China's Wealth Gap

Forget the urban glitz. Growth may ride on developing the poverty-stricken interior

Soon after you begin driving westward out of Guiyang, the gritty provincial capital of China's Guizhou province, the landscape becomes increasingly inhospitable. Vegetation-covered limestone hills close in around the narrow, pitted road. The smokestacks of factories making tires, cement, and rice liquor disappear. Even the rice paddies grow tiny as they fight for the last patches of level ground. Before long, it seems as if China's breathtaking economic progress of the past two decades was some fable.

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