The Essential Backgrounds of China

In: People

Submitted By wheeler4
Words 2848
Pages 12
CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

China’s emergence on the world scene is one of the most important and challenging developments of the 21st century. Its remarkable growth since the early 1980s has the potential to greatly expand the global economy, and with it, global wealth, more than any other nation in history. China’s more proactive global engagement and the modernization of its military have already greatly altered the economic and political balance of power in East and Southeast Asia and has added yet another actor to the world scene. Several scholars recently have speculated that China and India will emerge as two great superpowers as the twenty-first century progresses. China’s uninterrupted economic growth of about ten percent GDP per year since the late 1970s is unprecedented and there are few signs that the world’s fastest growing economy will taper off any time soon. Real per capita output in 2005 was nine times that of 1978, which is when real economic reform began. Depending on how one calculates and interprets economic data, by 2007 China had become the third or fourth largest economy in the world. While economic growth is most notable in the large cities along China’s east coast like Shanghai and Beijing, virtually everybody across China is much better off now than in 1978. Rapid economic growth has brought vast improvements in the quality of life throughout China over the past three decades. Life expectancy rose to 71 years by 2000, the last time China conducted a full census, and estimates in 2007 put the figure at 72.6 years (74.5 for females and 70.5 for males), more than double what it was in 1949. Life expectancy at birth is a measure of overall quality of life in a country and is a clear indication that life is getting better for most Chinese. Adult illiteracy, high by any standards before 1949, sank to only seven percent in 2006.…...

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