Quan Heng, Wu Libo, Xu Mingqi and Yin Xingmin; FES Shanghai, November 2013
Since the policy of reform and opening-up has been implemented, China's economy experienced unprecedented success with long periods of double-digit GDP growth rates. This growth has been largely the result of low cost production, deriving from its large population and burgeoning economy. The strong and rapid economic success in China has lifted over 235 million people out of absolute poverty within three decades. China has recently become the second largest economy in the world. The focusing on high GDP growth rates in the last decades let policy-makers neglected negative side-effects. The result of this development is a devastated environment. Air- and water pollution are harming people's health and causing high economic cost. Besides large scale environmental degradation, rising socio-economic disparities due to unequal distribution of wealth inhabit strong destabilizing potentials and could cause threats to the achievements made in the past. China has to move onwards to a more sustainable economic growth-model. Therefore more equal and fair distribution of wealth is needed to stimulate domestic consumption and reduce risks and volatilities emerging from world-market dependency as an export-led economy. The future economic growth should be driven by green economic policies and the creation of green jobs. Innovation and a comprehensive understanding of sustainability should be key factors in future policy formulations.