Jiangnan 江南 - West of Shanghai, toward Suzhou

Farm fresh produce goes where the traffic goes. Some of the vendors still farm, others have transitioned to the role of middle-man on their first step toward the burgeoning middle-class. The gap between rich and poor is widening. It is worst when you compare rural versus urban workers. The Chinese government made additional tax adjustments in 2006 to relieve the tax burden in the rural areas to support income levels. Further, they have put new measures in place to ensure free education in rural areas. This is the most difficult area of planning.

Schools get their primary support from local governments. Schools have used fees for books, heat, food, and supplies to supplement meager budgets. Those fees, while small, are beyond the means of many of the poorest families. Finding qualified teachers to teach at pay levels significantly below urban is nearly impossible. In the Jiangnan area, one of the richest agricultural areas of China, schools and education are better supported, but for many in rural areas the road to the middle-class is blocked by inadequate facilities and textbooks.

China Index >> History of Shanghai and Suzhou Region >> Jiangnan, Rural Shanghai

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Last update: February 2007
© Marilyn Shea 1996, 1999, 2002, 2007