China than those that China purchases from the US.
This alone makes China of vital and strategic importance to the US as it is one of their greatest contributors economy-wise.
The main reason for this is that labour costs in the US are so high that the price of goods becomes too expensive.
The US actually pays farmers not to plant certain products as they opt to import cheaper ones from places like China.
The US’ currency also makes it more expensive for the exportation of goods in relation to the Chinese yuan.
Thus the Chinese easily export more.
The demand of Chinese goods by the US is up to 500 percent more than the demand of US goods by China.
By 2008, China had firmly become the biggest creditor to the US economy.
The US has been receiving loans from China for a long time. Credit has also accrued through simply depending on Chinese products to stock and supply their domestic market.

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