Program commenced: 1988
Total number of placements: 196 (as of 3 August, 2011)
Number of current placements: 6 (as of 3 August, 2011)
AVI Programs: Volunteer Program, Australian Teachers in Asia, Volunteer Graduate Program, United Nations Volunteer Program
With a rich history as a leading civilisation, the People's Republic of China is the largest and most populous country in East Asia. Despite being the largest single contributor to global growth in the last five years, more than 250 million of China's 1.3 billion citizens are still in poverty. China faces environmental concerns and was particularly hard hit by the global recession.
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China's economic reform has resulted in strong macro-economic performance in terms of sustained economic growth, rapid industrialisation and urbanisation, the steady in-flow of foreign investment, and relative social stability. However, there have also been negative consequences. Primary among these has been the disparities in prosperity between the affluent coastal provinces and the poorer central and western regions.
The Asian Development Bank estimates per capita GDP in the interior regions at 46 per cent of the levels achieved in the coastal regions. The World Bank estimates that over 150 million people in China live on less than US$1 per day - which equates to 18 per cent of the world's poor (2005). In addition, low levels of infrastructure development of roads, transport and telecommunications have dissuaded foreign investment and the establishment of a private sector in those regions.
Nevertheless, it must be noted that although the decline in levels of poverty has slowed in recent years, the overall reduction during the period of reform has been dramatic. It is estimated that over 400 million people in China have risen above the $1 a day poverty line over the last 20 years.
For up-to-date information and statistics on socio-economic development issues in China, please refer to the following source:
World Bank Data and Statistics page on China
In China, the HIV/AIDS situation has not yet reached epidemic proportions. The overall HIV incidence rate in China is estimated to be about 0.1 per cent (approximately the same incidence rate as Australia) but because of its population size this corresponds to an estimated 650,000 people living with HIV. There are also pockets of high prevalence within specific geographies and social groups.
Over the past several years, the Chinese government at the highest levels has reiterated its strong commitment to combat HIV and AIDS, identifying prevention and control as a priority in the 11th National Five-Year Development Plan (2006-2010) and reinforcing the importance of having an HIV and AIDS strategy to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
For up-to-date information and statistics on HIV/AIDS in China and in general, please refer to the following sites:
UNAIDS page on China
WHO China country profile (general health information on China)
UNDP Fast Facts Sheet on HIV and AIDS in China
China consumes massive amounts of energy, accounting for just under 10 per cent of world energy consumption. Exasperating the environmental problem is the fact that the majority of China's energy is made from coal. Consequently, sulfur dioxide and soot caused by coal combustion are two major air pollutants, resulting in the formation of acid rain. China is also the second largest emitter of energy-related carbon dioxide emissions after the United States. Such carbon emissions will continue to grow significantly unless accompanied by improvements in technology and environmental regulations.
Even within China's renewable energy sector there are environmental concerns. While the Three Gorges Dam will curb carbon dioxide emissions few attempts have been made to address concerns regarding the accumulation of toxic materials and other pollutants from industrial sites that will be inundated after construction of the dam.
China's natural resources have also been hit hard by the country's rapid economic growth. Land degradation is widespread and increasing. Water availability and quality also continues to be a critical problem, particularly in northern China, and one that looks certain to get worse over the next decade.
The above information and more has been taken from the following :
Energy Information Administration page on Environmental Issues in China
World Bank page on Environment in China