Life in a changing China

May 27, 12:00 PM

Since 1978, China has changed beyond recognition thanks to its economic boom. 800 million people have been lifted out of poverty as GDP per capita has grown eighty times. Some 60 per cent of the country now live in cities and towns, compared to just 18 per cent before.

But you know all this. What’s less talked about is what that does to the people and families who live through these changes. What is it like to have such a different life to your parents before you, and your grandparents before then? How have people made the most of the boom, and what about those who’ve been left behind?

A fascinating new book, Private Revolutions, tells the personal stories of four millennial women who were born as these changes took place. Its author, Yuan Yang, is a former Financial Times journalist and now a Labour party candidate, standing in the next election. She joins this episode.

Further listening: Life on the margins: how China’s rural deprivation curbs its success, with Professor Scott Rozelle.

Produced by Cindy Yu and Joe Bedell-Brill.