Reconfigurar o Futuro Urbano da China

BEIJING – Cerca de 100 milhões de Chineses vivem em pobreza extrema, e perto de 275 milhões gastam menos do que 2 dólares por dia. A esmagadora maioria dos pobres da China vive em áreas rurais, e, para muitos, a esperança de uma vida melhor reside nas cidades, onde é mais fácil encontrar empregos mais bem remunerados. Na verdade, durante as últimas três décadas e meia, uns impressionantes 500 milhões de Chineses já fizeram esse caminho, elevando a proporção urbana da população do país de menos de 20% em 1980 para metade, hoje em dia. Em 2030, espera-se que 70% de todos os Chineses vivam em cidades.

A urbanização da China apoiou inquestionavelmente o impressionante crescimento e a rápida transformação económica do país. As suas cidades forneceram terrenos baratos e mão-de-obra abundante, ao mesmo tempo que os governos locais se empenharam em atrair de investimento e criar empregos.

Mas as tensões começam a ser visíveis. O modelo de crescimento da China, assente no investimento e nas exportações, está a perder vitalidade. A expansão e a congestão urbanas alastram, fomentando a agitação entre os agricultores, que se sentem espoliados pela perda das suas terras – uma fonte vital de garantias para a dívida dos governos locais (que actualmente totaliza 30% do PIB).

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