White Horse Village: The Story of China
History has never seen hundreds of millions of people emancipated from poverty, rapid industrialization and urbanization, the way China has. China did this by doubling its GDP three times in three decades, with an annual growth rate of about 8%. What took the West a hundred years to accomplish, China did in about half the time. If you can imagine it, think about a farmer who turns into a factory manager and turns his land into ownership of multiple rental apartments that pays for his pension. And imagine him seeing his children come from a peasant lifestyle to become highly skilled and educated yuppies whose time has arrived.In a stunning and epic documentary shot over four years, the BBC showed us how China did it in the transformation of a small sleepy town to a busy commercial district. It was all part of China’s plan to develop the Western part of the country and to decongest the East. Wuxi County is part of the city of Chongqing, which owns a population of 32 million and perhaps now according to some estimates, the biggest city in the world. The Three Gorges project will bring commerce to this rising new city. White Horse Village is in midst of three large cities, Chongqing, Wuhan, and Xian. This verdant land of rice fields sat in the way of progress.
Now imagine, everything you had built in your lifetime being swallowed up by the tide of progress. In the words of Carrie Gracie, “Like many other nameless villages before it, White Horse Village must make the necessary sacrifice. All of its emerald rice fields are disappearing under concrete. The houses the farmers built themselves, houses they were married in, houses their children were born in, are being demolished…Even the ancestors have to go. Their very graves are being moved.”
In the end, White Horse Village remains another bitter sweet story of a country in flux, a country that looks to the sacrifices of its people to collectively achieve their goal of progress.
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