China’s Peaceful Rise

America has only been known as a ‘Super Power’ for 67 years, since the end of World War II, along with Russia and the British Empire. However after the ‘Cold War’, America continued to grow in power and reputation than the other nations. And that is the way it stayed… until now.

 China has been making massive trade and investment deals with Latin America and Africa, allowing them to make their stand as one of the players for being the new superpower. The media have been saying that the 21st century is China’s century. Very much like the 20th belonged to the Americans and the 19th to the British.

Barry Buzan is Montague Burton Professor of International Relations at the London School of Economics. He has been following China’s Economical growth and asserts that,

“China certainly presents the most promising all-round profile”. Of a potential superpower. Buzan claims that,

“China is currently the most fashionable potential superpower and the one whose degree of alienation from the dominant international society makes it the most obvious political challenger.” China has entered its new ‘Golden Age’ of prosperity. Since the loosening of the chains of Communism, China has grown considerable wealthy. Although the wealth is confined to the major cities, Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Chongqing. The wealth gap doesn’t seem to deter the Chinese from going to strength to strength in the world rankings. This growth in the economy hasn’t gone unnoticed by the rest of the world.

Many critics cite this as China’s down fall. History tells us that the Chinese people only allow a governing body to rule when there is prosperity in the land, this may be true for some but the vast majority of people living in China are living a poor life. In June 2011, there were riots in the Guangdong province of China, the manufacturing heartland. The riots were over unpaid wages and the heavy-handed response to the workers upset. This shows the social unrest of China’s poor majority, migrant workers from the countryside, the mainstay of China’s Economy. Working away from home, for little wages and long hours

‘Unrest is thought to have become increasingly frequent, although data is hard to come by. The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences has estimated that there were more than 90,000 mass incidents in 2006, with further increases in the following two years. ‘ 

Tania Branigan, the Guardian Newspaper.

However China fails to recognise this at the moment and ploughs on developing its cities and businesses. They have even published a White Paper called, ‘China’s Peaceful Development’, the name was changed from ‘China’s Peaceful Rise’ as it may have been misconstrued as threating.

Five Chapters of ‘China’s Peaceful Development’

The report’s main aim is to assure America and the rest of Asia that China’s ‘Military and Economical prominence will not pose a threat to peace and stability, and that other nations will benefit from PRC’s rising power and influence.’ 

Over all China has accomplished so much progression in the past decades and deserve to be an accredited country, however there is still serious issue within China and they will not progress more unless they realise their own problems, instead of what the world thinks of China, especially the USA.

Potential Superpower: China

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China’s Image Abroad

Over the past few decades the world has seen tourism in China expand enormously.  It is now the third most visited country in the world and in 2010 alone it saw 55.98 million tourists explore its incredible culture.

So what is it that attracts so many to this historical country?

That is what I aim to find out.  I want to discover how China is “sold” to potential tourists through travel brochures and sites.  I want to show what these travel agents have to offer and how they encourage this ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ trip.

Over the years, china has seen a lot of destruction and as a result has had to construct new ‘historic’ buildings or temples from scratch to promote tourism.  It does, however, still hold some of the greatest wonders of the world.

The first thing I noticed when looking at these travel brochures and sites were the glorified photographs.  Whilst that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, I began to see similarities between many of the photos and all these sites were promoting the same tourist attractions; The Great Wall of China, the Xi’an’s Terracotta Army, The Forbidden Palace and Tian’anmen Square.  These are the main tourist attractions, but China has a lot more to offer.

Most travel sites offer a variety of holiday’s packages, including family holidays, group holidays, holidays for those travelling alone and those for students.  However, most are encouraging group tours. During my research I came across a travel site called Wendy Wu Tours.  This site offers an experience that is slightly different to any I’ve seen before.  It promotes group tours depending on your fitness level.  There are three categories; comfortable, medium and active paced tours.   I think this is a great way to promote a holiday, however like many group tours you are given a few days to explore China for yourself and for many who are left without the security of a tour guide who knows the culture and language it can be very hard to adjust to and can be very challenging.

When it comes to advice, most travel sites don’t offer much on what to be aware of and most are promoting group tours.  But Travel the Real China is a website that gives brilliant advice on places to go, what to be aware of and gives an account of someone’s personal experiences.  He’s honest about the things he struggled with such as the language barrier but also says that ‘Seeing and experiencing the Real China will change your life’ everything from the sights and the sounds to the people and the amazing food.  Along with Travel the Real China, Audley Travel gives an incredible account of China and what to expect.  It provides itinerary ideas, suggested accommodation, travel guides, the best time of year to go and specialist knowledge.

Tourists are clearly drawn to this country’s incredible culture, its history and the stories it has to tell, but how much longer will this last? China is under threat from rapid monderisation.  Many communities have been destroyed to make room for China’s booming population and the only way to do this is by building tall blocks of apartments where these small communities once lived.   Whilst Thomson travel sites promotes a fascinating holiday that tells a story of two countries, one being ‘an ancient kingdom embedded in the past, the other an electrifying agent of change’ it also warns tourists that ‘the China of old threatens to disappear forever’ due to ongoing changes in its economy.

All these travel sites and brochures offer different things but all of them continue to encourage tourists to visit this incredible country; a country that has a reputation for exceptional hospitality and a culture that is so inspiring.

Thomson describe its China tours as a way to ‘discover the unique rural landscape in all its glory’, Thomas Cook describes it as ‘unmissable’ and Audley Travel say ‘China is truly a country of thrilling contrasts, bursting with energy and magic.’

I suppose it’s the same with any holiday, no matter how much research you do beforehand you never know what to expect until you experience it for yourself.  For me, I’d love to experience the Real China.

Inside China

The British flag was lowered over Government House in Hong Kong – at midnight 1st July 1997. Since then, Hong Kong had handed back to the Chinese authorities, and ended the British control for more than 150 years. The handover comes with the freedom of ‘One Country Two Systems’ in this Special Administrative Region for fifty years and it is granted to remain as an individual city with its own government and policies.

In the past fifteen years, China’s growing prosperity and the rising international status has shocked the world. Despite the fact that china has become the country that everyone is talking about, the population in Hong Kong that claimed themselves as “Chinese” people are decreasing significantly.

A recent survey about the “Strength of Chinese Citizen Identity”, conducted by the Hong Kong University Public Opinion Programme (HKU POP), found people in Hong Kong that would identify themselves as “Chinese Citizen” has dropped to the lowest record in the past twelve years while those would identify themselves as” Hong Kong Citizen” has raised to the highest in the past ten years.

The China’s economic growth and development are running in counter to the identification of Hong Kong people. This is difficult for others to work out the reason, and as the survey point out, it may be outside the scope of the economic effects. Since Hong Kong is returned to China from 1997, it is struggling on finding its own identity. The central dilemma in Hong Kong is on how to redefine itself now as part of China.

While Hong Kong is getting more and more interactions with China in different aspects, the underlying political, social, moral and cultural values, as well as language, between Hong Kong and Mainland China are still very distinct. The previous colonial background has left Hong Kong a very different intrinsic value on system of education, transportation, architecture, mass media etc. Many facilities came together when their core values were introduced in Hong Kong based on the British model. It is undeniable that Hong Kong was profoundly affected by the western culture. In the contrary, China has a long history with its own oriental cultural values and different systems of the development as compared to Hong Kong. Therefore, the merger of these two places with different cultural values must be handled with care.

Starting from Year 2005, Hong Kong government has loosened the requirement on the visiting visa of Chinese citizens as well as the immigration requirement. There are 150 quotas per day for immigrants from China to immigrate into Hong Kong. Since then, there are more and more Chinese tourists and immigrants flowing into Hong Kong. This has greatly boosted the tourism industry as well as the service industry and has created many opportunities for Hong Kong. In the meantime, the large numbers of new immigrants – which accounts to 55,000 per years- are usually with lower education level and are difficult for them to find a job in the place. Therefore most of these new immigrants are living under the government benefits and sometimes criticized for slowing down the economy of the Hong Kong and putting more burdens on taxpayers. This is widely discussed among Hong Kong society that this huge number of low-skilled immigrants flowing into Hong Kong is a great burden to the whole city. As compared to other countries in the world, immigration requirement usually tends to attract high-educated and skilled labours to the benefits of the place. Therefore, this policy in Hong Kong is widely discussed and it sometimes imposes negative feeling on new immigrants by the locals.

Recently, many pregnant women in China try to arrange to go to Hong Kong to give birth, so that the baby can have a Hong Kong Residence. However, the huge numbers of booking by these groups of non-local mothers had even excessed the total numbers of local mothers. It has put a greater burden on the whole medical and hospital system in Hong Kong. After the government has imposed certain quotas for non-local mothers to give birth, in order to ease the medical situation, nevertheless, certain mainland mothers still try to come to Hong Kong without pregnancy bookings and go to the Accident and Emergency department of hospitals to give birth. This is heavily affecting the normal medical system in Hong Kong. With many criticisms in the Hong Kong society, the quarrel between Hong Kong people and Chinese people has become fiercer.

As a unique area in China, Hong Kong has attracted different people around China to pose opportunities. In the contrary, there are also many underlying issues that diverges the two kinds of people. In this great time of China, Hong Kong people’s recognition of Chinese identity seems to be some kind of quiet protest towards the country. The move from colonial to Chinese rule has proved a wrenching experience, a psychological rupture that could take years to resolve.