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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria University, Wellington N.Z. Vol. 22, No. 2. March 23, 1959


The Chinese People's Government has placed a heavy emphasis on industrialisation. The First Five Year Plan set aside £11,000 million for economic and cultural development; of this, approximately one-third was devoted to industry. The accent was on heavy industry, which has absorbed nine-tenths of the expenditure, and here the U.S.S.R. has played a major role by assisting in the construction of 156 key industrial plants.

The new pattern of industry is a planned pattern, determined by several considerations: the siting of new projects near raw material or fuel sources to cut down transport; the need to achieve a better balance of industry and agriculture in each region; the need to raise the economic level of minority regions to end the former wide inequalities between these regions and the rest of China; and the strategic need to avoid the exposed and vulnerable coastal areas.

This means that, while existing centres such as Shanghai and the North-east are being modernised and strengthened, the main impact of industrialisation has been in the interior. Two-thirds of the major industrial projects during the First Five Years were constructed in the interior and here the rate of industrial expansion has been twice as rapid as in the coastal margins.

The rise of the heavy industrial region centreing on Lanchow is a striking manifestation of this new industrial surge, so, too, is the emergence of the new iron and steel centre of Paotow in the grasslands of Inner Mongolia. Few, if any, of the cities of the interior have escaped the impact of industrialisation; the great areas of new factory development around old cities such as Sian or Chengtu, seen from the air, are dramatic reminders of the massiveness of the achievement.