China’s rulers adopting growth scepticism?

In: Uncategorized

16 Oct 2007

The Chinese bureaucracy seems to be taking on growth scepticism. According to a report in the Guardian the Chinese president, Hu Jintao, emphasised the dangers of environmental degradation and social inequality in his speech to the 17th congress of the Communist Party:

“President Hu Jintao admitted yesterday that China’s Communist party had failed to live up to the expectations of the people and promised a more sustainable and accountable policy of development.

“In a speech that will set China’s direction for the next five years, Mr Hu spoke of the need to address the problems of environmental degradation, political corruption and income inequality between the rich cities on the eastern seaboard and villages in the poor western interior.”

A full English language version of the speech does not appear to be available yet on the internet but there is a useful official summary.

Of course there is nothing inherently wrong with discussing inequality or environmental degradation. The problem comes when they are used as arguments against economic growth.

Sheila Lewis has also recently discussed the debates on environmental damage and inequality in China on the Battle of Ideas website.

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