The rapid growth of China's economy over the past three decades has been greeted with largely unquestioned assumptions that increasing affluence would lead to a happier, wealthier and more equitable society.
Of course, such assumptions came with an implicit acceptance that some would get rich faster, but also that these benefits would eventually trickle down. The emergence of a middle class, combined with high levels of personal savings and low levels of personal debt, offers tantalising evidence of China's new-found wealth.
Yet, behind these headlines, there is compelling evidence that although economic growth has created vast wealth for some, it has amplified the disparities between rich and poor. These disparities indicate an often hidden vulnerability in China's rapid growth, but one which is neither unique nor new to China's leadership. Full story>>