China’s radical child restraint policy has not only resulted in sharply dampened population growth and a somewhat abnormal gender composition. It also means a changed age composition in the total population with fewer born in the younger generation than in the parent generation. The life expectancy is further increased and, together, this means that a declining proportion of the population is under 65. It places new demands on the labor market, health care and social insurance systems. In 2011, already 9% of the population was 65 years and older, a high proportion of being in a developing country. As long as social insurance is not fully developed, it means that two single children, married to each other, usually have to take care of four aging parents.
Before the reform of the 1980s, all rural residents belonged to a people’s municipality and there were “the five guarantees”: everyone would have access to housing, food, clothing, healthcare and funeral aid. The people’s municipality was also responsible for the education of the people. Similarly, housing, child care, schooling and health care were linked to the state workplace for the residents of the cities. When the municipalities were disbanded in the early 1980s, healthcare and schooling became subject to fees. Especially in poor, remote rural areas, health care costs have become very burdensome for poor families. In essence, there is no health insurance for the farmers, and the health status in the countryside has probably deteriorated in many places in recent decades.
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In 2005, approximately 650,000 Chinese were estimated to carry HIV. In recent years, the number of deaths from AIDS has increased and the Chinese authorities have warned of an increased spread of HIV.
In the cities, a housing market and services for employees of non-governmental companies have gradually emerged. However, in 2007, less than half of the urban population was covered by health insurance. For example, many millions of migrant workers from rural areas and millions of unemployed were completely without insurance. Corresponding large gaps exist in the pension system. It included around 200 million Chinese in the cities in 2008, but was lacking for the peasants. The retirement age is officially 60 years for men and 55 years for women.
The transition from planning to market management since 1978 has led to radical changes in the Chinese labor market. Hundreds of millions no longer find employment in agriculture. Of these, just over 100 million work in industrial companies in rural areas, while about 125 million have become migrant workers (guest workers) in the cities. In addition, it is estimated that 130 million are underemployed in agriculture. Efficiency and closure of government factories and mines are estimated to have resulted in at least 100 million workers being laid off, especially in northeastern China. In these old industrial areas, the new economy has not had the same growth power as farther south, and unemployment is assumed to be more than 15% in some cities. About 120 million gainfully employed Chinese had unemployment insurance in 2008. It is financed, as well as the health insurance for city residents, jointly by the state, the employer and the employee. Employees are entitled to five days’ paid leave per year. In addition, there is a free week at the Chinese New Year and at National Day in October. In 2008, China had not ratified the ILO conventions on freedom of association and organizational right and against forced labor, but, on the other hand, signed the conventions on equal pay and against child labor and discrimination.
Difference between city and countryside
The number of poor has been sharply reduced over the past decade, and China has advanced more than any other major country on the Human Development Index (HDI) list, from place 105 1990 to place 94 2006. At the same time, the socio-economic differences between urban and rural populations become one of the greatest in the world. This is particularly clear when comparing income and welfare in the cities on the east coast with rural inland. Traditionally, the gap is deep between peasants and urban people. Economic liberalization in the 1980s led to a rapid increase in purchasing power and standards in some rural areas, but around 1990 average urban incomes were still more than twice as high as in the countryside, and the differences have increased very sharply since then. Visit AbbreviationFinder to see the definitions of CHN and acronym for China. In China, on average, an urban resident now earns more than three times as much as a rural resident. Without the money sent by migrant workers, living conditions would be even worse in tens of thousands of villages. Until 2004, the Chinese state prioritized economic development in the cities. Of the tax-financed transfers, only one-seventh went to the countryside, where more than half the population lived. There, dissatisfaction increased and local revolts against corruption and injustice grew more and more. From 2004, the political leaders have been investing in economic growth there too, through tax and fee relief and investments. Of the tax-financed transfers, only one-seventh went to the countryside, where more than half the population lived. There, dissatisfaction increased and local revolts against corruption and injustice grew more and more. From 2004, the political leaders have been investing in economic growth there too, through tax and fee relief and investments. Of the tax-financed transfers, only one-seventh went to the countryside, where more than half the population lived. There, dissatisfaction increased and local revolts against corruption and injustice grew more and more. From 2004, the political leaders have been investing in economic growth there too, through tax and fee relief and investments.
For hundreds of years, Beijing has had extensive craftsmanship of consumer goods and luxury goods for the metropolitan population, and the city is still known for the manufacture of wool rugs, embroidery and lacquer works as well as jade, ivory and porcelain products. From 1950 to the late 1970s, the heavy industry grew in Beijing. An iron mill from the 1920s, based on deposits of iron ore and coal in the surrounding area, was expanded to an integrated steel mill. Associated metalworking factories have been added, as have oil refineries and petrochemicals, e. g. for the production of synthetic textile fibers. An extensive engineering industry manufactures agricultural and mining machinery, cars, generators, locomotives, jeeps and bicycles. Cotton from Hebei Province is a raw material for a large textile industry.
Beginning in the latter part of the 1980s, China’s largest concentration of electronics companies and other high-tech companies has emerged in the university district of northwestern Beijing, and in the past decade, the production of household appliances, precision instruments and paper and packaging materials has increased rapidly.
Ancient Beijing had several important market and business districts, e. g. Xidan west of the center and the area around Wangfujing Street east of Tiananmen. During the 1980s, and especially in the 1990s, both large shopping malls and numerous small specialty stores grew in different parts of Beijing. Many are state-owned, but the proportion of private individuals is increasing at a rapid rate. Since the mid-1980s, tourism has become an increasingly important source of income. Many large hotels have been built, and Beijing is visited annually by millions of tourists, both foreign and domestic. Furthermore, the city is the seat of the central bank and many other banks and financial institutions. Beijing has around 50 universities and professional colleges, among them the large Beijing University (Beida) and Qinghua University for higher technical education.
Agriculture in Beijing’s outer zone is intensively conducted, and a large part of the capital’s needs, mainly vegetables, fruits, poultry and freshwater fish, but also cereals can be covered from there. The coal fire, the many factories, the rapidly increasing traffic and the geographical location work together to give Beijing serious air pollution. Also, the water supply periodically causes concern as a result of uncertain rainfall and falling groundwater levels.
Public transport includes buses and metro. The traffic picture also includes trucks, vans, taxis and passenger cars and, above all, just over 8 million bicycles. Diesel- and electric-powered buses work relatively well, but are constantly overloaded and also down. Minibuses have in recent years become a popular means of transport, as well as, and to an even greater extent, cheap taxi, which is the most accidental means of transport. In order to improve the already overworked traffic system, additional peripheral ring roads are used. Furthermore, highways have been built to Tianjin off the coast and to the international airport, which is located almost 30 km northeast of the city center.
Archaeological excavations in modern times have shown that the area around Beijing was already inhabited by humans 500 years ago (Sinanthropus pekinensis or Homo erectus pekinensis). Throughout China’s long history, cities of different names, located in or near present-day B. , have served as principal places in feudal states or in independent states under Chinese rulers or foreign conquerors. During the Yuand dynasty (1271–1368), the city, then called Dadu (“the great capital”), served as the capital of the entire kingdom. Marco Polo, who visited Dadu in the 1280s, gives a detailed description of the magnificent city. When the first emperor of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) set up his capital in Nanjing (‘the southern capital’), Dadu was renamed Beiping(‘The Northern Peace’). At the end of the Third Mingke Emperor’s reign of Yongle (1403–25), Beiping became the capital, now under the name Beijing (‘The Northern Capital’). Many of the monumental buildings in the Forbidden City and the altars of heaven date from the Yongle period or are replicas of buildings that were erected then. Throughout the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912), Beijing served as China’s capital.
While the original square cityscape remained unchanged, many palaces, temples and parks were added, especially during the reigns of Kangxi (1662–1723) and Qianlong (1736–96). After the fall of the Qing Dynasty in 1912, Beijing served as the capital of the young republic until 1928, when it was replaced by Nanjing and regained its former name Beiping. The city was occupied by the Japanese in 1937-45. When the Chinese People’s Republic was proclaimed in 1949, Beijing again gained the rank of capital.
In modern times – especially since 1950 – the city of Beijing has completely changed its character. The city wall with its many gates and large parts of the old residential buildings has been leveled with the ground to give way to traffic routes, hotels, office buildings and administration buildings.