40 Months ago I first stepped foot on the People’s Republic of China – I’ve seen an enormous amount of change in that time, but the pace of change appears to continue to accelerate beyond breakneck speed, which worries me.
Recent worldwide condemnation of Chinas human rights violations have prompted a tit-for-tat revocation of Chinas easy-to-acquire business visa (which, mysteriously, hasn’t been officially acknowleged by Chinese officials) and both underscore a growing ideological divide between China and the West. The economic climate in this region will also undergo massive changes over the next 5 years as a confluence of economic and social forces steer China away from the manufacturing powerhouse that it’s been in recent history. The yuan continues to gain value, making exports increasingly expensive which is slowly driving manufacturing into cheaper countries like Vietnam and India – leadership is also affecting new labor laws in favor of workers which will raise the cost of labor, further elevating associated costs for overseas investors. This will likely have a dramatic effect on an economy as export-driven as this one, although the extent of that assertion itself is debatable.
What I wonder is how long China can undergo change at this pace and maintain social control. It wouldn’t seem that their leadership is breaking a sweat as they’ve successfully rallied the population in defense of foreign condemnation (they condemn us because we codemn them? At least we had a reason). A suit has been filed in NYC against CNN for $1.3 billion for words that came out of Jack Caffertys mouth. Repeat: a lawsuit for a $1 billion has been filed for words that came out of his mouth. Apparently they haven’t heard of our first amendment.
Sometimes China is really just beyond description – but I’m eager to see how the events of this country unfold over the course of this year. The political climate here is tense.