The rapid economic growth of China since the 1990s has resulted in the creation of massive wealth. However, this advancement has led to negative consequences of social-economic inequalities among Chinese people. Social-economic inequality is a state of a nation whereby people have different social and economic status based on income, education, and occupation. Social-economic inequalities result from income disparity arising from the economic reforms of the country that result in a group of high-income and low-income earners (Hua, 2012). The rising income inequality in China caused by the country’s economic reforms since 1990 has resulted in the social-economic inequalities experienced in the country.
The main cause of social-economic inequalities in China is the rapid growth of the country’s economy over the past three decades. The Chinese economy is the second largest in the world after the U.S economy. China has recorded a gross domestic product growth rate of 18 percent from 2006 to 2011, making it the most improved economy in the recent past. Despite the tremendous growth of the Chinese economy, the distribution of the household income has not been uniform, with the incomes of the poor growing but those of the rich growing faster (Shambaugh, 2013). It has been fueled by the formulation of development policies that favor heavy industries, big cities, and other economic zones in coastal areas, thus benefiting urban residents while rural dwellers continue to languish in poverty.
The wealth gap between urban and rural residents has greatly contributed to the rise of the social-economic inequality in China. The inequality between urban and rural dwellers can be described by the disparities in the access to basic social amenities such as medical services and education whereby urban residents have full access to quality health care and education services, unlike rural residents who struggle to access basic health care facilities and education. Economic statistics indicate that China has eradicated urban poverty through the provision of government subsidy paid to urban dwellers to boost their minimum income level to at least 700 dollars. According to the China Household Income Project, in 2013, the number of people living in cities below the minimum income level was 1.6 percent (Stuart, 2015). Rural dwellers have been neglected in the development agenda, thus widening the social-economic gap between urban residents and rural dwellers.
The social-economic inequalities in China have led to severe consequences for both social and economic classes. The poor and the rich in China are adversely affected by this inequality, hence, the need for the Chinese government to respond to this issue. Due to the massive economic growth of the Chinese urban areas, there is a likelihood of human resource constraint in the future. The Chinese economy can only be collectively driven by all people irrespective of their current social or economic class. Therefore, the social-economic inequality experienced in China will lead to the shortage of educated personnel to steer the economic growth because the best education systems are availed to urban dwellers while neglecting people in rural areas (Heckman & Yi, 2012). The current trend of inequality will have an adverse effect on the education status of Chinese people since the Chinese government is still struggling to offer primary education to poverty-stricken citizens in rural areas.
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The development of Chinese cities has been intense in the recent past as a result of the rapid economic growth experienced in China since the 1990s. This factor has led to high levels of social-economic inequalities that have caused a rapid movement of people from rural areas to urban centers in search of better lives. The massive rural-urban migration in China can be closely associated with the rising levels of social-economic inequalities (Osnos, 2014). The urbanization has resulted in the congestion of main cities in China, thus raising the demand for the resources available. The urban life, which has been described as the best life in China, is becoming miserable, especially for the new entrants who migrate from rural areas with little funds to sustain their stay in urban centers.
In conclusion, Chinese economic reforms have caused the social-economic inequality that divided the population into the poor and the rich. The inequality should be mitigated because it had an adverse impact on all citizens due to the probability of the human resource management constraint, as well as the urbanization caused by the migration of the poor to big cities.
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Cultural productions and main cultural events in China such as cinemas, music, television shows, and the Olympics have been great instruments of sending social and political signals to Chinese people and the entire world in China’s post-reform era. Television shows and programs have contributed intensively to the contemporary life in China in the last three decades. This influence can be clearly witnessed by considering the dramatic growth in the industry, changes in macro policies, technological advancements, the entry of a greater number of foreign television networks in the country, and the rapid diversification of programs offered on Chinese television (Osnos, 2014). Due to these developments in Chinese television shows, it has been given more focus in the discussions of the contemporary Chinese culture because such shows convey social signals regarding Chinese culture to not only the Chinese people but also the whole world.
The diversity of Chinese television offers both social and political messages to people through the introduction of talk shows, serial dramas, reality television shows, and commercial programs that provide useful insights to individuals to broaden their social, economic, and political thinking. Television as a social medium is playing a significant role in expanding the public roles and influence in the social and political perspective. The television network in China has provided a good avenue for telling the Chinese story to Chinese people and the whole world. It has played numerous roles such as a communication channel, cultural center, entertainment arena, and educational center. The roles have provoked dialog and enthusiasm among Chinese people, thus shaping their social and political orientation. The introduction of international television networks in China has enabled the conveyance of social and political messages in the post-reform era to the international audiences, hence spreading Chinese social, economic, and political culture to other parts of the world (Pye, 2015).
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Contemporary music in modern China has significantly contributed to the social and political development of China. Modern live music concerts, mass performances, and other verbal discussions in the media allow Chinese people to express their opinions, thus creating a common culture for all people. Cultural music has been modified to give a new touch to the entire Chinese population through the integration of Chinese cultural values with the modern values resulting from the social, economic, and political developments (Loyalka, 2012). The cultural production of modern music in China sends messages of social and political advancement through provoking Chinese people to embrace new cultural developments around the world to meet the international expectations. China has a rich culture that has been protected and preserved for many centuries with minimal influence from the other countries’ cultures.
The commercialization and technological development of Chinese media have played a major role in the social and political development of China in the past two decades. Despite the excessive government control over the role of media in sensitizing people about emerging issues, Chinese media have grown drastically, hence sending messages of the social and political prosperity of China. Apart from sensitizing individuals about the emerging issues, media system in China also focuses on the development of cultural values of its people. The media system provides a strong background for cultural and literacy production and dissemination, which facilitates the development of the social and political orientation of Chinese people. The main cultural and literacy productions in China are accessible on the internet; therefore, people from different parts of the world can obtain them and familiarize themselves with the rich Chinese culture (Loyalka, 2012). This shows that Chinese media platform sends social and political messages not only to the Chinese people but also to international audiences.
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Furthermore, main cultural events in the Chinese calendar are also crucial in the development of Chinese culture because they send social and political messages to the Chinese people and citizens of other countries of the world. The main events in the Chinese calendar include Chinese New Year Eve, Chinese New Year (Spring Festival), Lantern Festival, and Zhonghe Festival also referred to as the Blues Dragon Festival. These cultural events strengthen Chinese culture through the conservation of the culture by avoiding the influence of the Western culture. These festivals are aired on the national television, and all the proceedings are shown in cinemas, which make them have a modern touch (Pye, 2015). Through technological developments, China can broadcast its cultural events to Chinese people and people in other parts of the world, thus sending social and political signals to the local and international audiences.
To conclude, cultural productions and events in China have served as the important vehicles for political and social messages. In particular, they have shaped Chinese political and social orientation, spread the information about Chinese culture to other nations, motivated people to embrace new cultural experiences, and developed cultural values, among others.