Urbanization gone so wrong

Published on Author meleski14

This picture was supposed to be a model for town built for how China would “move from being a land of farms to a land of cities.” It was shown at the Shanghai World Expo, where visitors learned how the farmers would be treated fairly in a way that would not cost him anything. However, this would be yet another example of the ghettoization of China’s new towns.

Only a small fraction of people have jobs, neighborhoods are shanty and full of death from suicides and despair, and the elderly are forced to find work to make ends meet. China still however pushes ahead with government-led urbanization. People are being forced to move into a worse lifestyle, where the buildings are of bad quality. These slums aren’t dangerous; rather, they just have the sense of despair and the sense that these people have been cheated. It was their land and it was taken from them with a promise of a better quality living situation.

This town, Huaming, was supposed to be the demonstration for a successful planned urbanization. They were trying to consolidate many towns into one town, which would take up less than a mile. The rest of the land would stay agricultural, but needed to be worked using modern methods. This sounded wonderful to the many people that lived in the area and to the people that this plan was presented to. However, things got much more complicated. Most farmers ended up with much less than what they had on the farm. It turned into a “survival of the fittest.” The government pressured the farmers to leave their land.

The lives of these people are turning worse for the push of urbanization. The government promised false things and now the living situation is bleak. The farmers are not qualified for the new jobs, and the situation causes the people a lot of anxiety, which is shown by the high level of suicides.


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3 Responses to Urbanization gone so wrong

  1. I like to think of what would have happened to Sancha if it, overnight, was turned into an urban center. Impractical I know, but knowing the individuals in Hessler’s work helps illustrate how difficult that transition would be for the citizens of rural villages. While density is efficient, farmers should have support when they are shifted by the government to urban professions.

  2. Again, we see the great significance and ties to land within the Chinese population. Not only was their lifestyle completely changed overnight through this transformation, but their land was taken away. This sheds some light on the high suicide levels. When people can’t do the only thing they know how to do, they feel useless and have no way to provide for themselves. I think this is a tragic example of sacrificing just for urbanization and advancement’s sake.

  3. China’s leaders are not afraid to break some eggs to move China forward. In countless instances, governing strategy has taken into account the enormous size of the Chinese population. As we learned from class, Mao’s strategy to deal with a Soviet attack rested in part on the magnitude of the Chinese population. In the Korean War, China kept the Americans at bay simply by their shear numbers. That a few farmers are displaced and worse off to allow for the huge economic growth that cities provide is probably not a concern for a chauffeur-driven government official.

    I agree that it would be nice if China had some sort of program to help farmers transition into off farm employment.