Moving Toward Xiaokang in China

  • Joe C. B. Leung
Part of the Social Indicators Research Series book series (SINS, volume 5)


Between 1978 and 1995, China’s GDP grew at an average rate of 9.4% a year, and an average growth rate of 6.5% is expected in the coming decade. Indisputably, China’s economic performance has been phenomenal. Yet with a GNP per capita of US$655 in 1996, China is still classified as a poor nation. Rapid economic reforms have posed an intriguing question for social development analysts: What happens to social development in a country with a market-oriented economy and a socialist political structure? At first glance, great strides have been made in social development, notably in life expectancy (70 years), mortality rate (6 per 1000 population), infant mortality rate (36 per 1000 population), and literacy rate (75%) (State Statistical Bureau, 1997). Indeed, the success of economic reforms has brought along substantial improvement in the quality of life of the majority of the people in China. With the rapid liberalization of the economic structure, however, social concerns such as poverty, family breakdown, rural migrants, school drop-outs, unemployment, prostitution, drug addiction, juvenile delinquency, the care of abandoned children, the elderly, the physically disabled and the mentally ill have become more critical. This chapter introduces the philosophy and strategy of social development espoused by Deng Xiaoping, and focuses on some of the unresolved issues, namely demographic crises, declining poverty and widening income disparities.


Social Development Poverty Line Poverty Alleviation Work Unit Civil Affair 
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