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Peoples' republic of China

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PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA: A POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC ASSESSMENT [1996] Introduction This study assesses the political and economic future of the People's Republic of China (PRC) up to the year 1996. The initial discussion following this introduction reviews Chinese history-mostly recent-that is directly relevant to the purpose of this study. The historical review is followed by a consideration of the foreign relations of the PRC that incorporates an assessment of the future global political role of the country. The last of the major discussions presented in this study addresses the economic development of the PRC and the likely impact of the PRC on the global economy in the future. Relevant History As the official policy of the government of the PRC from its inception was to trade with all countries, whether or not diplomatic relations had been established, business entities from most countries, other than the United States, developed trading arrangements with China in the 1950s and 1960s. During the 1950s, Chinese foreign trade was heavily oriented toward the Soviet Union. By 1959, 48 percent of China's foreign trade was with the Soviets. Political disagreements between the two countries, caused Soviet trade to drop to only 7.5 percent of China's total foreign trade by 1966 (Manatoo, 1990, pp. 63-79). With the decline in the significance of the China-Soviet trade, there was a dramatic rise in the significance of China-Japan trade. By the end of the 1970s, Japan was China's leading trade partner; a position it has maintained. By 1988, the PRC's leading trading partners were Japan, Hong Kong, and the United States, in that order. Japan is an important trading partner with respect to both imports and exports, while Hong Kong is more important to China as an outlet for its exports, and the United States is more important as a source of imported products, particularly technology (Manatoo, 1990, pp. 63-79). The popular uprising in Beijing in 1989 and the PRC government's crushing of that uprising before the television cameras of the world ...read more.


are under age 30 (Waddle, 1993, pp. 59-96). Officially, there are 56 nationality, or ethnic, population groups in the People's Republic of China. In the 55 smaller groups, there are 70 million people (greater than the population of most countries) who are distributed over 60 percent of China's geographic area (Waddle, 1993, pp. 59-76). The country's largest ethnic group-the Han Chinese, however, number in excess of one-billion persons. Therefore, the typical Chinese must be viewed as an ethnic Han. There are great differences, however, within the Han ethnic group. Eight mutually unintelligible language dialects are spoken by the Han, each of which contains several sub-dialects, and differences in cuisine, dress, and custom also characterize the Han residing in different regions of the country. The Han Chinese, however, consider such differences "as minor and superficial" (De Glopper, 1993, pp. 97-150). One great unifying characteristic of the Han Chinese is the written language which does not reflect the differences between the spoken dialects and sub-dialects. Circa 200 A.D., Han ethnic unity was developed by the centralized imperial state of the Han Dynasty. This legacy of a strong central government and of Han unity survives and is significant in contemporary China. Since the repudiation of the Cultural Revolution that lasted from 1966-to-1976, the development or the education system in China has been geared particularly to the advancement of economic modernization (Savada & Dolan, 1993, pp. 151-204). Among important efforts taken to improve the country's educational system were the 1984 decision to enact several major laws on education, and a 1985 plan to reform the educational system. In the reform plan, the government introduced a requirement for nine years of compulsory education. Since the creation of the People's Republic in 1949, attempts have been made to put an end to academic elitism (Savada & Dolan, 1993, pp. 151-204). Formal efforts to attain this goal were components of both The Great Leap Forward (which lasted from 1958-to-1960) ...read more.


In the urban centers, workers complain about the rising cost of living. Government leaders, thus, are concerned about the potential for social unrest. The energy situation in the PRC is serious. Sooner rather than later, the country's energy needs will far outstrip domestic sup e. Deng Xiaoping-ping, as Mao before him, has been a generalist with wide-ranging ties and support in the Communist Party, governmental apparatus, and the Army of the PRC. As long a the country accepted one primary political leader, this arrangement worked. The emerging political leaders in the PRC, however, are not generalists. Rather, these individuals are specialists whose ties and whose support are much more narrowly based than was true of the PRC's earlier leaders. The ability of such leaders to work together to provide a cohesive, coordinated, and directive leadership in the PRC is an unknown. This question is important not only in relation to the internal political and economic environment of the PRC, but also for the PRC's role in the global political and economic sphere. Foreign entities desiring to invest in China could minimize their exposure to risk by examining the possible scenarios of the country's economic future and developing good relations with the country's political and business leaders. The PRC has become the word's third biggest economy; however, the country's long-term direction is too complex to be predicted. The country could either end up as a loose group of autonomous states, a more rigid centralized economy tightly controlled by the government, a free-trade economy that will be faced with intense international competition, or variants of any of these. Political considerations, as opposed to economic considerations, likely will determine the PRC's fate with respect to GATT/WTO membership. In the United States, political chauvinists determined to impose the American conception of democracy on all other countries will pressure the American government to attempt to block GATT/WTO membership for the PRC. The Taiwan issue will fuel the fires of opposition. In the end, however, the United States does not and cannot control GATT/WTO. Thus, in the long-term, the PRC will gain GATT/WTO membership. ...read more.

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