Among the developing nations of the Third World, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has earned a reputation as a leader in the delivery of basic social services to rural residents. Overall the reputation is well-deserved. After three decades of innovative programs in public health work, primary education, and famine relief, the Chinese government has significantly improved the quality of rural life. Since 1949 rural life expectancies have nearly doubled, infant mortality has improved eight-fold, and literacy rates among rural residents under 40 have trebled. 1