Change in China
There is an opinion that China is going to change for the better -those who went to study abroad in the 80s are now rising up the ladder in government and business. You can see the change in many well-run and internationally successful private Chinese businesses, but you annot yet see teh change in the government. Hopefully, soon, it will happen -and the returned scholars can bring with the best knowledge from overseas to combine it with the chinese situation/culture and create a dynamic, fair, successful China.
However this still seems a long way off. Chinese students sill learn absolutely zero about the rest of the World in their education system: unless they study something like languages or international trade at university or pick it up in the media (which most young people rarely bother to read since its generally useless. If they do read it then they are checking out the business sections, entertainment etc. The international news is awful. People talk about Bush having to know about the World since USA impacts the world, but what about China? China's current and future global impact is tremendous -its leaders, and its people, need to have SOME understanding of the rest of the World!
In addition, China is trying hard to enforce its excellent laws -its tough in a big country where so much has changed so fast and so many people don't want to give up power, or lose their jobs. Slowly though environmental enforcement and labour rights are being enforced..slowly. But all this is pointless if the law is abused, and the courts useless. If we dis-regard the human rights issues for the moment, this story is typical. A blind lawyer brings to the national government's attention (and only because he got the international media's attention first which forced the local media to report on it, and the national government to do something) forced abortions (local officials need to keep the birth rate low to meet targets and stick to the 1 child policy). Many were violent and disturbing, some as late as 8 months into pregnancy. What happens? a few lowly officials get punished and the lawyer gets detained for a year and finally imprisioned for 4 years for 'theft'! How is China supposed to develop when this happens so often? How is it going to encourage other people to come forward about abuses?
Sometimes China's achievements are impressive (even more so after I read more of Mao's destruction of the country), but so often the future can seem bleak. I am hoping to tell the outisde World that China is not just about the successes (economic) and the failures (environmental), but there are normal people too -something that is not 'news', of course. Unfortunately the challenges are still so great...