'Truth spoken without moderation reverses itself'
This blog is a source for intellectual exploration. It includes a list of alternative resources and a source of free books. The placement of an article does not imply that I agree with it, merely that I found it thought-provoking. There are also poems and book reviews. Texts written by me are labelled. Readers are free to re-post anything they like.
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
China: witnessing the birth of a superpower
The primary driver for change has been the movement of people. Over the past nine years 120 million Chinese people – almost twice the population of the UK – have moved from the countryside to the city.
We had come from Japan – a democratic, comfortable, polite, hygiene-obsessed, orderly, first-world nation – to the grim-looking capital of a developing, nominally communist country that looked and sounded like a giant building site. For all enthusiasm, my family must have felt we were taking a step backwards in lifestyle.
One of my first tasks in 2003 was to chose a Chinese name. I opted for "Hua Zhong", partly because it sounds a little like "Watts, Jon", but mainly because the characters mean "Sincere to China" – something I was determined to be as a reporter. Nine years later, that sentiment has not faded. But at various times, I have been called a communist sympathiser, supporter of Taiwan, a stooge of the Dalai Lama.
However, my focus has been on development and its impact on individuals and the environment. In 2003, China had the world's sixth-biggest GDP. It passed France in 2004, Britain in 2006, Germany in 2009, and Japan in 2011. On current course, it will replace the US as No 1 within the next 15 years. It has already top in terms of internet population, energy consumption and the size of its car market...