Wednesday, July 14, 2010
The Chinese People
It is common knowledge that China has one of the largest populations in the world. The country has in excess of 1,3 billion people – that’s almost five times the United States population, over 27 times the South African Population and over 260 times the Irish Population.
Ironically though, China has the largest concentration of English speaking people across the world. But, it is extremely difficult to find an English speaking Chinese person in the city. This has led to us traveling the city with a list of addresses written in simplified mandarin so that we can let the taxi cab driver know our intended destination. At first, this was quite a nerve wrecking exercise because, not being able to read mandarin, we had no idea what was actually written on the lists.
Like most developing nations, there is a visible wealth gap among the people of China. (Using the city of Beijing as a reference.) The official statistics and reports claim that the gap between the wealthy and the poor has decreased substantially, but some of the UIBE university lecturers that we`ve spoken to disagree.(Gini co-efficient of 0,47). Life for many of the people in the rural areas has not changed much – they continue to live in stark poverty. The streets of Beijing city are filled with “rural” immigrants that have come to the city in search of jobs. It has become common to have “beggars” tugging away at our shirts’ pleading for money and food. However, there is also a healthy community of industrious rural Chinese people (traders) that fill the streets through the days and evenings, choosing to work for themselves instead of begging for small change in the streets. These people erect stalls on the pavements of the city each day (through to late hours of the evening) and sell anything from fruit, Chinese beads and “almost Nike and Adidas” sneakers and t-shirts.
Posted by LP at 9:25 AM