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tv   Witness  LINKTV  March 1, 2012 11:00am-11:25am PST

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annenberg media ♪ narrator: in the region of east asia, more than one-fifth of the world's population
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lives in china alone, and 45% of chinese live in the chang jiang, or yangtze, river basin. the snaking river is sometimes compared to a great dragon, in the chang jiang, the powerfulional symbol.. at its head is china's largest cityshanghai. here, we ere its historical geography as a strategic natural port sometimes occupied by colonial rulers. more recently, market reforms and foreign investment helped create a global business center here. now, rapid economic growth has re-shaped the city's urban geography. shanghai-- world mega-city... home to 17illion people, and by some counts, e most denselyopulated place on ear.
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it's now the economic capitala and point of contact for much foreign trade. shanghai is a center of research, development and higher education. most new chinese cars are now made here. migrants from the interior flock to make new lives here. but the surge in growth is relatively recent. until 1991, shanghai was stymied. why was it held back, and how did it boom? some of the answers may be found in china's historical geography, which colors its outlook toward foreigners. for centuries, the threat came over land, from the north and west. mongols and manchus frequently raided, and often ruled, chinese society. more recently, the invaders came by sea.
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following a victory in the opium wars, the british won concessions in several chinese ports, including shanghai in 1843. shanghai rched the zenith of its colonial power in the early 20th centur the outside presence can still be seen. the old foreign trading houses occupy prime positions on the waterfront strip called "the bund," a reference to german authority. ( machine gun fire ) ( explosion ) narrator: in 1937, japan invaded shanghai. its status as a trading city was virtually destroyed by the time chinese nationalists were driven from power by the communists 12 years later in 1949. after decades of a planned economy,
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beijing invited limited foreign investments in the 1980s. they wanted to spread the wealth around, so they chose locations based onultural connections and geography. from hong kong, then still british, adjacent guangdong was the natural place to invest. taiwan businesses preferred fujian. shanghai was passed over, in part because the communists feared its history, power and foreign influences. its fate changed when shanghai politicians ascended in beijing and designated their city a special economic zone in 1991. since then, shanghai has capitalized on its international legacy. ( man speaking mandarin ) translator: shanghai is the place where there has been a mixing of western culture with that of the east. shanghai has absorbed the best aspects of the cultures
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from around the world. woman: shanghai is what we call a learning location. it's where companies... foreign companies come lrn howo do businessinhi, and it's where thehineseearn how do you do ithwest--me what aspects of each system car to make it a place where we can do business together? the big shoretti foreigncompiesa is technology transfer and also innovation. and that means an exchange of ideas, and that's part of the vibrancy th's there. narrator: but what about shanghai's geography? what were the locational factors that gave rise to the city in the first place? 6:30 a.m., and the crew of the chiang sun no. 7 makes final preparation for its regular journey-- not out to sea, but in the opposite direction. shanghai is not just a seaport,
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but also the strategic gateway to inland china. it lies on the delta of the world's third longest river, the chang jiang, also known as the yangtze. it is asia's longest waterway, stretching more than 4,000 miles into china. captain gu will pilot his boat far to the west. ( speaking mandarin ) translator: my ship carries a mixed cargo of foodstuffs, medical supplies, farm produce and so on. but of course, priority is given to urgently needed supplies of one sort or another. narrator: the chang jiang is central china's lifeline and connection to the outside world. gu ( translated ): it offers a wide navigable course for ships. it flows smoothly along its course, so it is not plagued by strong winds or waves. so it provides favorable conditions
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for the transportation of goods. ( ship's horn blowing ) narrator: but the chang jiang has some shallow sections, both upstream and down, that affect the economy of shanghai. in both cases, china's new industrial might will try to overcome those limitations. upstream, the controversial three gorges dam shouldmprove navigation starting in 2009. the lakes behind the dams will allow oceangoing ships much largethan captain gu'toe. the improved artery will just wstrengthen links with shanghai as it opens the west to greater economic development. ( ship's horn blows ) back in shanghai itself, the city's port has long been a hub of conventional shipping. such craft serviced the city and even interior china. but the river's mouth carries much silt from erosion upstream.
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the deposits make it too shallow for the world's largest container ships. so in 1999, they dredged the river and greatly expanded capacity. but shanghai wants to compete with the world's largest ports like hong kong, singapore and taiwan. these cities operate transshipment ports, where containers are routed to and from destinations around the world. so shanghai is extending their influence out to sea. they are building a huge causeway connwhere they are buildings, a new deepwar port. the first terminal will take five years to complete. according to geographer james wang, it's a huge gamble. wang: maybe later on, the shipping lines change their mind, not using shanghai as a hub. so, major shipping lines can go
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to another port near shanghai like ningbo, because decentralization in china at this moment means that local ports can compete with each other to attract those major shipping lines, to use other ports instead of shanghai. shanghai may lose, there's a possibility. so shanghai is trying to use both economic means and administrative means to make sure that in future, shanghai will be the only hub in that area. narrator: but more than rivers were clogged here. shanghai had to use all its muscle to deal with other kinds of congestion, too. xiang ( translated ): dramatic changes have taken place in shanghai in the last few year however, little or nhing was done about urban services in shanghai.
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this led to a number of problems. for example, the streets became choked with traffic, there was air pollution and a growing shortage of housing. the size of metropolitan shanghai actually is aost exactly the same size as metropolitan atlanta. the difference in population again-- and metropolitan shanghai is a 17 miion people. people the population of... of the central city of atlanta is about 350,000. in shanghai, the central city is about ten million people. so it's intensely occupied lan narratorthe bestlacd was farther down ithe delta. now the metropolis is overtaking some of china's most fertile soil. the area is called pudong, and it's separated from the rest of shanghai
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by a natural barrier. the mighty chang jiang forms shanghai's northern boundary. but a smaller river, the huang pu, divides the old city to the st from pudong in the east. on one bank, the bunrepresents shanghai's colonial past. on the other, the chinese are building shanghai's future, symbolized by thorientalpel rad, visible here from space via the powerful ikonos satellite. chinese and foreigners alike now look across the river and see new power and new money. walcott: in pudong itself, you have lu xia hue, which is the financial district, as if you could... re-created manhattan in five years. it's an enormous forest of steel and glass skyscrapers that was erected with a bamboo forest of scaffolding
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and a huge amot of construction cranes. it's set up to be like a suburban western setting with lots of greenery, compared to shanghai. nxiang:r: shanghai is the largest industrial center for china, and it's also one of china's most economically developed areas. a lot of china's advanced scientific and technological development is centered in pudong. walcott: the americans are there in financial services, real estate services, education services, technology such as motorola, food services-- pepsi and coca-cola duking it out in the same industrial park. taiwanese are there-- huge semiconductor factories, billions of dollars of investment. singaporians are there in their industrial parks. germans are there in small and medium enterprises-- chemicals, petrochemicals. so it's a large and diverse foreign population
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essentially learning how to do business in china, both for export and for the vast domestic market they hope to develop. narrator: but all this growth presented a real problem for urban planners. shanghai's original port and airport are separated from pudong by the huang pu. some traffic flows through new bridges and tunnels, but big volume needed new infrastructure. ( man speaking mandarin ) translator: we developed the pudong area so that it had its own port, its own air terminal, its own railway facilities. in that way you would not need to have tunnels or bridges linking it to the city proper. narrator: the new chang jiang river port is here, close to the center of pudong. but the airport lies farther south and east. for some people, it's a little too far.
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it's lovely, it'vast, but it is somewhat underutilized. partially this is because there's so much infrastructure and location around hongqiao, the old airport. it takes a while to shift the center of gravity from one end of a city to another. an analogy might be between ronald reagan airport and dulles international. when dulles was first constructed way in the suburbs of reston, virginia, people thought, "that's crazy, who's going to go there?" i think it's really just a matter of time. narrator: as shanghai expands and attracts international visitors, it retraces its past, again becoming the gateway between east and west. it's from here that foreign business will access the great chinese market, clustered around their main artery. ( man speaking mandarin ) translator: i believe the chang jiang's waterways can be opened up to even more shipping in the future. shanghai is the "head of the dragon." it will serve to promote reform in the inland parts of china
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and those areas along the chang jiang river valley, opening them up to the outside world. shanghai's growth and expansion is a srce of great pride and excitement for china. it sort of says "we can do it." okay, we havchinese that are smart enough, that are clever enough, that are competitive enough that we can become the dragon's head that leads us. narrator: so shanghai builds on its historical geography as a strategic natural port, sometimes occupied by colonial rulers. more recently, market reforms and foreign investment helped create a global business center. rapid economic growth has reshaped the city's urban geography. as china modernizes, geographers see three major disparities among places here. the first is the uneven development
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between e wealier coastal provinces and the st, undeeveloped interior. we will look at the village of sijia, which has contact with both regions. it is located on china's most important transportation artery, the chang ang river. sijia is therefore exposed to people and goods moving between the poorer hinterland and the pacific coast, fewer than 200 miles to the east. the second great chinese disparity is between rural and urban places. although sijias always, cities like nanjing and shanghai have a growing impact. the third disparity is economic, between the agricultural and industrial sectors. we look at a growing "township enterprise" and see its impact on a small, rural town.
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october marks the rice harvest in china's chang jiang river basin. li many people inhe town of sijia, jiang guifang grows rice an. she even sells a surplus. bu0 m. each y, the rest of jiang's family join workers like these, not in the fields, bu0 m. eabut in new jobs that bring special prosperity to some chinese villages. this i e huafga factory, and its story illustrates the efforts to overcome some chinese disparities. onodera jun is a japanese geographer at the ursity of hong kong. it is 1994, and he has come he to understand
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the impact of new manufacturing on chinesearming villages. when it began in the mid-1970s, huafa garments company had only 20 employees. between 1984 and 1986, the factory grew rapidly. in 1990, it attracted its first foreign investors from hong kong. in 1994, the factory had 350 sewing machines and 450 employees. the workers have just finished an order for jeans. they will be shipped to hong kong and then to new york. whether run by a municipal government, village council or private individual, th type of business is called a "township enterprise." in 199 china had over 20 llion such busesses. township enterprise output grows almost ten percent a year,
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just adding to the disparity between industry and agriculture. the disparity has always existed, but now it is growing wider and wider because of the industrial... faster growth rate in the industrial sector. ( interviewer speaking mandarin ) translator: why did you decide to work here? ( speaking mandarin ) translator: i started working here 15 years ago, right after i graduated from middle school. this company is special. i've gotten attached to it, and it would be hard to leave. narrator: onodera visits the home of jiang guifang and her husband, rui chengyun. thremembers of their family work in the factory. jiang guifang is preparing lunch. today, it is green pepper and pork stir fry.
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an advantage for a farming town like sijia is that fresh vegetables are readily available. at 11:30 a.m., the factory closes for lunch. many employees live nearby, so they go home. the communist system once tried to ensure income for everyone in china. no longer. since market reforms, wages for these workers are tied to profs. they earn the equivalent of $25 to $35 per month. they work long hours. most employees work from 7:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m., daughter rui kaimei comes home from the factory where she makes sewing patterns. working so many hours there, her six-year-old daughter has been waiting eagerly.
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inijia, enclosed courtyards adjoin concrete houses like this one. this boy is another grandchild, the only son of rui's eldest s. ( boy squealing ) narrator: lunch is served. kaimei's husband also works in the factory. he is a purchasing agent. rui's daughter-in-law works in the factory's shipping department. in the 1970s and '80s, people were able to buy a few electrical appliances. jiang guifang tells us that their two-story concrete house was built in 1988,
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the same year they purchased this washing machine. this air conditioner was purchased in 1994. that year, about 30% of the villagers had a vcr. and several years before that, almost everyone here had bought a color television set. in the 21st century, consumer technology races forward. more families have dvd and vcd machines than vcrs. in fact, in china, it is difficult to find vcrs to play videotapes. narrator: in many places, cell phones have leapfrogged land lines. zong-guo xia: in chinese, the cell phone is called "big brother's talk machine." it's sort of like an indicator of your economic well-being and your social status.
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narrator: in 2003, 12% of urban chinese families owned a personal computer, and many more connect to the internet through public cafes. although rural life changes more slowly, farmers, too, find new leisure. zong-guo xia: they changed from three crops a year to just one croa year. when they compare their living standard today with what they had, life on the farm is much easier today than 20 or 30 years ago. ( speaking mandarin ) translator: in our village, there isn't anyone who is really poor. almost everyone lives in the same kind of house. the reason for this is simple. it's the factory. everyone works in the factory and has an income. three or four members, or even seven members of a family, work in the factory. with everyone working, you can accomplish great things, like building a house.
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narrator: the family as a whole earns the equivalent of $1,200 a yr. farming income represents only a small fraction of the whole. merising incomes have fostered lively free market in sijia. despite the rising incomes, the garment factory is growing so fast today that the village can no longer supply all its workers. almost 20% of employees have come here from neighboring anhui province, just to the west. everyone works very hard, but migrants have few amenities. ( speaking japanese ) translator: as more foreign capital flows into the area, more labor is needed than can be supplied locally.


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