Top 20 development trends in China over the next 20 years (part 4)

By Li Jingrong
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, October 6, 2014
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13. Prices will continue to rise.

China will continue to see population growth over the next 20 years. As people demand a higher quality of life, prices will continue to rise, especially food prices.

Urbanization is a major factor. As large tracts of farmland are being taken over for building factories and commercial housing, overall cropland area has fallen sharply. This quickly translates into higher prices for agricultural products like peppers, ginger, mung beans and garlic.

Urbanization also impacts the soaring price of housing. A large number of rural migrants are moving into big cities to seek jobs and large numbers of college graduates seeking to enter the job market flood cities each year. Increased demand for housing is quickly reflected in higher rents. The transformation and demolition of old city areas also contributes to rising prices in the housing market.

This will continue for at least 10 years until the city population begins to decline. Real estate plays an important role in the national economy. If the country uses inflation to maintain real estate market stability, it only means that other prices will continue to surge.

14. Urban poor at the bottom of society become the main source of crime

As urbanization accelerates, the urban poor population will exceed that in rural areas to form the majority of the impoverished population. These people live in cities featuring a high cost of living, so once they lose their jobs, their survival will immediately be threatened.

The urban poor are engaged in low value-added work that could disappear or be replaced at any time. Facing an unstable life with few prospects for improvement, many of these people have turned to crime, becoming the main perpetrators of burglary, robbery and rape.

To cope, the social security system should gradually be improved. The government should strengthen skill training at the grass-roots level and strengthen the enforcement of compulsory minimum education so that all citizens can receive an education. Society should also care for the urban poor instead of discriminating against them.

15. Gender issues will become increasingly prominent

Adherence to the long-outdated view of valuing men and belittling women only ensures that Chinese men will pay a high price in the future.

Due to the one-child family planning policy, many couples holding this outdated view chose abortion once the fetus is confirmed to be a girl.

Statistics show that the male to female ratio at birth in China is 116:100, while some specific areas are much worse. Some experts have questioned the statistic, saying it is not that serious. However, the prospect that 35 million men will never be able to find a bride creates concern that a huge social problem is emerging, inevitably leading to increased social instability, high crime rates, promotion of the sex industry leading to increased infectious diseases including AIDS, and a higher divorce rate.

Males born in the 1990s and the following decade will face the most pressure in finding a spouse because of the serious imbalance between males and females. Many will have to choose a wife from among those single women born in the 1970s, known by the derogatory term “leftover” women.

Parents who once considered themselves clever in making a decision in favor of “selective abortion” will have to worry about finding a bride for their son, an event of major social significance.

16. Rapidly growing shortage of water resources will lead to a sharp surge in prices

Surface water has constantly been polluted for decades, and a growing shortage of drinking water is becoming a big problem. Once the Yellow River runs dry, the Yangtze River -- the largest waterway in China -- will follow suit.

In winter, many areas will face a severe drinking water shortage. Therefore, water purification and water management will become vitally important in the next 20 years, as the price of water continues to rise.

Water pollution is another problem. If the government doesn't increase the protection of freshwater resources by completely shutting down heavy-polluting enterprises in key river basins, such as those in the papermaking and chemical industries, the consequences will be too dreadful to contemplate.

The gap between rich and poor will then focus on a gap between abilities to avoid harmful substances in daily life. "Drinking poison to quench thirst" -- an old Chinese saying -- will become a reality for many Chinese people. Outbreaks of mass poisoning are very likely to occur.

Top 20 development trends in China over the next 20 years (part 3)

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