China’s Economic Miracle: Prosperity and Inequality
2 June 2020 | 20:00 - 22:00
The LeidenAsiaCentre and De Balie present “The many faces of modern China”, a programme series containing diverging views on China’s multifaceted development. Spread out over three sessions, experts, politicians and artists offer a much needed reality check of China’s economy, its political system and its rise on the international stage. How can we better understand the political, social and economic reality of this country with its 1.3 billion inhabitants? And what can we learn from China?
Over the past decades, China’s economy has been characterised by rapid growth, which has lifted more than 850 million people out of poverty since 1978. At the same time, the country’s income inequality significantly increased. In the first session, together with Jue Wang (Leiden University), Stephan Petermann (Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing) and Valérie Hoeks (China Inroads), we discuss the driving forces behind economic growth in China and how its society transforms as a result of it, creating unprecedented prosperity for many, but not for all.
While China overtook the U.S. last year to become the country with the most people among the world’s richest 10%, some regions and social groups have stayed behind, as inequality increased significantly over the last decades as well. And at a time when the Chinese government is investing heavily in the economy of the future, an ageing population, overheated property markets, and more recently, the Corona Virus, are only some of the economic challenges that need to be overcome. This evening we plunge into the Chinese economy and discuss rapid urbanisation, trends in rural areas and the fate of those who have stayed behind.