A Brief Economic Profile on Guizhou, China

Trade:

A province with no human capital buys it. 

Despite being the poorest economy in China, Guizhou holds many strong trade relationships with other regions and countries.  The Guizhou Province imports and exports around 1.4 billion US dollars of goods annually.  Locally manufactured commodities are exported to 124 regions and countries, resulting in 859 million dollars of goods, and imports from 54 countries and regions amounts to 545 million dollars of goods (Doing Business in Guizhou).  Guizhou is also contracted with many overseas partners to prepare “a large number of engineering projects” in the region.  Most of these contracts are signed with Singapore, Dominica, and Ghana (Doing Business in Guizhou).

Democracy and Freedoms:

China is an ultra-capitalistic economy with socialistic freedoms.  Don’t let the 7% annual GDP growth fool you, Chinese citizens aren’t quite free.  

Chinese residents, even those of the Guizhou Province, have very few democratic freedoms.  In the short history of the People’s Republic of China, the Chinese people have already experienced many disheartening times. The party’s omnipotent rule has fostered the inquisition of intellectuals, or rightists, during the Great Proletariat Cultural Revolution, the massacres at Tiananmen Square in 1989, and in recent times, the suppression of many protests.  In the Guizhou Province, there have been a number of protests involving migrant workers in recent years.  In August 2011, many migrant workers protested to express their disgust about the income gap in the urban economic center, Guiyang, the capital of Guizhou (Lodish).

Responsible Monetary and Fiscal Policy:

The flourishing of a new relationship with Beijing.

During the Tenth Five-Year Plan, 3.07 billion yuan were invested into urban infrastructure in the Guizhou Province.  These investments restored dilapidated buildings, repaved numerous roads, and revamped many public facilities to bring them up to builders’ code.  China paid for these improvements “in the form of national debt, plus 272 million yuan in the form of provincial financial subsidies” (Nanning International Conference On Sustainable Urban Development).  Also, the party invested in water-supplying projects, which, along with many sewage disposal plans, will keep the cities cleaner, and the people thriving (2005 Nanning International Conference On Sustainable Urban Development).

Human Capital:

Guizhou’s human capital problem is an education problem.  

In rural provinces, like Guizhou, people don’t have the resources necessary to cultivate their full potential.  Some of these resources are access to a quality education, sufficient means to acquire an end (whether that be fertilizer for a farmer or tools for a miner), or the access to democratic freedoms.  In Guizhou, many of those who reside in the outskirts of the large cities don’t have access to education.  Many families put work before schooling.  The action of removing children from school prohibits the blooming of their talents, limiting the potential of their human capital later on.

Female Involvement:

Because of Mao, women can now start to cultivate. 

According to the China Daily, female “entrepreneurs are playing a big role in China’s economy and the country is making new efforts to foster [female] entrepreneurship” (Women Play Big Role in China’s Economy).  The All-China Women’s Federation claims that in recent years there “is a strong rise in women entrepreneurship in China.”  Many sources in China, including the China Daily, have been notorious for fabricating the truth.  Therefore, any evidence they cite, or claim, may be exaggerated or even false.  On a personal note, I experienced female involvement in the agricultural economy in Xichang, a city in Sichuan, China.  Women, along with men, worked in the rice paddies and cultivated corn and other crops.

Natural Resources:

Guizhou: pushing the boundaries of what many conceive as a natural resource. 

The geography of Guizhou boasts a plethora of natural resources, some of which are capable of contributing to the meeting of China’s high energy demands.  The province is also home to a numerous amount of minerals, some, native to the region.  “Among the 123 kinds of discovered minerals,” twenty-two are the most abundant in all of China (Guizhou Province Profile).  “province is particularly strong in the reserves of coal, phosphorus, mercury, aluminum, manganese, antimony, gold, barite, raw materials for cement and bricks, as well as dolomite, sandstone and limestone” (Guizhou Province Profile).  Because of the massive amounts of rainfall in the region, Guiyang has hydro-power generating resources of 18.74 million kilowatts.  Hydro-power generators are unique natural source of energy in all of China’s rural provinces (Guizhou Province Profile).

Regulations:

 Whatever Beijing says, Guizhou does.

Many of the economic regulations implemented in Beijing are imperative to the continual growth of the Chinese economy.  Many of the regulations, according to China.org, evolve to meet the current global economic circumstance.  Policy makers rewrote regulations after the fall of Lehman Brothers Bank in 2007.  The collapse of the investment firm triggered a domino effect of banks liquidating globally.  But because of these changed regulations, all major Chinese investment firms stayed afloat.  Before the collapse, China tightened currency policy to prevent potential inflation, however after the fall of Lehman Brothers, China loosened many monetary policies to promote more borrowing between banks and the state (Macro Regulations Indispensable to China’s Economy).  Clearly Chinese economic regulations are an ever-changing phenomenon.  Chinese policy makers are flexible enough to adapt the regulations to meet the current global situation.

Stability and Security:

An economy built on stilts is bound to fall, despite the party’s claims.

Inflation of the Renminbi is a constant worry for the Chinese government.  In recent years, however, the Renminbi has been stable; therefore, in the eyes of the Chinese government, the economy is less turbulent (Gang).  Despite the claims of a secure currency, the rights of workers are being violated daily, which leads to economic insecurity.  In the Guizhou Province, there have been protests involving migrant workers – some as recent as August 2010 (Lodish).  These protests, which sometimes escalate to riots, act as a lens for more significant issues. Specific issues include workers’ rights violations, massive income disparities between different economic classes, and the lack of many democratic freedoms.  Of course, this turbulence overwhelms a stable economy.

Government Institutions:

With help from Beijing, growth should be certain. 

In response to the tremendous amount of roads that, to American standards, are unsafe, Party officials from Beijing, along with some from the Guizhou province, are starting to reinforce, and supervise, a stricter form of city planning and development (2005 Nanning International Conference On Sustainable Urban Development). In years past, despite Beijing and other economically prosperous provincial governments working symbiotically on city-level projects, accounts have surfaced that poor provinces, like Guizhou, have received very little aid comparatively from Beijing.  Because of the lack of monetary funding, this neglect has created an inadequate system of roads and public infrastructure.  Today, however, Guizhou is getting more help from Beijing; moreover, Guizhou is following the “traditional management pattern of the government taking on everything,” but with Beijing’s guiding hand (2005 Nanning International Conference On Sustainable Urban Development). Up until recently, Guizhou’s public institutions have been labeled as inadequate (Wright), but with the newfound help of Beijing, there is hope that a stronger system of roads and other public institutions will be developed in the near future.

Property Rights:

The only people in China who have property rights are the super-wealthy who have a network of party connections.  

Quite often, land developers would “buy lands-use rights in central Beijing from the government for about 10% of the final value of the projects they plan to build” (Pan).  Wealthy land developers often would get approved for development from party officials “without going through the trouble of buying or seizing them from homeowners first” (Pan).  Then, according to Pan, if the homeowners don’t give up their homes, the developers will often conspire with party officials to force them out (Pan).  Because of this, people endure daily, wondering if they too will soon have an eviction notice slabbed on their front door, even though their family has been living in the same dwelling since the Qing Dynasty.

Geography:

Despite the many days of annual rain fall, the peoples’ crops go dry. 

The geography of the Guizhou Province is mostly composed of high mountains, and despite the many days of rain, the topsoil is quite dry. “87 percent mountainous, 10 percent hilly, and 3 percent valley,” Guizhou is home to a very small amount of arable land (Wright).Despite the many days of annual rainfall, the water seeps far too deeply into the soil for acquisition.  There are many modern technologies capable of extracting the water, and they are being implemented to supply the cities, but the water source is out of the peasants’ reach.  of the harshness of the geography, the farmers of the Guizhou Province face large difficulties when cultivating crops.

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