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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.