La grande migrazione cinese

PECHINO – La provincia cinese dell'Henan ha una popolazione di circa 100 milioni di abitanti – più di molte nazioni del mondo. Nel sistema amministrativo cinese, le province sono il più alto livello di governo sub-nazionale, seguite da contee, comuni, e villaggi. Ma un villaggio nella provincia del Guangdong può facilmente arrivare a contare una popolazione compresa tra i 500.000 e il milione di abitanti – più di molti comuni fuori dalla Cina. È quindi difficile sopravvalutare il peso delle questioni regionali – ed in particolare delle disparità inter-regionali – nella politica cinese.

La Cina è divisa per natura. Tra tutte le vaste nazioni continentali, India e Brasile compresi, solo la Cina ha un piccolo segmento di costa ma estese regioni interne. Finché la principale preoccupazione degli uomini era l'approvvigionamento di cibo, questo non era un problema, poiché ciò che più contava era la disponibilità di acqua e terra. Ma in una moderna società industriale, urbana e basata sugli scambi, i costi di trasporto  acquisiscono sempre più importanza. Questo implica che la geografia può provocare profondi squilibri regionali.

Sebbene certamente queste disparità possano avere altre cause, la geografia sembra spiegare molto. Prima di tutto, spiega perché le regioni costiere cinesi si sono sviluppate prima e più velocemente quando il Paese ha inaugurato le riforme di mercato e si è aperto al mondo. Non sono stati favoritismi o un'allocazione delle risorse pilotata dal Governo a far sì che le città costiere si sviluppassero così rapidamente, ma piuttosto è stato merito della loro prossimità all'oceano, che era e rimane il mezzo più economico per spostare merci e risorse.

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