China’s recent episode which saw a riot occur in the city of Xintang is indicative of a country still with a ways to go.
The truth is that China’s economy is still a powerhouse. On a social level, it is improving. It isn’t the same country that saw them oppose us and provide militarily support to North Vietnam. Long gone are the days of the Cultural Revolution and this is no longer the same communist nation that saw a man stand in front of a tank at Tienamen Square. The rights of individuals are getting better and the liberties of individuals are also improving. But they have a ways to go.
The first glaring issue is their single party system. It is the mark of a flourishing society when multiple sides can approach each other in civil discourse. Token opposition doesn’t cut it, either. There has to be substantive, dissenting views present. Because if someone’s views aren’t being represented, history has shown time and again, violence will follow. Every revolution, violent and non-violent, has begun with people who felt as though they weren’t being heard.
Religious freedom is something that is lacking as well. Chinese Christians were imprisoned for gathering in public, on Easter. I did some reading and there are churches but they all have to be sanctioned by the state. Which, usually means the churches there have a “pro-China” bent. People here always talk about the separation of church and state but as I have said, and what China needs to do, is separate the state and church.
The last is economic protections for citizens. I don’t necessarily like all unions but workers have a right to organize and negotiate terms. I’m sure laws are present against businesses who don’t pay wages but unless they are enforced they aren’t really laws.
All of that said, China is still growing and there will be growing pains. It isn’t going to happen overnight and things will get shaky for them. In the long term however, China has a bright future both as a powerful economy, and a blossoming nation.