Chinese Explore New Perspectives on a Changed Country in the New Year

Monday, February 11, 2013

Sunday marked the start of Chinese Lunar New Year, the most important of the traditional Chinese holidays. Reports record an unprecedented 3.4 billion trips made by Chinese returning home for New Year’s celebrations. 

This year is the Year of the Snake, and many will find that their home country has changed. Over the past year, China has experienced significant cultural unrest, from disputes over problematic labor practices to reform of the income distribution system.

Donald Gross is a senior associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and author of "The China Fallacy: How the U.S. Can Benefit from China's Rise and Avoid Another Cold War." Sheryl WuDunn is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of "China Wakes: The Struggle for the Soul of a Rising Power." 

WuDunn and Gross are in agreement that the legitimacy of the Chinese government is dependent on how they can deal with the worsening economic inequality and inadequate social safety nets. According to Gross, "Economic equality and the social implications of that is truly a critical problem that China faces right now. It's exacerbated by the fact that approximately 250 million people from the countryside have moved to the cities…and they are not eligible for many of the benefits that urban dwellers have." WuDunn contends that the situation is so dire that many children lack access to basic education because of their migrant status. 

Gross warns that China's leadership must deal with these issues promptly: "Clearly for the new leadership coming into China, which will take office in March, addressing the inequality economically, increasing pensions, providing much better healthcare, giving greater access to education, not only for city dwellers, but for people in the countryside and those who have migrated to the cities from the countryside…that's a truly critical challenge they face."

Guests:

Donald Gross

Produced by:

Ellen Frankman

Comments [3]

Kenneth Bennett Lane, Lake Hiawatha, NJ from Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute, Boonton, NJ

CHINA AND ITS CONSTANTLY EVOLVING LIFESTYLES WITH ITS HISTORY DATING BACK TO PRE-BIBLICAL TIMES TO THE ERA OF THE PYRAMIDS AND THE ANCIENT HEBREWS WILL ALWAYS TANTALIZE THE IMAGINATION. MY BROTHER DR. BEN LANE AND I WERE SKIING TODAY AT MOUNTAIN CREEK SKI AREA IN VERNON, NJ, WHERE, AS USUAL NOWADAYS, THERE WERE AS MANY ASIATICS-- CHINESE, KOREANS, TAIWANESE AND JAPANESE--AS CAUCASIANS. THE COSMETICS OF THE VARIOUS CULTURES GATHERING FOR COMMUNAL SPORT IS NOT LIMITED TO SKIING BUT TO ALL SPORTS. AND IN THE ARTS CHINA HAS ALSO A GRAND HISTORY ON PAPYRUS, WITH WATERCOLORS, TAPESTRIES AND SCULPTURES THAT POPULATE OUR MUSEUMS. WHATEVER THE CHANGES THE BEST WILL ULTIMATELY SURVIVE AND PREPARE THE GROUND WORK FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS. I am a Wagnerian heldentenor, an opera composer, "Shakespeare" and "The Political Shakespeare" and director of the Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute. My websites where one may download, FREE, my singing in four solo concerts at the Isaac Stern Auditorium of Carnegie Hall by going to "Recorded Selections"; www.WagnerOpera.com, www.ShakespeareOpera.com and www.RichardWagnerMusicDramaInstitute.com.
Roles that are represented in my singing to be heard on my websites are: Tristan, Siegfried, Goetterdaemmerung Siegfried, Lohengrin, Parsifal, Siegmund, Walther von Stolzing, Florestan, Federico and Eleazar.

Feb. 18 2013 08:20 PM
Angel from Miami, FL

Let's face it, Americans! This is what our congressfolk would love to have. An ill-named "free market" capitalistic society where the government bends over backwards for friendly businesses whilst using the taxes collected to build up a large military to protect its business interests around the world. Of course, the upper echelons of government will directly benefit. And the people? Well, they can fend for themselves and participate in a Nietzsche-esque climb to the top of the garbage heap. Perhaps they'll become successful members of the business caste. Perhaps they'll become politicians.

China's got it. Our parties are working for it. Our one-percenters want it.

Feb. 12 2013 10:43 AM
Larry Fisher from Brooklyn, N.Y.

Maybe the first thing that China should do is drop the whole "communist" thing.

Feb. 11 2013 09:51 AM

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