Beijing’s hurdles on the path to ‘common prosperity’
The Winter Olympics’ carbon footprint
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Olympic ticker: medals in freestyle big air and short track
Opinion: the long path to the winter fairy tale
The “common prosperity” for all Chinese is a colossal undertaking that is not only supposed to secure Xi Jinping a place in the history books, but above all, legitimize his lifelong tenure as head of state. However, how the leadership actually intends to accomplish the redistribution of wealth remains a relatively open question, writes Nico Beckert. In fact, the gap between the rich and the poor in the People’s Republic is growing ever-wider.
Wages are too low, educational opportunities between urban and rural areas are still insufficiently balanced, and even China’s slowly cooling economic growth can no longer cushion poverty. Structural change is needed. But reforms such as tax increases could also step on the toes of the system’s beneficiaries. The worst-case scenario: a “domestic destabilization of China”.
Contradictions are also visible in the current Winter Olympics. At every opportunity, its organizers are emphasizing the carbon neutrality of the huge sporting event. All Olympic venues will be powered by renewable energy, and every passenger vehicle will run on either hydrogen, natural gas, or electricity. But these measures for more sustainability are only convincing at first glance, explains Marcel Grzanna.
One particularly serious problem of the Olympics is the enormous amount of artificial snow. The irrigation of huge areas of farmland, in a region where water is scarce, has even been stopped to cover the barren brown terrain with snowy masses. The impact on the environment is difficult to determine – because, at the end of the day, the host cities are allowed to calculate their own sustainability assessment as they see fit.
Your Fabian Peltsch
The difficult path to ‘common prosperity’
Inequality is on the rise in China. While some bask in limitless luxury, tens of millions of migrant workers have to make do with meager wages. The leadership wants to fight inequality and has proclaimed “common prosperity” as its goal. What is causing the gap between rich and poor? And is it possible to draw any conclusions for political measures to overcome this inequality?
“Common prosperity”will remain one of the highest goals on Beijing’s political agenda in the Year of the Tiger. At the end of the year, Xi wants to be re-elected as president. Everything indicates that he will capitalize on the fight against inequality in China before his re-election – at least verbally – in an effort to present himself as a man of the common people.
Xi has attached great importance to “shared prosperity.” In speeches, he warned of a possible “polarization” of society and an “unbridgeable gulf” caused by rising inequality (China.Table reported). So far, few substantial details have emerged about how the leadership intends to achieve “common prosperity.” What are the causes of inequality in China? And can they deduce the government’s plans?
Inequality in China is on the rise
Inequality in China has many facets. While some cruise through the big cities in luxury cars, others have to fight their way through the heavy traffic as poorly paid delivery men. While a small upper class hoards Rolex watches and Gucci bags, poverty and a lack of prospects often stilldominate China’srural areas: millions of children of migrant workers live separated from their parents and have hardly any chances of advancement (China.Table reported).
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