2008: The separatist activity has
apparently been put down in Tibet. Security forces caused about 1,200
casualties (about 200 dead) and nearly 6,000 people have been arrested. The
biggest problem now is the anti-Chinese attitudes created overseas by this.
Foreigners are turning hostile towards the Olympics, which are held in China
this Summer. This in turn is making many Chinese angry, and the government is
concerned about embarrassing incidents this Summer.
The U.S. CIA
believes China is spending up to $139 billion
a year on defense. China's official military budget is $45 billion, but
much more is spent on developing military manufacturing technology. That is
where China is spending the most money, in building the capability to design,
develop and build world class weapons.
2008: China has three of its new 094 class SSBNs (ballistic missile nuclear
powered subs) built or building. But none of these boats has yet gone beyond
sea trials (which apparently led to a long list of modifications). China has
built a base on Hainan island, including caves dug into coastal hills to hide
the subs, for the 094s and other subs. China is taking its time developing its
ability to build and use advanced military technology.
2008: China, Pakistan and the United
States have become allies in going after Islamic terrorism in Tiber. China
admitted that it is shipping unspecified "counter-terrorism equipment" to Pakistan.
It's also believed that China is providing some training and tactical advice as
2008: China now has the largest number of Internet users; 221 million. Number
two is the U.S., with 216 million. But for China, only 16 percent of the population is on the
web, compared to a world average of about 19 percent. In most industrialized
nations, over half the population has access to the Internet. It's different in
China, with many people getting access via Internet cafes and the workplace. Despite
several decades of 10 percent a year economic growth, the majority of Chinese
are still poor. But a middle class, of over a hundred million people (with a
family income of at least $8,500 a year), has developed. They have laptops and
home PCs, and use the Internet regularly. The government sees the Internet as a
subversive forces, and spends billions a year to monitor users, and block
objectionable content. This is becoming increasingly unpopular, and a potential
source of the kind of subversion and opposition the government fears the most. Current trends have about half the population
being in the middle class by 2020.
2008: The Chinese stock market went up ten percent in one day, a new record
climb. In the last six months, however, the stock market fell 50 percent. This
was the result of several years of unregulated speculation in the markets. A
lot of non-professional investors got burned in the market crash, and their
anger was spreading. The government felt compelled to do something, so they cut
the tax on stock market transactions, and took several other measures, to
restore confidence, and growth.
2008: China has hustled to prevent local nationalists from getting carried away
with their anti-West protests (over Western criticism of the Chinese crackdown
on Tibetan separatists.) China is afraid of damaged foreign relations with
nations China exports lots of goods to, and, more importantly, the rise of an
organized protest movement in China. Such a group could easily become
anti-government. One clever Chinese technique has been to encourage Chinese
overseas to hold pro-Chinese demonstrations. That sort of thing will, because
of the limited number of Chinese overseas, be small and easily contained. The
demonstrators will take some heat from the locals, so this will prevent those
Chinese expatriates from themselves becoming too pro-Western.
2008: China's support for African tyrants was spotlighted when a Chinese ship
was unable to unload a container of ammunition for landlocked Zimbabwe. The
container had to be trucked into Zimbabwe, and popular action by port workers
in several countries caused the Chinese to declare that they would take the
ammo back to China. The incident hurts Chinese efforts to establish itself in
Africa. While China has been generous with business deals in Africa, and sent
over half a million Chinese to work, invest or settle in China, African tyrants
were favored. That's because these thugs were shunned by Western nations and
businesses. But now China is seen as a supporter of evil governments, and that
has generated a widespread hostility towards all things Chinese.