Can China's Interior Wait So Long?
Going by "China's wealth gap" (Asian Edition Cover Story, May 8), it seems that China is like a powder keg, ready to explode at any time. During Mao's rule, people could be indifferent to their economic plight, as everybody else was poor, too. But hope makes the difference now. The eastern provinces have shown that coming out of dire economic necessity and poverty is possible.
Despite the newly kindled hopes, there is a lack of opportunity for the people in the country's interior. Because of its very nature, capital will flow more to the regions where it has already accumulated. This will starve China's interior. But the Chinese people cannot wait long to improve their lot.
A major reason for the present situation of lopsided development is the chauvinistic nature of Chinese rulers. They developed the provinces bordering on Hong Kong to facilitate a smooth merger of the country with the mainland, rather than with any clear-cut economic plans for the long-term future. If Chinese leaders really wanted a market socialist economy, their planning would have been much different. They would have allowed for more democratic space and more free play of the market forces in the overall development of the country.
D. Papa Rao