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tv   BBC Newsnight  PBS  January 1, 2011 12:00pm-12:30pm PST

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>> this is "bbc newsnight." funding for this presentation is made possible by the freeman foundation of new york, stowe, vermont, and honolulu, newman's own foundation, the john d. and catherine t. macarthur foundation, and union bank.
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>> union bank has put its strength to work for a wide range of companies. what can we do for you? >> and now, "bbc newsnight." >> previously in whitehorse village, the communist party delivered a message from on high -- the village had to go to make way for a city. [speaking foreign language] >> it is just a question of persuading and persuading and persuading. >> one woman's struggle to escape her family's expectations.
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[speaking foreign language] another seemed destined for better things. [speaking foreign language] >> the leaders decreed that what was village must join the economic miracle. and in just four years, a way of life has gone forever.
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a city has been born before our eyes. the record of revolutionary change. >> city life is confusing. it is stressful. changing from villager to city person is a transformation that should take time. a lot of people cannot do it straight away. >> when we first came here four years ago, all of this was filled. the pace of change has been extraordinary. but creating a 21st century city involves more than just new
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buildings and new infrastructure. it is about transforming people. city life means winners and losers, and nobody wants to get left behind. every day, a new shop opens. campaigns and slogans are different now. sometimes, several open at once. competition has arrived. thousands of new residents, migrants returning, property prices have doubled. welcome to the money economy. >> [speaking foreign language]
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>> once, this was it had a field -- was a paddy field, where she felt trapped, desperate to leave. the city life has come to her. now, she shops for food, works for the cleaners, and rents out rooms in her home to a team of road builders. she is saving for her children's education. she said her husband to a factory job in a faraway beijing to bring in more money, and then, she built an extension, more room for lodgers. but a demolition crew knocked it down. in theory, only the government
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and its approved developers are allowed to build in the new city. in practice, many people get away with it. they use their connections. in chinese -- she does not have them. [speaking for language] -- [speaking foreign language]
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>> of of the city, her lodgers are blasting their way towards the outside world. they are building a chain of bridges and tunnels through the mountains that have kept what was village isolated for so long. china plans to match the entire american highway network within 10 years. amidst all the turmoil of change, it is one man's job to keep the show on the road and the villagers on board. this has been the communist party secretary for 20 years.
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♪ >> the villagers have been allocated subsidized new apartments. the party secretary is developing an eye for real estate. he will get one of these, and his family already invested in another two. mr. jin spent 70 years living off the land. now, he has a rice cooker,
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washing machine, and hot running water, but he finds it hard to climb six flights of stairs and does not like having unfamiliar leaders. -- unfamiliar labor. twists of fate can be a matter of life and death. the policy of demolition has led to tragedy. her father lost his temper when the men with jackhammers came to knock down his extension. she says he was pushed first and retaliated. he threw a brick at the boss, knocking him downstairs. he died from head injuries. her father has been convicted of murder.
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>> i cannot eat or sleep because of the injustice that provoke my father. to think of him suffering in prison. he is in my thoughts all the time. then he has been sentenced to death. 1000 villagers have signed a petition, urging the authorities to think again. prison, not execution. they feel her father was unfairly victimized, his kitchen destroyed because he failed to bribe the right people. >> everyone in the village is behind us. everyone is angry. the people are on our side. >> most of the villagers farmhouses were knocked down three years ago, and they have been in temporary housing ever since. their new apartments are ready,
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but still, they refused to move. as the city has grown around them, they have learned to fight for their interests. they make this video. they do not think the apartment building they have been allocated will withstand an earthquake, like the one that killed nearly 100,000 people two years ago. they believe the builders have cut corners, lining their own pockets, and that their connections have helped them get away with it. their complaint -- public safety compromised by the richest of private interests. loyalty to the community has stopped the party secretary and his wife from moving to their new apartment until everyone is resettled.
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yet, he must face everyone's suspicion. >> [speaking foreign language] >> money, corruption, injustice.
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the thread leads back to the villagers, murder convictions, and death sentence. the stalemate over rehousing is holding off development. why is mistrust so deep? the deputy governor is responsible for getting the city finished. >> one reason is that our public information has not been good enough, but there are a very small number of people who tend to be suspicious because they feel vulnerable, but the whole point of a new city is that it is for everyone, so we will not rest until the conflict are resolved.
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>> above the city, the road builders work without pause. 24 hours a day, seven days a week. they must go forward. soon, what was village will be four hours from one of the world's biggest cities. a boomtown, but for whose benefit? this is where the government has lifted the lid on corruption in chinese life.
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the web between officials, developers, criminals, and courts. thousands arrested. one senior official executed. negotiating his way through this maze is one of white horse village's most successful sons. once a farmer, now, he is at the heart of a property boom. the bulldozers he hires out have never been so busy. >> when we first arrived, we did not know anyone. we have had to build a network from scratch. it is hard work and takes time, but now, we have got the right connections with the right people.
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>> he knows there is a right and a wrong way to benefit from government connections. even beijing says corruption is the big challenge, one which could bring down communist rule. >> there are a very small number of officials who work outside the law. they work with the mafia. the mafia used their power and influence within government, and they bully you, then you, or take over your business. that is their way of doing things. your money or your life. >> this is where the village as far houses once stood. now, the new school as a playing
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field. the farmers fought hard for their children to be here. now, they rub shoulders with the children of the local in need. the party secretary shows me where his home was. i asked him if all the sacrifice has been worth it. >> [speaking foreign language]
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>> but the wealth gap is growing. he and his family admire the new opera house. when we first met the daughter, she was pregnant and dreaming of a both to the city. now, they own several apartments and businesses. there is family tension.
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>> [speaking foreign language]
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>> the rhythm of life in a new city. an emerging middle class. new citizens are arriving or one is returning home. one migrant who has returned is the party secretary's daughter.
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her savings from a decade in a factory have paid for her dream apartment. once again, the whole family can sit down together. >> [speaking foreign language] enough of public service. someone else can deliver the edicts from on high. this communist party secretary wants a new location. -- a new vocation. >> [speaking foreign language]
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>> profit and loss. everyone is playing for higher stakes than -- now. some already have what money can buy. others are betting all they alone. the villages across the divide from old world to new. the die is cast. the moment destinies are made.
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>> funding for this presentation is made possible by the free men foundation of new york, stowe, vermont, and honolulu, newman's own foundation, the john d. and catherine t. macarthur foundation, and union bank.
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>> union bank has put its financial strength to work for a wide range of companies, from small businesses to major corporations. what can we do for you? >> "bbc newsnight"
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