The Future of China?

19 Feb

China, the third largest country in the world spanning an area of 9,572,900 square km and occupied by 1.35 billion inhabitant is potentially the next global power. Many wonder and try to speculate on the future of modern China.

Currently confronted by widespread social unrest, increasing pollution, slowing economic growth, increasing divisions within domestic public opinion on the issue of the rampant official corruption as clearly illustrated by the Bo Xilai scandal and the political trajectory. What really is the future of China? 

As the technology advances, the society develops and changes rapidly along with it. As much as the infamous China Firewall tries to prevent its citizens from accessing banned websites for instance Facebook, there are various other social media that allows the people to be informed of the abuses of power, growing wealth gap and the harm done to the environment. Mass protests seem to be common now. It used to be that only the elite had access to internet connection whilst the government’s strict censors controlling information and decide what the public should believe. As the price of computers and tablets fall significantly, making them affordable to the masses, this technology savvy population is clearly able to work around the Great Firewalls to become aware of things the Communist Party might not want them to know. Human right? What is?

The risks China faces become apparent: increasing unrest and dissent by its people; as we have seen with the Tibetan issue ( see blog entry on 19 Feb: ‘Self-immolations in Tibet and the hope for dialogue under Xi Jinping’s leadership.’ By np2g11) With all these will only bring about a threat to the stability and growth of they country. With a huge population of 1.35 billion, it is arguably better to first ease such tensions and please the people before another revolution/rebellion strikes again, as in did for majority of the Chinese dynasties being brought down by revolutions, so the history has clearly demonstrates.

Politically, China is an Communist country with a one-party state in which the Chinese Communist Party monopolises power. It is recommended that instead of an  entirely arbitrary one party rule, the reigning party could listen to the voices of the people and implement policies accordingly. Further, perhaps more freedom ought to be given to the people via the press. Suppression will only lead to further unrest and criticisms by the world and the people. People ought to be given freedom of speech and even thinking. Perhaps the Great Firewall could relax its control a little and arguably the people will be a little happier.

The future of China might be bleak if its populace are not at all satisfied with their rulers. Perhaps it might be time for more human rights  to penetrate this country – one of the remaining few communist countries in this 21st century of modern democracy.

Sources:

http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2012-12-13/national/35812959_1_china-chinese-government-chinese-economy

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-china-20203937

 

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3 Responses to “The Future of China?”

  1. aa29g11 February 19, 2013 at 9:27 pm #

    Regarding China’s political evolution, I agree that there needs to be an evolution or even a re-establishing to create a new press. The inability of citizens to express their opinion in a developed country such as China (although others may claim it is not fully developed) is only going to create more tension in future years. The result may be a replication of the events of Tiananmen Square or even worse a resurgent working class movement that tries to overhaul the already effective semi-Capitalist system.

    However, human rights is a process that is not in the immediate interests of the Chinese government. Their immediate interests lies in sustaining sufficient economic growth in order to keep a rising labour force in employment and to look after the rising population of aged. Human rights is a process, an evolution if you will, that can only be implemented once there is sufficient conditions for them to be instigated.

    There is a case especially by Western countries for greater human rights in Chinese society as it is incomparable to us not to have free speech: but in order for this to be done it must be done either by establishing a new party system, or re-establishing the existing ideologies surrounding policy in order to create fairer practice for its citizens.

  2. Paul February 19, 2013 at 10:40 pm #

    Talking about the future of China, I would like to bring in a more economic view. Because of it’s tremendous economic growth, China is often considered as the next global power,
    but will it be the next global power? Can the economy keep growing?

    In recent decades, cheap labour has played a significant role in the economy of China. Large numbers of cheap surplus farmers got industrial jobs, which allowed firms to keep their prices low and profits high. However, China may be reaching the so-called “Lewis Turning Point”. This theory says that at a certain point there won’t be be a surplus of rural laborers. This will lead to increases of wages of the laborers at the expense of the profit of firms. This puts pressure on firms to invest in modernization and economic development to keep profits up. But they do actually lose the advantage of cheap labour, which was the reason for the economic growth of China in the first place. So, if this point is reached it will probably cause a slow down of economic growth.
    Besides the social and politically points mentioned in this blog entry: “the future of China?”, the possible economic slow down might become another barrier for China becoming a global power.

  3. samhemming February 24, 2013 at 6:54 pm #

    Vivek Wadhwa’s opinion in his Washington post article that increasing social discontent in China will become a greater issue for the Chinese government directly contradicts the opinion of Martin Jacques. Dr. Jacques refers to the Chinese government’s approval rating to show the populations content with the state, apparently ‘between 80 and 95% of Chinese people were either relatively or extremely satisfied with central government’ (http://www.martinjacques.com/articles/articles-geopolitics-globalisation/a-point-of-view-is-china-more-democratic-than-the-west/). However while Wadhwa view seems to be affected by a degree of patriotism Jacques’ seems equally affected by an infatuation with the Chinese system. There are always potential causes of revolution that China is not exempt from.
    One of these could be considered to be the press. While btdb1g10 suggests that relaxing the control over the press might be a method of easing tension and thereby preventing revolution the Chinese government may avoid doing so given the dangers involved. Instead of releasing tension a freer media may encourage greater discontent. Wadhwa seems to believe this given his opinion on the rise of internet and social media use, which – like all media – at the end of the day is just another method of communication. This use of online media has been seen recently in the Arab Spring. Historically as well an opening up of the press has foreshadowed dramatic social unrest, as can be seen in the French Revolution when Louis XVI relaxed censorship and pamphlet such as ‘What is the Third Estate?’ were published (http://faculty.smu.edu/rkemper/cf_3333/Sieyes_What_is_the_Third_Estate.pdf).
    Paul’s point on the reduced amount of cheap labour is also an issue that may trigger some form of unrest. If we consider the Lewis Turning Point outside of its economic context then it could indicate other, social, changes. The loss of a ready supply of labour is seen by medieval historians as one of the causes of the 1381 Uprising in England. Christopher Dyer explains how there was an increased demand for labour that gave that social group increased influence over their rights and compensation. However this was denied to them causing the failed 1381 Uprising, but also contributing to the betterment of general people’s living standards in England through the Middle Ages. Maybe this or some less dramatic power shift lies in China’s future.

    Dyer, Christopher, ‘Standards of Living in the Later Middle Ages: Social Changes in England, c. 1200 – 1520’ (Cambridge; Cambridge University Press, 1989)
    http://faculty.smu.edu/rkemper/cf_3333/Sieyes_What_is_the_Third_Estate.pdf
    http://www.martinjacques.com/articles/articles-geopolitics-globalisation/a-point-of-view-is-china-more-democratic-than-the-west/
    http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2012-12-13/national/35812959_1_china-chinese-government-chinese-economy

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