29th August 2009
China is home to about one-fifth of the world’s population and is one of the oldest civilisations, going back several millennia, with a complex history of essentially all the modes of governance.
The communist system that prevailed shortly after the Second World War and has ruled since has been transformed from a highly repressive form of government of a large peasant class into a strong centrist and authoritarian industrial state with a commanding presence throughout the world, while achieving unprecedented double digit economic growth, most of this during the past 20 years since the 1989 Tiananmen Square disruption.
China’s national policy seems generally geared to using its muscle when it perceives threats to its general stability. As far as may be seen, it seems to want to engage the world but on its own terms.
The general perception in western democracies seems to be of a massive monolith with a history of suppression of basic human rights coupled with an extremely poor record of mining and industrial safety, environmental management and quality control in its manufacturing sector.