Cores, Peripheries and Peaceful Rising
The economic and social reforms of recent decades have propelled China to the front rank of states; the domestic economic record is without parallel, and the achievements of the period were celebrated internationally at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. However, change is never straightforward, and success has been accompanied by some failures: headlong economic growth has been accompanied by sweeping social changes and ordinary people have had to adapt to ever changing circumstances; it has been attended by environmental problems (widespread and severe pollution); it has been attended by extensive corruption in the machineries of the party-state (and thereafter more widely through the economy and society); and headlong growth has been attended by growing inequality. The party-state leadership has declared that it will address some of these problems. The government of Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabau acknowledged the problems of rural China, and more recently President Xi Jinping’s government has stressed combating corruption. These are headline moves, but reform has been unfolding for many years, and this chapter turns to the record of accumulated success in reform and to the contemporary agendas of policy makers inside China.
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