Despite being a state that run its affairs keeping in tandem with a communist ideology, China has done amazingly well to defy the regular norms of the international system in a very short span of time.
With a GDP growth rate sustained at 10 and ruling the Wall Street from past decade, China has indeed left the world in sheer awe and with the way it’s GDP is spiking at the moment, it won’t be surprise if it becomes an even bigger player in the Wall Street than it already is.
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Despite a wide array of internal challenges that always seem to pose a threat on the nation’s long-term sustainability as a super-power, President Xi Jinping has managed to take Chine one step further at every level which is quite an amazing feat. According to a recent survey conducted in China, 66% of the country’s population says that corrupt officials occupying key positions in governmental and non-governmental organizations is the biggest issue of the state and if the trend persists, could potentially come back and haunt the nation as a whole. However, 44% of the population believes that this problem will be overcome in the coming 5 years which is fairly true due to the fact that over the past few years or so, China has really strived to provide and inclusive political and economic system which is so very crucial for a state that aspires to be at the pinnacle of greatness.
However, there are a lot of issues that the country faces right now; issues that so far have not attracted necessary global attention to warrant a lot of criticism but issues that will harm the country’s growth significantly if they are only wiped under the carpet rather than being taken care of.
China: Pollution as a main concern
There are clear cut signs that which show that China’s remarkable economic expansion has had some negative side effects. The country has paid a dear cost for all that achieved in the shape of environmental issues. Many are concerned about the percentage of CFC chloroform carbon emissions due to industrial activities, disposal of industrial waste and other food shortage issues.
Indeed, a recent study has proved that more people in China die due to poor environmental conditions than in any other developed country which is shocking to say the least. The health of the citizens and the likelihood of a dangerous epidemic could threaten to derail China’s progress and is an issue that has to be taken care of.
Food safety issue
Concerns about food safety have risen over the past seven years amid several high-profile scares that took the food industry to the grind. In 2008, a baby formula tainted with melamine was linked to the deaths of six infants and affected almost 300,000 babies. And although the government did well to punish the company for not having a proper food safety mechanism, there are countless food industries that have not given a second thought to the importance of quality assurance. More recently, nearly a half-billion dollars’ worth of meat was seized by authorities in June 2015, some of it having been frozen in the 1970s. Roughly a third (32%) now say food safety is a very big problem, up 20 percentage points from 12% in 2008.
While the safety of medicine and the quality of manufactured goods are cited as a top worries by fewer than three-in-ten Chinese, concerns have risen by 19 points and 15 points, respectively, since 2008 which clearly means that the population is not satisfied with the way food industry has been operating without any proper check and balance mechanism.
Over population is also one of the most major concerns for Beijing with the gap between poor and rich is increasing at an alarmingly quick pace.
More than 50% of the population consists of youth. And although such a huge population of what should be considered as the future of the country is a blessing, but at the same time, it is something that has given quite a few headaches to the government in recent years. For a young individual, acquiring a job that helps them kick start their professional careers is one of the biggest challenges. And in case a youngster is lucky enough to be hired by a company, most of the companies boast an employee retention rate that is pretty bad to say the least. So far, the government has failed to accommodate every individual and provide basic necessities of life to such a huge population.
Although China has been able to take care of the medical funds mechanism to cater its large population, issues such as job placements, higher education, food and shelter are yet to be taken care of.
Stark contrast to the bitter realities
According to a recent survey carried out in 2015, 63 % of the population believes that corruption is the country’s biggest problem, while 43 % thinks that safety of food is the major issue and 37 % thinks that water and air pollution is the major issue of the county. However, currently Beijing has is facing multiple issues as described above and with the passage of time the situation is getting worse for Beijing.
As corruption is one of the biggest threat for any state because it is a menace that keeps growing into a big organism if given enough breathing space, it is imperative for the government to come down really hard on corrupt officials whose devious ways will eventually bring the whole country to its knees if they are not taken out of the equation.
Beijing has to take measures to deal with internal issues if it wants to sustain this economic supremacy that it currently enjoys.
Economic modernization has really helped China grow in stature in front of a keen global audience but at the same time, has created quite a few threats to its culture which is celebrated with utmost awe and respect throughout the globe.
Indeed, despite achieving so much in what we would call a short span of time, China is currently going through an identity crisis.
Economic modernization has come at a cost and that cost is currently being paid in full by the environment, culture and people which means that there is a lot of room for improvement. Only if such issues can be sorted in due time, will China be ever accepted as a superpower that it claims itself to be.
The rapid economic boom has resulted in people moving toward cities and adopting latest life styles which again something that threatens to make China’s culture a thing of the past. Most Chinese embrace a modern lifestyle, with 66% saying that they like the pace of modern life. However, the same percentage says their traditional way of life is losing its shine and swagger. And 79% believe their way of life needs to be protected against foreign influence (though only 30% completely agree with this view)
Global audience has been wooed away by China’s antics but in all fairness, those antics and achievements do nothing but just cover the grey areas in a country that is going towards a path where the road is going to be bumpy to say the least.
Spring 2015 Global Attitudes survey. Q62a-e.