China: The Feared Threesome

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July 8, 2008:China's neighbors are scared, and a look at the recent past reveals good reasons for that fear. Over the last three decades China has simultaneously solved its population and economic problems. The "one child" program prevented the birth of at least 400 million Chinese. As the current 1.3 billion Chinese note the problems they are having with land and resource shortages, they cannot help but be grateful that there are not 1.7 billion Chinese. At the same time police and bureaucrats were tormenting parents who even thought about having more than one child, the government revived China's market economy, presided over by a Communist Party that stood Marxism on its head and didn't give it a second thought (anyone who did, was shot or sent off to a work camp for "reeducation.") China now has the third largest economy in the world.

For the last decade, China has been reforming and expanding its military. The neighbors who witnessed the population control and economic reform (neither of which any of the contemporary experts believed possible), consider it likely that the Chinese will, in the next two decades, become a military superpower. Japan, India and Taiwan, in particular, are not too happy about that.

July 1, 2008:Over 10,000 people besieged a police station in southwest China, after police tried to reclassify the rape and murder of a teen age girls as a suicide. Most locals saw this as a typical cover up for some guilty government official (in this case, the son of an official). The police station was damaged and several police injured.

June 30, 2008:Over 40 local Chinese officials were punished by Anti-Corruption police, for actions taken during the rescue and recovery operations after the recent earthquakes. This disaster was believed to have killed over 80,000 people, and made millions homeless. Unable to control the flow of news on the Internet, the government was forced to respond to the many detailed complaints about corrupt local officials (misusing relief aid, or simply being incompetent). The government even set up an anti-corruption hot line, which was flooded with calls. The government announced reforms, and more inspections, of construction in quake prone areas.

June 26, 2008:The Chinese Air Force lost two J-8 fighter-bombers in a training accident (they collided). The J8F version of the "enlarged MiG-21 clone" (it has two engines) is equipped to deliver smart bombs. The Chinese did not reveal if the aircraft lost were F models, but the loss indicates the greater amount of money being spent on pilot training. This is continuing even in the face of skyrocketing oil prices.

June 25, 2008:For the first time since 1945, a Japanese warship, the destroyer Sazanami tied up in the southern port of Zhanjiang, in Guangdong province. The official reason for the visit was to deliver relief supplies for victims of the May earthquakes in central China. Last Fall, a Chinese warship visited Japan. Another even that had not happened for a long time.

 

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