Asian Currents

Considering the size of the Chinese population, I suppose it is lamentably understandable if you are not aware of massive storms that have killed and made homeless a relatively small amount of people. However, these storms might hold much greater meaning, as they are being referred to by some as Climate Change Storms. The implications of a changing climate are not only momumental for China, but for the whole world – the fact that this month’s storms have already “affected 200 million” (Times Online) shows how seriously the world needs to not only recognize but take action.

The size of the problem and the disaster potential here in China is definitely huge, but it cannot be said that it is going unnoticed. Although more than one observer is skeptical of a government that goes to such lengths in micromanaging public discourse, the government has had a relatively consistent internal dialogue about the importance of controlling environmental distraction and climate change. The rapidly developing economy of China is held above most other things as a paramount concern, and the economic impacts of rising oceans and increasingly ferocious “climate change storms” are all too obvious. Also, the issue of China’s massive population and an increasing economic disparity in its society is a constant concern. The degree to which today’s economic prosperity has been spread around (often at least enough to be noticed by rural people, but not always), has worked to create a relatively peaceful situation in many parts of China. It is still very evident, however, how unrest continues to stir in the many places of deep poverty. Climate change has the long term affect of affecting the economy, but also guarentees a degree of political instability, especially since the impact of environmental destruction is unequally felt amongst the population.

The momentum of bad as it moves towards worse is of course always a challenge for any government. This is no exception for China, and observers say that the government is finding itself having to catch up from ignoring certain situations for too long.
Aside from the environmental crisis, some are predicting that China’s economy, which has been allowed to grow at a spectacular rate, an expansion supported by the maintaining of a massive trade imballance, is hardly sustainable.
Also, of course, there is the recent uproar over the quality and safety of goods that are exported out of China to around the world. Even Indonesia, in South East Asia, has recently blocked certain products coming from China over concerns of their quality and safety.
In response, the Chinese government has gone on a campaign of its own to restore international trust, and has shut down a number of companies that are producing inferior food, medicine, and other products, such as the toothpaste that is blamed for several deaths.

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