China is a huge place, of that there is no doubt. With over 1.3 billion people it faces enormous pressures and challenges that only people of Asia and subcontinent can truly understand.
This was brought home to me again recently when talking to a Kazakh friend of mine in Shanghai about Avarian “Bird” disease currently threatening China. All this very intelligent and educated man could offer as to why’s and where’s was intonation “too many people, too many people”
This ‘analysis” may sound simplistic to scientists and medical experts who attempt to understand and contain spread of this disease but, sometimes, simple analysis is best.
China has huge problems as a result of population pressure. People need to be fed, employed, clothed, warmed, transported and made to feel secure. As P.R.C. officials have said on countless occasions, in part justification of it’s Human Rights record, is that idea of widespread unrest and lawlessness in a country with population size of China’s is unthinkable.
China is starving for fuel, it is short of many resources, it is sinking in it’s own pollution, hygiene is poor and it’s environment and natural resources are being degraded at a rapid rate. The threat of Avarian disease, SARS or any number of untold other diseases is very, very real.
Add to this challenge of having 56 ethnic groups within it’s boundaries and large representations of major world religions, often than not, very different in ideology and outlook to each other.
The sum result is an unbelievable challenge for any government and, one that you can not help but think, would be beyond capabilities of a totally democratic government in Westminster style.
As commentators and analysts, especially those of us with a Human Rights bent, we can so easily fall into trap of, for want of better words, “China Bashing”. That very comfortable zone where it is easy to provide criticism but rarely put forward solutions.
The P.R.C. say that we are witnessing birth of a “New China”, a China that will take her place in world as an equal and be able to hold her head high in company of her peers.