In 1935, demographer Hu Huanyong traced a diagonal line through China, from the edge of Siberia to the steamy subtropics.
What he found was a frontier of asymmetrical growth between east and west.
After more than 80 years, despite the country’s tremendous economic and cultural transformation, the Hu Line still stands — and China must ask hard questions about its uneven development.
Stretching from Heihe on the Russian border to Tengchong on China’s southwestern border with Myanmar, the Hu Line divides China into two parts.
To the east, just over one-third of the nation’s land houses almost 94 percent of the country’s population.
Only 6 percent of citizens — but most of the nation’s ethnic minority groups — share the vast and varied terrain to the west.