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China's Got a Rust Belt Too, You Know

China's Got a Rust Belt Too, You Know

Reviving the steel and coal industries is central to US President Donald Trump’s pledge to “Make America Great Again.” But the decline of industrial heartlands is also a political challenge for the country that Trump blames most for the anguish of America’s Rust Belt.


Dongbei, a region comprising three provinces in northeastern China, was once the country’s industrial powerhouse. Its massive steel and manufacturing plants, built in part by Japanese occupiers in the years before World War Two, were the engine of the Maoist economy for decades.

But over the past 30 years, the region, home to more than 100 million people, has hit the skids. The export-oriented economic reforms of the 1980s shifted the government’s attention from Dongbei’s largely landlocked heavy industries to lighter manufacturing centers along the Chinese coast.

As a result, Dongbei’s contribution to GDP has fallen by half, to about 7 percent, since 1980, and there isn’t much relief in sight. Beijing’s massive new Belt and Road Initiative focuses primarily on transit corridors across the country’s Western provinces. And Dongbei’s neighbors — impoverished North Korea and the sparsely populated reaches of the Russian Far East and Mongolia — offer little economic prospect on their own.

Unlike Trump, who seeks to revive struggling private sector heavy industries, Chinese President Xi Jinping aims to move the economy away from state-owned heavy industry and towards state-backed high value manufacturing and tech.

But President Xi has his own Rust Belt challenge then: how to pull off that economic transition without upending economic and social stability in the historic, and symbolic, industrial heartland of China.

President and CEO of the National Urban League, Marc Morial, comes to 'That Made All the Difference' podcast to discuss his time as mayor of New Orleans, today's challenges, and what it will take to build a more just, equitable and inclusive society.

Listen now.

Though celebrations will surely be more subdued this year, many Germans will still gather (virtually) on October 3 to celebrate thirty years since reunification.

After the fall of the Berlin Wall — and the subsequent collapse of the Soviet Union — Germany reunited in a process whereby the much wealthier West absorbed the East, with the aim of expanding individual freedoms and economic equality to all Germans.

But thirty years later, this project has — to a large extent — been difficult to pull off. The economic and quality of life gap is shrinking, but lingering inequality continues to impact both German society and politics.

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GZERO Media, in partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Eurasia Group, today hosted its second virtual town hall on the hunt for a COVID-19 vaccine and the challenges of its distribution.

The panel was moderated by New York Times science and health reporter Apoorva Mandavilli and featured Gates Foundation's Deputy Director of Vaccines & Human Immunobiology, Lynda Stuart; Eurasia Group's Rohitesh Dhawan, Managing Director of Energy, Climate & Resources; Gates Foundation CEO Mark Suzman; and Gayle E. Smith, the president & CEO of ONE Campaign and former Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Watch the full video above.

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Donald Trump's presidency has irked a lot of people around the world. And in fairness, that's no surprise. He was elected in part to blow up long-standing assumptions about how international politics, trade, and diplomatic relations are supposed to work.

But while he has correctly identified some big challenges — adapting NATO to the 21st century, managing a more assertive China, or ending America's endless wars in Afghanistan and Iraq — his impulsive style, along with his restrictions on trade and immigration, have alienated many world leaders. Global polls show that favorable views of the US have plummeted to all-time lows in many countries, particularly among traditional American allies in Europe.

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Watch: Tolu Olubunmi in conversation with Dr. Samira Asma from the World Health Organization on how they are advancing health data innovation in the age of COVID-19.

This content is brought to you by our 2020 UN General Assembly partner, Microsoft.

Watch UN Innovation Room conversations weekly on Thursdays at 9 am EDT: https://www.gzeromedia.com/unga/livestream/

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