China is still a developing country and its level of development should not be overestimated, according to an article by Bo Xilai, Chinese minister of commerce, on the 14th page of People's Daily on May 23, 2005.
Bo said, though China has jumped to the front rankings of the world in terms of economic aggregate, its per capita GDP in 2004 was just a little more than US$1,200. While the per capita GDP in richer costal areas is US$2,000, US$3,000 or more, that in the central areas has not reached US$1,000 and that in the western region is even lower.
By the standard of absolute poverty, China still has over 26 million poor people in rural areas. In addition, based on the standard of the United Nations, i.e. an annual per capita income of US$100, more than 80 million Chinese people are living under the standard line and over 20 million urban residents are aided by subsistence allowance. It should be recognized that the Chinese government is still under heavy pressure of overcoming poverty, which, judged from China's national conditions, can not be relieved without long and hard struggles.
Despite China's vast area, its per capita cultivated area is at a low level, only one seventh of the world average. Bo said, India's area is less than China's, but India has 30 million hectares of cultivated land more than China. In addition, in terms of natural conditions, India faces sea on two sides, which is an advantage over China, who faces sea only on one side.
As for natural resources, China lags far behind developed countries. For example, Australia, with a population of over 20 million, boasts rich resources. China's export of coal, which is one of the most abundant resources in the country, was only less than 100 million tons last year, while 20-million-people Australia exported 220 million tons. Therefore, essential economic factors such as resources and arable land show that China has to conquer a lot of difficulties.
China is still at the lowest end of international industrial division of labor, with low productive value added and low international competitiveness. Recently, people are discussing the issue of Chinese textile products. Textile integration is an important right China gained at the cost of necessary concessions in other aspects. Chinese products are low in profit due to the large contingent of textile workers. The average profit of one exported shirt is only US$30-40 cents, far lower than the gains by foreign importers and retailers. To a large extent, what we earn is just the processing fee. However, we had to take such a path, because the size of China's trade was rather small.
For further development, China must carefully study the relationship between development and resources and must advance along a path of scientific development to ease the conflict between economic development and the restriction of resources.
By People's Daily Online