It is mostly a question of definition. During the Cold War the “second world” was the Communist world, including China. The term “third world” has come to mean a lesser-developed country or region, but that is not a universally used meaning. It connotes so many variables – political, socio-economic, sometimes even geographic, that it has little meaning as anything definitive.
Seeing that China accounts for nearly 12% of global power (that is second only to the US at 22%), it is hard to characterize China as a third-world country in the traditional sense as the above post points out. China has experienced significant economic expansion which has resulted in part from the shift of population from rural to urban settings. Though nearly 800 million people still live in rural parts of China, it is projected that nearly 250 million of those will move to urban locations over the next 15 years. This in combination with the China’s advancements in industry and technology will drive up urban wages. And aside from just local advancement, China has aggresively been taking part in the global economy as well, with its production chains beating out that of the US and Japan.
I took an international relations class and learned that China is not classified as a third world country. It would be (and is) more properly deemed a developing country. Also, China is considered part of the Global South as opposed to the Global North, meaning it isn’t at the level of development that it would need to be to be a part of the Global North. Here is a map. Blue is the Global North, red the Global South
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