China: An Emerging Giant
First Published: February 24, 2010 ADawnJournal.com
Many people call China an emerging country that is becoming one of the most powerful on Earth, but it is very important to remember that China is not new, nor newly powerful. In fact, China is one of the oldest civilizations on Earth. For the past 6,000 years, China has been a constant power, and the only country to last this long. For more than 4,000 years, the country used a political system that was based on hereditary monarchies, but that changed in 1911 when the Republic of China was founded. This caused a great deal of problems and the country erupted into civil war. By the 1940s, the country was in shambles and taken over by the Japanese. However, in 1949 the country staged its “Glorious Revolution” and the Republic of China was pushed out of the country so that the communist party could take power. The country is now called The People’s Republic of China.
What is amazing about the country is that while it is communist, in 1978 it introduced a market-based economy and that allowed the country to become the fifth fastest growing economy on Earth and the fastest growing of the top 20 economies in the world. In addition, China exports more goods than any other country and it imports the third most goods.
For most of the 20th century, China was thought of as a place for the poor, with many poor conditions, but the country has worked very hard to reduce its poverty. While the country had a poverty rate of 53 percent in 1981, the industrialization of the country helped to build a large middle class, and the poverty level is now down to eight percent. That is a drop of over 40 percent in only 29 years.
China has also shown itself to be forward thinking in many ways. The country, widely known for its environmental problems, is now becoming a world leader in renewable energy. The country also implemented a one-child policy to stop a rapidly increasing birth rate, well before high populations around the world were even though of as a problem. While the country still has problems with freedom of the press and human rights, it is rapidly changing. It is currently the third largest economy on Earth and is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. The country is also a member of the G-20, the World Trade Organization, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and one of the few countries that have nuclear weapons. While China does have the largest standing army on Earth and the second-largest defence budget after the United States, it has not shown itself as one looking for war.
Many have said that the 21st century is the century for China and they may be right. The 20th century was the American century, the 19th century was the British century, it is time for a new giant and that giant is most likely going to be the country that has existed for 6,000 years and may exist for many more to come.