Baylor College Medical School
161 3. China And India: Two Giants of Asia
161 3. After Mao Zedong died, moderate leaders took control of China. Deng Xiaoping began a program called the Four Modernizations, which allowed some features of a free-market economy. Some private ownership of property was permitted, and entrepreneurs could set up businesses. Farmers were allowed to sell surplus produce and keep the profits. Foreign investment was also welcomed. These reforms brought a surge of economic growth, although a gap developed between poor farmers and wealthy city dwellers. After 30 years of reforms, China's economic output quadrupled.
Despite these economic reforms, however, Communist leaders refused to allow more political freedom. Demonstrators seeking democratic reforms occupied Tiananmen Square in Beijing in May 1989. WHEN THE DEMONSTRATORS REFUSED TO DISPERSE, THE GOVERNMENT SENT IN TROOP AND TANKS. Thousands were killed or wounded.
China continues to face many challenges. Its population is the largest in the world. The government started the one-child policy to prevent population growth from hurting economic development. Population growth slowed. Many rural workers have moved to cities, but they often live in poverty there. Pollution and HIV/AIDS are also problems. Critics of the government are jailed, and human rights abuses continue.
By contrast, India is the world's largest democracy. After gaining independence, India's government adopted a command economy, but development was uneven. The Green Revolution in the 1960s improved crop output, but most farmers continued to used traditional methods. In the 1980s, India shifted toward a free-marked system. By the 1990s, several Indian industries were expanding rapidly.
Despite these improvements, India's population growth has hurt efforts to improve living conditions. The Indian government backed family planning, but it had limited success. More than one-third of Indians live below the poverty line. Many rural families moved to overcrowded cities like Kolkata and Mumbai. To help the urban poor, Mother Teresa founded the Missionaries fof Charity.
Changes in India have brought improvements for India's lowest social castes and women. India's constitution bans discrimination against dalits, people in the lowest caste, but prejudice persists. The constitution also grants equal rights to women.
3. Which country, India or China, has had more success in limiting population growth?