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University of California Press
The State of China Atlas: Mapping the World's Fastest-Growing Economy / Edition 1

The State of China Atlas: Mapping the World's Fastest-Growing Economy / Edition 1

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This magnificently produced atlas provides a unique visual survey of the profound economic, political, and social changes taking place in China, as well as their implications for the world at large.

China has the world's fastest-growing economy and is the second-largest trading nation. With its pro-entrepreneurial outlook and population of 1.3 billion, it offers unique opportunities for domestic and overseas investors. This dynamic volume provides an abundance of information on China's new wealth, growing unemployment, mass migration to the cities, and trade disputes.

Completely Revised and Updated:

* Vivid full-color maps convey a wealth of information quickly and efficiently

* Comprehensive information on China's population, employment, agriculture, industry, and economics

Copub: Myriad Editions Limited

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780520256101
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication date: 04/13/2009
Edition description: First Edition, Revised and Updated
Pages: 128
Product dimensions: 7.40(w) x 9.60(h) x 0.30(d)

About the Author

Robert Benewick is Emeritus Professor of Politics, University of Sussex, and Research Associate at the Centre for the Study of Democracy, University of Westminster. Stephanie Hemelryk Donald is Professor of Chinese Media Studies at the University of Sydney.

Read an Excerpt

The State of China

Mapping the World's Fastest-Growing Economy

By Robert Benewick, Stephanie Hemelryk Donald, Janet King, Candida Lacey


Copyright © 2009 Myriad Editions
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-520-96680-2



China's remarkable economic performance catapulted the country on to the world stage in the late 1990s and has continued to support the country's claim for world status ever since. In the first half of 2008, the year of the infamous "credit crunch", China was responsible for one-third of global GDP growth, and despite a previous high of 12 percent growth per annum, even a global downturn is likely to slow China only to a respectable 8 percent. Given the undoubted fragility of nations whose economy is fuelled by debt, and whose systems are imperiled by banks that gamble on the future in order to create virtual money for dividends in the present, China's dual role as the world's biggest saver and manufacturer very probably stands it in good stead for the next wave of capitalism.

Nor is there any doubt about China's ambitions as a world power. Not only is it a major manufacturer and, more recently, product and brand developer, but there have been significant developments in its profile in international relations. Its newest venture is in Africa, where it has invested billions in infrastructure designed to extract the continent's resources. China's involvement in Africa is experienced by the West as a challenge to its own colonial inheritance of trading pre-eminence and geo-political strategic strength. The modernization of the Chinese armed forces and the extent of China's investment in diasporic interests worldwide also contribute to a striking increase in China's national strength.

Despite some areas of tension, especially in the western border provinces of Tibet and Xinjiang, China presents a sense of national wholeness. Both people and government, at least in the main, appear confident and proud of what has been achieved to date, and what will be done in the future, if the economy and stability of the country is managed well. That is the crux perhaps of China's success, but also of its vexed relationship with western democracies, especially its largest debtor, the USA.

China has undoubtedly transformed its economy and governance structures in a relatively short space of time. Since the accession of Deng Xiaoping in 1978, the leadership has been most interested in legitimizing the Communist Party and the State, moving away from a command economy towards a semi-market system. There is little doubt that many people in China are materially better off thanks to this policy, although the gaps in income and opportunity between the new rich, the working middle classes, and the poor, and migrant underclasses increase exponentially with every leap in growth.

The second priority has been to ensure stability. The older generation of leaders had direct experience of the Cultural Revolution and its impacts on their generation were deeply scarring. One result has been the maintenance of a rigid authoritarian system of rule, with power located in Beijing, albeit including local governance reforms and some dispersal of influence amongst provincial governments. The two priorities – economic growth and strong leadership – are conjoined in China's current approach to the world: growth and investment is desirable, but anything that undermines sovereignty or stability will be dealt with extremely firmly. This suits investors, but leads to transnational disputes over emotionally charged issues such as Tibet. On the other hand, most nations in the West realize that without China's leadership and interventions in North Korea, the whole Pacific region would be significantly less stable.



Foreign direct investment in China continues to grow and is significantly greater than that in its Asian neighbors.

Overseas companies are tempted by the large pool of available labor, the 8 percent annual rate of growth over several years, and the maturing, although still youthful, stock market. China's accession to the World Trade Organization in 2001 has enabled foreign firms to enter into partnerships with Chinese companies. Manufacturing has been dominant, although the growth of the services sector has seen foreign entries in real estate, hospitality, retail and communications. The leading sources of investment are from North America, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region. Overseas Chinese, even those living in relatively small and island economies, choose to invest in China's future.

Not all entrepreneurial ventures run smoothly. The regulatory framework around quality controls is uneven in theory and practice, which can cause problems for co-partners in certain enterprises. Piracy and copyright remain a problem for some forms of investment.

China's own direct investment overseas is of huge importance to the global economy, but has political implications, not only in Africa, but in the USA and Australia.



China's regular armed forces number 2.1 million, and comprise 9 percent of the world's total. In addition, there is a reserve force of 800,000, and a military police force of 1.5 million.

An army of this size is impressive on paper, and reasonably cheap to run, but in modern warfare it is high-tech weaponry that counts, and China's military expenditure is a long way behind that of the USA and the total for the rest of NATO. China does have a nuclear capacity, however. While minuscule in comparison with that of Russia or the USA, it is significant in terms of China's military power within Asia and South-East Asia.

China's unannounced testing of an anti-satellite missile on an ageing weather satellite in January 2007 is also significant. Military specialists noted that it involved the successful interception of an object travelling on a similar trajectory, and at a comparable speed to that of an intercontinental ballistic missile.

China has become increasingly keen to play a part on the world stage, with around 2,000 troops, engineers and medical staff involved in peacekeeping missions around the world during 2008, including UN and African Union missions in Sudan. It has also, however, been criticized for its sale of arms to developing countries, in particular to the Sudanese government.



China's government manages the country's international relations both through its alliances and negotiated positions with overseas powers, and by taking into account its people's far-reaching ambitions and passionate nationalism.

As China's overall position in the Asia–Pacific region strengthens, and it develops its economic interests in Africa and Latin America, so its relations with former world powers and the fragile economic "giants" of the USA and Europe become more volatile.

The USA, in particular, retains deep suspicion of Chinese intentions, and the Chinese people are also ambivalent about the USA and its attitudes to them. Originally seen by some as a source of freedom, or simply the fount of capitalist leadership, the USA is now also recognized as a competitor that does not necessarily respect China's government or domestic policy, and which actively fears its expansion in the Pacific region. Taiwan remains a thorn in the side of smooth relations between these two major powers.

The other major issue of contention is human rights. The Chinese government attributes the discourse of human rights to Western liberalism, and individualism, and anti-Chinese aggression, whereas most in the developed West understand the concept as the cornerstone of internationals standards and democratic process. This is a bugbear of international relations and mutual comprehension for both parties.



Chinese outward migration over the centuries has created some strong overseas communities.

The history of Chinese outward migration is complex, but the reasons why people migrated in the 18th and 19th centuries – as indentured laborers, traders, and for education or adventure – still hold true today.

Long-term Chinese residency and trade are symbolized in the Chinatowns of major cities such as London, San Francisco, Paris, Havana, and in the ordinary "Chinese" suburbs in other, less famous, places. There are Chinese communities, not only in the heavily populated countries of Europe and South-East Asia, but also in tiny Pacific island nations such as Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, and the Solomon Islands.

In most of these communities, people of different generations of migration have vastly uneven levels of "Chinese" identity, and varying access to and knowledge of Chinese languages, of which there are several in common use. In the US census, Chinese, Japanese, Filipinos and others are categorized as "Asian-American". There are strongly felt arguments about what this means and whether or not the terminology is helpful.

The present rise of the Chinese economy has attracted return migration, and also a flow of inward investment from overseas Chinese into mainland businesses.




China has a huge population and a vast landmass. For many years, this single fact has been the most significant characteristic of both its potential and its challenge. Yet, any understanding of China must also take into account particular sectors of the population: its minority ethnic peoples, its class divisions, and its rural and urban split – those people who dominate the policy agenda and those who are under-represented in the ideological management of the nation's future.

Research into China is usually premised on the differences between rural and urban living – an approach encouraged by the data published in the annual China Statistical Yearbook and in the registration system for residency in different zones. This dichotomy between the urban intelligentsia and the peasantry has a long history and although it is now being challenged by mass inward migration to the towns and cities, it is still true to say that the majority of poorer Chinese are rural, and that privilege is mainly confined to metropolitan areas.

In the past 15 to 20 years more attention has been paid to the differences between China's provinces, which are important units of experience, economy and culture. They are also relevant in central planning mechanisms, which are increasingly mapped across macro-regions. At the 2008 11th National People's Congress, Premier Wen Jiabao affirmed that the development strategies in the western provinces would be strengthened, with a focus on social support as well as industrial investment.

The Premier's National People's Congress speech, always crucial to understanding policy directions, also emphasized that rural family planning would be more tightly monitored and that disincentives to have more than one child would be relaxed. This indicates that the problem of gender preference in seeking abortions, and in the differential care of babies born in poor households, has been noted by the government.

Gender issues are high on the agenda for many organizations for a number of related reasons. Chinese girls have very uneven expectations within society, depending on their birthright. Educated and well-off families give a daughter great moral and financial support in order to further her education and future career prospects. The poor and ill-educated are more likely to give up on their daughter's prospects because of poverty, a culture of preference for male interests, or both. Where young rural women are in short supply, this leaves them vulnerable to abuse, and physical danger. Many migrate to the cities and towns for work. These girls generally end up working in factories, as maids (baonü), or in the service industries. Factory conditions in the south of the country are especially harsh, and there are major problems with health and safety in these hothouses of the new economy.

The Han Chinese population is in the overwhelming majority, and the term "Chinese" presupposes many Han beliefs and ways of thinking. It also, however, includes many that are originally from other ethnic groups – or that have been entirely made up or re-invented. Indeed, one can argue that "Chinese-ness" is an artificial construct that can be re-negotiated, depending on language, cultural practices and place of residence. Arguably, shared practices are as likely to be found in the border cities of Tibet, Gansu and Xinjiang, amongst people who are ethnically diverse but geographically proximate, as they are amongst Han Chinese across the nation and beyond.


Over 1.3 billion people, one-fifth of the world's population, live in China.

The sheer numbers involved affect all aspects of life. The population continues to increase – even though the rates of growth have slowed. As the population clock suggests, these numbers challenge available solutions.

China's population is unevenly distributed across its provinces. Urban areas are becoming more overcrowded as the rural population leaves the land to work in the towns and cities, especially those in the eastern region.

In 2000, China conducted the world's largest census. Despite the difficulties in taking an accurate account of such large numbers, and ensuring the cooperation of local officials, it was pronounced a great success.



There are more boys than girls in China. This is particularly true in the rural areas, where boys are seen as more productive in agricultural work, and more valuable to aging parents.

The consequences of small- or one-child family policies has been severe for girl children in the countryside. There, stories of abandonment and neglect are common, and tales of abductions – of adolescent girls and young women – suggest a widening gender gap amongst under 30-year-olds.

Implementation of the law is left to provincial governments, who may vary it according to local conditions. Concerned about a lack of people to care for its increasingly elderly population, Shanghai has relaxed its regulations to allow some couples to have two children, and now offers incentives to daughter-only families.

Some rural women have been subject to forced sterilization in certain provinces – the same areas that now have the worst gender ratio.



Over 90 percent of people in China are Han Chinese. Just over 100 million people are from one of 55 officially recognized ethnic groups, known as minority nationalities.

Because of the strong presence of minority nationalities in Guangxi, Inner Mongolia, Ningxia, Tibet, and Xinjiang, these have been designated Autonomous Regions (ARs). This confers national minorities with some political and cultural rights, but, in practice, they enjoy little power. The Hakka are still waiting for minority nationality status.

Several ARs are located along China's borders, and are significant in terms of national security. Others are rich in natural resources, and vital to the country's economy. Not all ethnic minorities are comfortable within the territory of the People's Republic of China, however. There are Tibetans and minority nationalities in Xinjiang actively working for separation from China. Not surprisingly, all secessionist activities are banned.



Although China can proudly boast of lifting 250 million people out of poverty, it remains among the most unequal societies in the world.

There is a deep-seated inequality in terms of natural resources and financial wealth between the Central and Eastern regions, which are well-placed for economic development, and the mainly rural Western hinterlands. The countryside was the first to benefit from economic reforms begun in 1978, but between1985 and 1995 the gap between urban and rural widened again. Spending in rural households has averaged around a quarter of that of urban households since the mid-1990s.

The Party-State has been addressing this imbalance and is aiming to increase the income of rural populations by cutting taxes, cracking down on corrupt local officials and higher grain prices, and by improving farming methods.


Excerpted from The State of China by Robert Benewick, Stephanie Hemelryk Donald, Janet King, Candida Lacey. Copyright © 2009 Myriad Editions. Excerpted by permission of UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA PRESS.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Foreword by Tony Saich

1 Trade
China, in conjunction with Hong Kong, is the second-largest trading nation in the world.
2 Investment
Foreign direct investment in China continues to grow, and China is developing its own overseas investments.
3 Military Power
China’s regular armed forces comprise 9 percent of the world’s total.
4 International Relations
China’s international relations are influenced by a combination of ambition and nationalism.
5 Chinese Diaspora
Chinese outward migration over the centuries has created some strong overseas communities.

6 Population
Over 1.3 billion people, one-fifth of the world’s population, live in China.
7 The Gender Gap
There are more boys than girls in China.
8 Minority Nationalities
Around 10 percent of people in China are from one of 55 officially recognized ethnic groups.
9 Rural–Urban Inequality
China is one of the most unequal societies in the world.

10 Economic Development
Between 1990 and 2007, China’s economy grew by an average of 10 percent a year.
11 Entrepreneurs
The entrepreneur is fêted in popular self-help manuals and biographies.
12 Employment
There are at least 8 million new entrants each year into China’s labor market.
13 Agriculture
Agriculture provides a declining share of China’s GDP.
14 Industry
China’s industrial output is expanding, with goods produced both for export and in the hope of building domestic demand.
15 Services
The share of GDP contributed by the services sector grew by 10 percent between 1997 and 2007.
16 Tourism
The major focus of China’s tourism industry is on domestic tourists.
17 Energy
China’s energy production has soared since 2002, in order to keep up with the
demand of its growing economy.

18 Urbanization
China is undergoing the largest internal migration in the history of the world.
19 Transport
The growth of motorized traffic in China’s cities is indicative of the drive towards rapid modernization.
20 Air Pollution
The conflict between environmental protection and economic growth is one of China’s foremost dilemmas.
21 Water Resources
China is facing a water crisis – both in terms of supply and of quality.

22 Who Runs China
China is a one-party state, with supreme power exercised by the nine members of the Politburo.
23 Chinese Communist Party
The CCP is the most powerful political party in the world.
24 The People’s Liberation Army
The PLA is controlled by the Party-State through two arms of the Central Military Commission, both of them chaired by Chairman Hu Jintao.
25 Rule of Law
In the era of economic reform, China has moved towards enshrining the rule of law in the constitution and in practice.
26 State Versus Citizens
China is a more open society than 30 years ago.

27 Households
China’s one-child policy is creating a population with a high proportion of elderly dependents.
28 Food
China’s national diet is changing, with urbanites eating an increasing amount of meat and dairy products.
29 Health
Increased commercialization of China’s healthcare system is putting certain treatments beyond the means of many households.
30 Education
China has over 130 million children in primary and secondary education.
31 Media and Telecoms
China’s burgeoning media sector is a sign of its growing economy.
32 Religion
Only five religions are allowed by the Chinese government.

Chronology 1949–1979
Chronology 1980–2010
Data Tables
China in the World
China: Population
China: Economy
China: Living and Lifestyle
China: Natural Resources
Commentaries and Sources
Select Bibliography

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