The general pattern of China’s social economic development since the 1980s has been

characterised by the widening gap between coastal and central-western provinces and by

the efforts of the latter in catching up with the former. Located at the centre of central China,

Hubei epitomises the basic characteristics of the central provinces, such as a solid Chinese

Communist Party (CCP) basis, large population, rich natural resources and a relatively high

level of heavy industrialisation. Hubei was favoured by the central government in the pre-

reform era, but fell out of favour in the 1980s. As with all of the central-western provinces,

Hubei began to lag behind the coastal provinces in the reform era and has been trying to catch

up since the late 1980s.