The Fastest Changing Place On Earth

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Categories: Asia Business

The story of modern China told through the eyes of the villagers forced to sell their homes and give up their land to make way for massive urban development. Naturally they are outraged and fearful. Some say they will not bow to the will of the Government, while others ultimately embrace the opportunity to make a fortune. This is China as you've never seen it before: the China that's behind Australia's resources boom.

White Horse Village is a tiny farming community deep in rural China. A decade ago, it became part of the biggest urbanisation project in human history that will take half a billion farmers across the country and turn them into city-dwelling consumers. The plan decreed that White Horse Village would grow from several hundred people to a city of 200,000 in under a decade.

There's little doubt China's urbanisation is a massive social and economic gamble but, according to the Government, there's a clear logic. At present, 150 million Chinese living in regional areas must leave their families, travel to the cities to work and send money home to help their children survive and prosper. The social tension this creates is significant. To combat this problem, and to try to spread wealth across the country, the Government's plan is to dot the landscape with thousands of new cities. These centres will have new schools, universities and industrial areas all intended to deliver China a thriving, consuming middle class.

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