The recent NPC session focused on rural problems and the new mantra is the "New Socialist Countryside". The sense is that there are deep problems out there in the paddy fields, and the threat of unrest is in the air.
There is obviously SOMETHING going on, but what puzzles me is that I spend a fair amount of time in the Chinese countryside – in Anhui, one of the poorest provinces – and I sense prosperity. growth and progress. People I speak to say "Anhui is poor, we are poor", but ask them how things are compared to a few years ago, and they light up. "Oh, MUCH better!"
I see mobile phones, and lots of construction of new houses. I see wedding processions with several cars and vans packed with people looking hopeful, I see fields of rice and tea, and trucks loaded high with produce heading for market. It is totally subjective and possibly inaccurate, but I do not sense trouble brewing.
So I don’t doubt the need for changes to rural policy. But I am puzzled that I am not seeing it on my travels.