ABOUT 60–70% OF China’s population still lives in rural areas. With the media constantly showcasing ‘China’s economic miracle’, many Western readers may not know that its vast hinterland is in a dangerous state of crisis. Experts have coined the term ‘three-dimensional rural problem’ (agriculture, peasants, and rural areas) to summarise the multitude of troubles, such as stagnant income, declining public services, overstaffed but inefficient local government, rampant corruption, declining social capital, degraded environment, escalating crimes, and expanding protests and demonstrations. In China, ...


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