Monday, December 16, 2013

Following Deng Xiao Ping: China's Rapid Advancement


Twenty Years of Rapid Advancement


Beijing has surely moved into the postmodern age and the fast lane.  Their capitalistic economy is thriving and many entrepreneurs are sprouting up new businesses daily.  The Chinese are talented capitalists as evidenced by industry and commerce Taiwan and Hong Kong over the many years. Surprisingly, the Chinese government imposes lower corporate taxes on business than does the American government; indeed lower than most of the western world.  This has helped spur new enterprise formation and sustain older established ones. 

The many sky scrapers in Beijing have huge flat panel displays with advertisements for practically everything.  These flat panel displays (like giant movie screens) are truly impressive and they showcase China's great achievements in the area of flat panel technology.  Beginning in 1958, Chinese authorities decided to pursue television technology and to develop their own domestic televisions.  They also developed their own technology for producing the television picture tubes and set up mass production.  Starting with the early black and white TV in the 1950s they progressed to color TV in the 1970s and continued to follow imaging technology, leading ultimately to the production of the huge flat panel displays that one sees on the many skyscrapers as one drives around Beijing.  

In China, the supermarkets and mammoth shopping malls are teeming with customers of all ages.  The variety of products is astonishing.  Malls are more like a business exposition than a shopping center.  Competition is paramount and small shops in the malls compete for business by offering what they can as the best deal.  This is especially true in the computer and electronics industry.  Every kind of advanced electronic product is available and at the right price. 

The buildings in Beijing are truly impressive.  Since ancient times Chinese architecture has reflected the integration of function and beauty.  Here in Beijing one can see that ancient spirit reawakened, harmonizing function and beauty in the modern high-rise buildings; not to mention the magnificent “Birds Nest” designed for the Olympics.  The Birds Nest is not only a beautiful structure but seats 100,000 people.  Many of the skyscrapers are also not only functional but beautiful.  The focus on pure functionality reminiscent of the 1950s to the 1970s period has rapidly receded into the past, eclipsed by a new and brilliant expression of Chinese architecture reflecting the ancient harmony of function and beauty.  

The automobile market in China is also huge.  The expressways are packed during rush hour as drivers embarking to and returning from the workday vie for position on the expressways and access loops, called Ring Roads.  One can see automobiles from all of the major manufacturers, some of which are actually located in Shanghai.  The streets that were once flooded with bicycles are a memory of the past.  Now there are more cars, and motorcycles than peddle bikes. Many of the motor cycles navigating the streets are powered either by internal combustion engines or electric motors.  But the automobile is the principle vehicle of choice.  Nevertheless, the networks of subways and busses still carry large numbers of passengers to and from their destination, while people on the street hailing one of the many taxis are commonplace.
It is immediately apparent to any visitor that Beijing is a mammoth city, and the city planning and administration is nothing short of miraculous. The same may also be said of Shanghai.  All indications are that China is moving more towards the once successful western model by delegating large authority to provincial managers, keeping corporate taxes on business low and developing policies that stimulate jobs and the entrepreneurial spirit.  But the enormous population of China still demands large central government oversight.   All this progress occurs in the east while the west is moving towards higher taxes on business, and business and economic control policies, which actually discourage investment and entrepreneurialism.  Even in the health care in China is moving ahead of the west, requiring responsibility on the part of individuals to contribute to their health care expenses. 

Chinese pride and nationalism is salient throughout the country.  Where the west is moving steadily away from nationalism towards a more global integration scheme, the Chinese sense of nationalism and pride is outstanding.  The Chinese do not consider this to be arrogant but rather a natural sense of pride in their hard earned achievements, which over the recent decades is phenomenal.  Furthermore, the Chinese are not politically embarrassed to have strict integration policies in order to maintain domestic employment opportunities for the Chinese people.

Even journalism in China has changed over the last twenty years.  There is more open discussion in the news and there is one TV channel in Beijing dedicated entirely to English.  There is one female journalist who in my assessment is brilliant, well informed and knowledgeable about many current issues.  She poses challenging questions to guests and is very well informed of the topics and with perfect English.

Postmodern China is poised to become a leading symbol of stability in an uncertain future. This development follows quickly on the U. S. A. instability and rapid military decline over the past half-decade and dramatically changing foreign policies of leading from behind.

During the first weeks of July 2010 China hosted joint antiterrorism training with the Pakistani military.  As the continuing American failure to contain terrorism and the Taliban in Afghanistan looms large, the exercises conducted by the Chinese in July suggest that they will not be constrained by the American political rules of engagement.  They appear motivated to root out terrorism militarily, suggesting the use of Special Forces and fighter bomber air power.  

There is no turning back the clock on China. In space technology, in manufacturing power, military prowess and economic development, China is poised to play a major role in geopolitics and military power in the coming years. 

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