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Seventy years of change measured in just “one hour”

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Aerial photo taken on Oct. 21, 2018 shows a night view of the National Exhibition and Convention Center (Shanghai), the main venue to hold the upcoming first China International Import Expo (CIIE), in Shanghai, east China. (Xinhua/Ding Ting)

BEIJING, Sept. 7 (Xinhua) — In China, what can be achieved in a single hour? The answer today is quite different from that 70 years ago when the People’s Republic of China was founded.

Sitting in his reaping machine, Zhao Shunhua, a 53-year-old farmer in central China’s Hunan Province, can harvest rice from nearly 0.2 hectares of field within one hour.

It is about 30 times faster than the past when he used to finish the same amount of work manually.

“I can still remember the old days when I worked in the fields before dawn and got sunburned, just to reap the early rice and plant for the next season,” Zhao said.

In every hour in the first half of 2019, each Chinese contributed 7.4 yuan (about 1 U.S. dollar) to the country’s GDP, over 500 times higher than in 1952.

The hourly money spent online by Chinese consumers today is 1.1 billion yuan, while the country’s total retail sales of consumer goods was only 3 million yuan in 1952.

Most Chinese people in 1949 never dreamed of setting foot on foreign soil, while there are 19,000 trips made every hour today by Chinese travelers going abroad.

A single mine in Shenmu, a major coal production base in northwest China’s Shaanxi Province, has an annual output higher than the country’s total in 1949, digging out 3,700 tonnes of coal every hour on average.

Seventy years on, China has transformed itself into the second largest economy in the world, with the largest foreign exchange reserves, the largest social security system and the largest output of industrial products.

Even greater Chinese miracles promise to emerge as the hourglass is turned once more.

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