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The new reform policies set up industries producing appliances, textiles, garments, computers, mobile phones and other inexpensive manufactured goods (Shekarabi & Rabii 2007). While China opened up to foreign investments and the outside world, its leaders assured that the transition to a market-oriented economy would be complemented with policies to promote social stability. As foreign money pours into the Chinese markets, research and development in various fields advance the status of the state and the population. As a consequence of economic growth, improved infrastructure, better public facilities, agriculture, housing and social welfare programs raise the Chinese people's standard of living. Further consequences are a decrease in disease, infant mortality and poverty. New management care techniques and advanced pharmaceuticals are introduced. The massive infusion of trade, commerce, services and new information replaces the obsolete and brings new awareness of other nations, global issues and human rights among the citizens (Shekarabi & Rabii).
From his first five years of rule, President Hu Jintao repeatedly stressed the side effects of the economic growth policy introduced during the leadership of Deng Xiaoping in the 89s (Kahn 2007). A great number of workers and peasants failed to benefit from the celebrated economic growth. He urged the Party to provide better state-financed pensions, health care and education to the most disadvantaged sectors. He focused on recentralizing part of the decision-making function, reduce wasteful state investment and reduce the expansion of polluting industries. He agreed that progress had been made, such as the elimination of agricultural taxes and pollution control through strong directives to improved energy use. But he found these changes as only incremental. He swore to follow the principles of Deng and Jiang Zemin. Shifts in the new Politburo Standing Committee did not indicate an imminent agenda for change, if Hu even has one or considers it (Kahn).
A Wrong Paradigm for China
The belief that opening China to trade would eventually turn it into a democracy is a wrong paradigm on which America has been operating (Mann 2007). As things are now, China will certainly be richer and more powerful 30 years from now. Yet by that time, it can remain an autocracy but in another form. Its leader, the CPC, may remain unwilling to tolerate or yield to political opposition as it has been. The concept of China's moving towards political liberalization is an engaging concept because it serves certain interests within American society. But it is not looking at the entire picture. America's current strategy of integration serves only the elite classes in both China and the U.S. It will serve and benefit the American business community and the new class in Chinese cities, which stand to benefit from the trade with the American business community. But this brings no benefit or impact on America's working class, especially those who lost their jobs as a result of the "integration" policy. Neither will it benefit the ordinary Chinese on the other side of the arrangement. China has never been as prosperous as now, but only the urban middle class benefits from that prosperity resulting from the strategy of integration. China's overworked, underpaid factory laborers and peasants in the country are not blessed by it. They are rather restive and disenchanted. And that restiveness and disenchantment prevent them from opening up to any form of democracy. Open and free elections would undoubtedly dislodge Chinese leaders. It is quite clear that democracy is a threat to the existing political and economic order in China. Hence the current regime continues to suppress and repress dissent and political opposition. And this is the reason why the new class of managers and executives who benefit from the new integration strategy side with the regime and its repressive program and stance (Mann).
China's urban residents also tend to reject democracy (Mann 2007). The CPC favors then to those in countryside. This has resulted in waves of protests on the countryside because of land seizures, local taxes, village election disputes and related or similar controversies. The Chinese regime has thus feared mass movements from the countryside because it can undermine the Party's rule. Its more than 70 million members must cling to power and privilege. A stronger economy in recent years would drive empowered economic and social forces to protect the existing order and their own interests. When corruption gets out of hand and incurs public revulsion, the Chinese people could revolt. When the CPC finds they would not be quelled, it could give up. But the Chinese middle class could align with the military. The military might adopt another form of authoritarian regime in order to keep the economy running. That would not be a democracy. Putting off the democracy ideal for a future timetable would not work, either. By then, China would be even wealthier and more well-entrenched and can oppose democracy even more powerfully. It would be so well integrated in the world financial and diplomatic systems that no international initiative could be powerful enough to counter China's political system (Mann).
Interfering with Chinese Affairs, Distorting Facts
In its 2005 Annual Report, the U.S. Congressional Executive Commission deplored the persisting tight control by the Communist Party over key political institutions and policies (Kyodo 2005). It noted the lack of meaningful citizen political participation above the lower levels of the political system. This did not indicate an underlying commitment to democracy, the Report said. The CPC responded by issuing a white paper. It said that the Party had allowed 80% of the villagers the right to elect and supervise their local leaders. The Party has also strengthened internal democracy and restrained its power. About the Party's interference in local interests, it asserted that the people's courts are not subject to interference by outside administrative organs. It denied that China does not enforce its Constitution. The Chinese Foreign Ministry decried the U.S. commission report as interference to China's internal affairs. It stated that it refused to see China's achievements in the matter of human rights protection ad legislation. It also said that the report distorted facts. The Ministry stressed that "great changes" had already swept through China in the past 56 years of CPC rule. During the period, the Chinese people have "enjoyed legal rights and basic freedoms." It concluded by urging the U.S. Congress and other authorities to focus on their own affairs and contribute to mutual understanding and cooperation between their two nations rather than take to the opposite (Kyodo).
Not to Blame for Recession in the U.S.
China's critics charged that Beijing cheapened its exports by manipulating currency and then invested part of the money in U.S. assets (Llosa 2009). This led to a fall in interest rates and the housing bubble. The financial mess and resulting recession in the U.S. were acts by the Americans themselves. China did not and does not fix U.S. interest rates, increase money supply or pass laws. It was not China, which deregulated U.S. financial markets through laws, such as the Gramm Leach-Bliley Act of 1999. A government, which adopts expensive foreign and domestic policies on deficits and debt, soon gets into trouble. If the American government has been spending too much and China has been saving too much, the blame should not be cast on the latter. Some U.S. investors and foreign savers are Chinese. Without them, the U.S. would have gone bankrupt. More than ever, the U.S. needs foreign investors like the Chinese to deliver the Americans from a new debt Washington is contemplating over (Llosa).
China's economy is not exactly above fault (Llosa 2009). It increased its money supply to a point of an oncoming economic slowdown. The Economist said that the slump was not primarily due to a fall in exports to the U.S. Hence, Americans should refrain from blaming their mistakes on others. They should begin to realize and turn away from their habits of excess. They should, instead, learn from the lesson taught by China on the values of "hard work, thrift and creative investment (Llosa)." These have made the Chinese people endure and brought China to where it is now. #
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