By Simon Foster
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Crested Ibis – The crested ibis is among the 50 most endangered birds, with fewer than 250 mature individuals worldwide. There are none left in their native habitat in Japan, and only a handful breeding in the Qingling Mountains of China. The government has invested heavily in their preservation and, with help from the WWF, these beautiful birds may just survive. Golden Monkey – This small golden-coated monkey’s distinctive upturned nose has earned it a nickname of the ‘snub nose’ monkey. By the mid1980s it was estimated that only 200 were left in the wild, but, after successful breeding projects and aid from the government, their population has increased dramatically to over 800 in 2006.
In the 1970s the most people could aspire to own was a bicycle, a watch and a radio, but these days some young Chinese can shop for the same things as their counterparts in Japan or Taiwan. But modern China is plagued with disparities, which it must face if it is to progress beyond sheer material wealth for its urban dwellers. The vast population (see Population, p. 42), deterioration of the environment (see The Environment, p. 32), the threat posed by respiratory viruses such as SARS and bird flu (see Health, p.
The Hundred Flowers Movement (1956) However, while all outwardly appeared well, Mao feared that the revolutionary zeal of the party was flagging and he sought to rock the boat a little. His famous slogan “let a hundred flowers bloom, let a hundred schools contend” was intended to draw intellectual criticism of the bureaucracy, but resulted in a torrent of direct attacks on the Communist system itself. The Great Leap Forward (1958-60) n 23 The Great Leap Forward (1958-60) Having rattled the bureaucracy, Mao set his sights on agriculture and industry.