China is the third largest country in the world by area and has a population of over 1.3 Billion people. 20% people on our planet live in China. China is a great nation in itself and it stands on the top on many counts. It is the fastest growing and the strongest emerging economy today. With a GDP of over 2.2 Trillion Dollars, the Chinese economy is on top of every investors mind.
Most of the top companies across the world have a presence in China, as it has become the manufacturing hub of the world. However, there are a few blips in China and it continuously lags behind on human rights, in fact, there have been recent calls from many organizations for China to improve its human rights record. In such times, and they have improved by a huge margin since the Tiananmen Square massacre, the democratic situation in China is always under attack.
Based on the reports that come out, most people feel that the human rights situation in Chain is very bad and that the Chinese government needs to work very hard to improve the system.
The huge three Gorges Dam is an example of development vs. human rights and the strong-handedness of the government. The reports of government strong-handedness are not public news, as people do not dare to raise such issues on the international arena. However, the $25 Billion project has displaced a million people and submerged many towns and villages in the lake that is formed because of the dam. The people have been resettled, but that does not meant hat they got their fair share.
However, to give credit to the government, across the border in India, the Sardar Sarovar Dam has caused havoc for the government and they failed miserably in settling the people who have lost their homes. The Indian government is struggling to find the land and the resources that these people had been promised. There are also widespread protests about he dam and the locals have the support of many of the social organizations in India.
They say that there are hundreds of thousands of people who are going to lose their homes and their livelihoods and hence the government should shelve the plans to make that dam. In China however, there are no protests. The people simply moved to the other areas that were designated to them and there are no social organizations or activists protesting or going on hunger strikes. The china project is going on time and there are no delays, but the project in India has seen many delays and problems that the Chinese have never faced because of the way the Chinese government functions.
The Chinese government also actively jails reporters and dissidents and continues to hold trials in secret courtrooms, usually nobody finds out what happened inside the courtroom and people are mainly dependent on the state run Xinhua agency for any kind of news or reports about people who are arrested. The people are usually sent to prison for different reasons and at times the government has also been accused of setting up people in a way that would lead them to jail terms.
The leaders of the cult Falun Gong are also under attack from the government. The group has been banned in China and according to report About 300 Falun Gong leaders face trial, while another 5,000 have been sent without trial to labor camps to undergo “re-education”. The Chinese government does not allow such groups and does not allow any freedom of expression.
The internet is the medium of choice for the new generation and it is doing wonders to connect the world and spread information, however, this is not what the Chinese government really wants. In China, the Google and Yahoo searches are restricted and internet per se is rather monitored.
The internet is not open as we see across the world. The censorization of the internet is another example of a democratic government using its power to control people’s access to information, opinion and entertainment. This restraint and of course there are unconfirmed instances of the government closing internet café’s and blocking blogs are other things that prevent democracy from flourishing in China.
If we look back almost 2 decades, the events on June 4 at Tiananmen Square give us the true picture of the government and its reaction towards anybody who protests against the government puts across his opinion or tries to hold any sort of demonstration against the government. Officially, nobody was killed on the square, which is actually true, but people were killed in and around the streets surrounding Tiananmen Square. The sad part is that these people were all innocent and unarmed. For a government to shoot people with bullets for protesting is something that probably has never happened and is not going to happen in the future either.
The events on that day have rocked that country, but it seems everyone has moved on from there and the government would certainly like to believe that the path of development has made people forget the incidents of that day. China has grown and the people have become rich, they have more money, more flair and more options in life. However, that rosy picture is limited to some of the large cities only. The people in the villages and provinces continue to live in dire poverty and have not seen the best of the world. They still live without basic facilities and all the development has gone past them.
In fact, the people in the villages are still struggling against official corruption and have not yet moved into a stage where they even think to protest about the government or the way the country functions.
The Chinese government does not give its people the freedom of speech or expression and most people are dependent on the government on how their lives might shape up. The government on the other hand feels that they have the top minds in the country and they are better equipped to decide the future of the country and its entire people. It is a struggle that the country has fought with itself and the people in and outside china have tried to fight against the government, it is a fight where they do not want to reveal their identities lest they might be jailed, or sent to prisons.
Three Gorges Dam Wall Completed from the BBC World http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/5000092.stm retrieved on 19 Sept ‘06
Jill McGivering Three Gorges Dam’s Social Impact from the BBC World http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/5000198.stm retrieved on 19th Sept’06
Tiananmen Square Security Operation from BBC World http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/1133466.stm retrieved on 19th Sept ‘06
China Defends Internet Regulation from BBC World http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/4715044.stm retrieved on 19th Sept’06
Hi-Tech firms censured over China from BBC World http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/4541524.stm retrieved on 19th Sept’06
Google faces China Challenges from BBC World http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/4647468.stm retrieved on 19th Sept’06