Since initiating market reforms in 1978, China has experienced rapid economic and social development. It has lifted more than 800 million people out of poverty and boasts the fastest sustained GDP expansion by a major economy in history.
There is clear evidence of this growth in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province. The city has as many skyscrapers over 1000ft in construction as New York has built to date. The Greenland centre which sits on the south bank of the Yangtze, will become the tallest building in China and 4th tallest in the world when completed in 2019.
Despite its progress, China exhibits some major contradictions both socially and environmentally. It is the world’s leading country in electrical production from renewable sources yet remains the largest carbon polluter globally. It is estimated that over 1 million people in China die each year from a pollution related illness. There is also a great disparity between rich and poor. As China grows, equal opportunities and social mobility may be an unattainable dream for the vast majority of its population.