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Last Updated: Thursday, 25 March, 2004, 05:34 GMT
China reforms 'creating losers'
By Louisa Lim
BBC, Beijing

A worker loading containers at Yantian Port, Shenzhen
China now exports more to the US than Japan does
China's economic reforms have created new forms of poverty and are harming the environment, according to a wide-ranging United Nations report.

Its says workers laid off by the state, unemployed migrant workers, women, children, the elderly and the disabled are being adversely affected.

Rapid industrialisation is also leading to the pollution of rivers and lakes.

The report suggests the lifting of controls on migration inside China and more sustainable development.

Most rural Chinese, it says, will never be able to earn a living on the small plots of land they now farm and need to be freed to move from the countryside to the cities.

On the environmental front, the report calls for green non-governmental organisations to be allowed more political space.

The UN also expresses concern about the government's progress in tackling HIV-Aids, saying political commitment might not be trickling down to provincial levels.

Despite these reservations, the report card is largely positive, with the UN saying there has been real progress in poverty alleviation and China is on track to meet many of the targets known as the Millennium Development Goals.

The BBC's Louisa Lim
"The UN fears women too are being left behind"


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