Many people, including those who have travelled to China or are uninitiated, say that China has made immense progress since the last two decades.
The fact of the matter is that China is a totalitarian regime, which maintains the worlds largest armed and security forces to keep their diverse and restive population totally under control and for warlike reasons. Naturally, they allocate a whopping percentage of their budget for defence and internal security. Any dissent is totally and mercilessly crushed. Who can forget the Tiananmen Square tragedy in June 1989 when the students? peaceful demonstration was ruthlessly crushed and many do not have the statistics of people who lost their lives or were injured and how many ended up in jails and how many of them have died there. I still wonder what happened to that young man who stood in front of a tank and challenged the crew to run the tank over him. Was he crushed that day or is he alive to tell the story or is he languishing in a Chinese jail or has he managed to go abroad?
Chinese Government does not want to loosen the grip to give freedom to its people, including Human Rights, for the simple reason that this land of various restive races and ethnic communities will break up into numerous independent entities.
In China, people do not have any freedom at all. In factories, workers put up 15 to 16 hours of work and one day in the week they are left off three to four hours earlier. That is why most Chinese look forward to the lunar New Year when they get 10 to 12 days holidays and workers that are lucky get bonuses from their employers in red envelopes.
However, unlike India, as Chinese do not enjoy freedom, human rights or have say in any matter, the Government can carry on any development work or fancy projects, even if they invite ecological disaster without any impediments. People have no voice in China and their parliament is a mere rubber stamp and any bill or proposal gets passed as an ordinance or law without debating or opposition. This is a far cry to the ruckus that takes place in the Indian Parliament, including walkouts. In fact, I would say that, amongst all the countries having genuine democracies in the world, Indian democracy is the most lawless.
The Leftist Parties (of India) that create a lot of hue and cry with the UPA Government should note how Chinese Parliament functions. These Leftist Members of Parliament should realise that if they were Deputies in the Chinese Parliament, they would have to tow the line by being subservient to the commands of the Communist Politburo and vote en masse and enjoy their perquisites and privileges. Otherwise, their careers and lives would end in wilderness. If China can take financial aid from USA, allow Uncle Sam to set up large industrial sets in Chinese cities and also export goods running to billions of dollars to USA, why should Indian Leftist Parties object to India?s cooperation with USA? Why cannot these Indian Leftist Parties first vociferously raise their objections to the happenings in China who, as per their yardstick, are deviating from totally anti-capitalist doctrines of communism? Indian Government is totally soft on these Leftist Parties who, on their own, do not have any capacity to form a Government at the Centre and are known only for their nuisance value.
If any Chinese opposes or protests to any real or perceived wrong doings of the Government or authorities, he is immediately arrested, charged as a spy and their Courts will convict him and sentence him for execution. At the time of execution, the surgeon and his team are already there to take off his heart, kidneys and other organs. Otherwise, the person could be forcibly sent to a lunatic asylum, where he may be treated with electric shocks that will aggravate his condition and make him insane.
Chinese goods are very cheap. This is because the labour costs are very low and many things like toys, towels, kerchiefs and other things are produced by prisoners in jails.
Yes, there are places like Shanghai and other places in the east that are highly developed to showcase them as Chinese economic miracles, where foreign businessmen visit or stay. Tourists are taken on conducted tours to these selected or model places and the authorities do not permit visitors to visit wherever they want to go to prevent them from seeing the stark living conditions of the masses that would give them a realistic picture of China. That is why visitors returning from China have a rosy picture on having seen only the show-pieces that the authorities wanted them to see and not places that are eyesore and reveal the stark realities of life in greater part of China. However, most of China, which is a territory in excess of 3,000,000 sq. miles, is very backward, with most of the people, especially in the rural areas and countryside, being very poor and leading primitive lives.
China and India may have a massive Gross Domestic Products that will, in years to come, will exceed those of advanced economies like U.S.A. due to the sheer numbers of its population, but that would provide joy and happiness only to the uninitiated, but not the well informed. For the intelligentsia, the Per Capita Incomes and narrow disparities in wealth are a measure of a country?s economic progress. Just having billionaires at one narrow end of the scale and countless of people living in stark poverty and dying due to hunger, famine, sickness and committing suicides on the other widest end of the scale, does not augur well for any country. In India, all calamities get reported in the free press, but not in China where press is muzzled. There, only what Government wants appears in the press. If there is a major air crash and hundreds of people die of it, one should not be surprised if it does not appear in the press.
I read an interesting article written by the respected journalistic, Jonathan Powers, who has rightly said the country to watch in future is Brazil and not China or India and he has given valid and convincing reasons for it. One has to realise that Brazil has immense resources compared to China or India and very, very less population, compared to the latter two.
Chinese goods are no doubt cheap, but far, far inferior in quality compared to goods manufactured by many countries, including India. To cite an example, if China is that advanced then why is that the ?Hero? pen?s design has hardly changed since the 1960s? There are famous names with brand image manufacturing goods in China, namely Sony, etc., but these goods are manufactured under the parent companies supervision and there is no room for compromise in quality and secondly cheap labour helps them a lot.
Nelson Lewis, Bahrain
Author: Nelson Lewis- Bahrain