Based on population and area, China ranks among the top five world’s largest countries. As far as the area is concerned, China is placed as the third largest in the world, while, in terms of population, the country is top of the list. China is a developing country; however it enjoys the benefits of a capitalist economy while being under control of the communist leadership, in its political settings. The civilization of China took off more than 5000 years ago. The country has played a vital role in history of humankind, and Chinese culture continues to influence different regions of the globe. The origin of Chinese civilization was in the plain of the North China, dating back to around 1700 B.C, with the popularity of Shang dynasty. In this study paper, we seek to explore the developmental problems faced in China. Some of the developmental problems are faced currently, and some were experienced in the past. The first section will provide detailed information concerning China and this will be in relation to geographical information, significant political, cultural, and historical facts. In addition, the paper will provide demography, economic, environmental, and quality of life issues of the Chinese people. The final section of this paper will explore the possible ways forward on the development issues identified in the above section.
China is situated in the eastern part of Asia with its on-land boundaries along as many as fourteen other states, such as Russian and Mongolia, Vietnam and North Korea, India and Nepal, Afghanistan and Pakistan, among the others. On the other hand, its boundaries are surrounded with the waters of the East China Sea and the South China Sea, Korea Bay and the Yellow Sea. The country has three geographic subdivisions; the west is mountainous while the northeast is covered with deserts and basins, and the east is plains and valleys. The famous geographical arrangements include the Himalayan Mountains with the Everest highest peak, or the Tibetan Plateau. The climate of China varies because of the diverse geographical aspect of the country. The south has a tropical climate while the east climate is temperate. The Tibetan Plateau is majorly arid and cold while the northern deserts equally exhibit arid climates. China’s population, according to statistics, is expected to reach 1.4 billion by 2026. The majority of Chinese populations does not nominate the exact religions belonging; however, people are non- 10% practice Buddhism. The capital city of China is Beijing with a population of about 11 million. Other main cities include Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen. The official language is Mandarin, a tonal language in the Sino-Tibetan family. Notable, about half of China’s population can communicate in standard mandarin. Other significant languages in the country include Wu, Min, Cantonese, Jin, Xiang, Hakka, and Ping.
Modern Chinese history dates as of 1912, when the last Chinese emperor gave up his throne and the nation governance was transformed into a republic. However, the year 1912 and onwards periods featured political instability and military activities, in China. Shortly after that, the two main political parties were founded in an effort to resolve China’s problems. These were the communist party and Chinese national party, also known as Kuomintang. 1931 saw the emergence of other political problems in China and this was after Japan detained Manchuria. This was the main reason for the war between Japan and China. However, during the period of war, the two parties in the country united, so as to ensure victory in the battle; however, later they fell apart, in 1945. After the end of the civil war in 1949, the communist party took over China under the leadership of Mao Zedong. In the early years of the communist party’s reign, China experienced several problems such as mass starvation, disease, and malnutrition. The period is known for a shift to a planned economy, contiguous division of the rural population into as many as 50,000 independent communes. Each of the subdivisions was held accountable for farming and industrial enterprises, as well as its own educational institutions. The death of Chairman Mao Zedong led to Deng Xiaoping taking over and ensuring economic liberalization in the country. In the current setting, China remains under the leadership of capitalism and strict political guidance, while officially remaining a communist country.
China’s government is a communist nation with unicameral legislative branch known as National People’s Congress. The total composition of the government is 2,987 members from regional, municipal, and provincial level. The country also prides in a judicial branch, which includes Supreme People’s Court, Special People’s Court, and Local People’s Court. The country’s economy has undergone rapid transformations in the recent decades. China’s past economy paid attention to a highly planned economic system with specialized communes. Most notable is the fact that the country’s economy was closed to international trade and any foreign trades. 1970s came with considerable transformations in the economy aspect, which led to current China’s increasingly economically tied to the world’s countries. In 2008, statistics reported China as the world’s largest economy. China’s economy enjoys a 43% GDP growth rate. The country’s agriculture takes 25%, and industrial and service related sector is at 32% of its economy. Agriculture comprises mainly of growing of rice, potatoes, wheat, and tea. The industrial sector focuses on raw mineral processing and manufacturing of diverse items.
China has been attaining a remarkable rate of development of its economy and augment of its presence in the global economy. China’s accomplishments have been impressive over the past 2-3 decades, mostly when evaluated in the light of its history. These developments, however, face various challenges and, in this section, the paper aims at analyzing problems faced by the country during its high pace development. The rapid economic growth over the past couple of decades has come at a cost of degradation of environment, in China. Moreover, the development problems include economical, political, and social aspects of life in the country. China, which is among the world’s top developing countries, faces various challenges of environmental protection, resulting from its rapid economic development. The environmental problems can be split into seven categories, such as land, water, industry, energy, population, air, and the “Three Gorges Dam” controversial project. In the middle of the 1980s, China had experienced a momentous diminution of its cultivated land. For instance, in the late 1980s China reported a loss of over 2 million hectares of arable land, resulting from irrigation. These losses lowered the amount of arable land and yet agricultural activities remain a key contributor to the country’s economy. In addition, irrigation problems contaminated the remaining land for cultivation, which led to reduced agricultural activities in China.
Soil erosion, cutting of trees, and desertification of land has equally led to the speedy spoiling of China’s ecological system. As a corollary, during the last years most the wildlife and inland aquatic habitats have been extinguished. The speed of desertification of land almost doubled from the middle of 1980s to date. The rivers have lost their water content such as the Huang River upstream decreased by approximately a quarter in volume, in the beginning of the 1990s, thus, leading to problems with floods, in the country. For instance, Yangtze River flooded, in 1998, which led to almost 135 billion Yuan of losses for the economy. The resulting loss of arable land has led to consequences of controversial trends: the growing demand in grain due to an increasing population while the capacity to satisfy this demand has been decreasing. The current developments in various sectors, in the nation of China, have attracted people from various parts of the world who have differing missions, since the problems in the environmental trends raise concerns in terms of how China will provide food for 1.3 billion of its population and protect its environment, at the same time.
Focusing on China’s developing of manufacturing enterprises, the industrial pollution poses a serious threat to the ecological environment. China is well known for its boom in industrialization when compared to various parts of the world. Industrialization poses a severe threat to the environment as it causes both air, water and soil pollution. If no step is taken, China will be rendered a non agricultural zone because of its high concentration on industrialization. China enjoys low energy costs hence the power sector is prone to produce the respective wastes. On a daily basis, China’s factories release large amounts of unprocessed wastes, which do not go through decontamination process. The notable example of pollution is Huang River. 80% of industrial waste deposited into the river comes from mining industries, chemical plants, textile factories, oil companies, paper, and food. The provinces, Gansu and Ningxia, which are around the river, play host to various industries, which release large volumes of wastewater into the river. As long as China’s industries fail to invest in the wastes processing technology, in order to combat pollution and the local governments do not place enough efforts towards the protection of the environment by enforcing respective laws, there are faint chances of changing this situation. China has several reserves of oil, coal, and water but still lacks enough resources to sustain its ever growing population. China faces incredible problems as it struggles to preserve its resource and improve controls of its environment for the next generations. Some efforts have been placed to diversify energy resources and cut down on the use of coal; however, China’s growing economy places outstanding demands in terms of energy and resources consumptions. These factors contribute to the deterioration of China’s environment which, in turn, affects its development objectives. China heavily relies on coal, since its deposits are elementary source of energy.
China’s growing energy consumption trend may lead to the need for imports in oil to satisfy its energy demand in the future to come. In 2005, China’s oil production reached around 180 million tons a day. This oil volume is not sufficient to meet China’s pending demand for oil; however, country failed in obtaining US oil products, recently. Another notable developmental problem includes availability of water. In relation to the country’s population, there is an immense need for water supply and use. However, an immense dumping of waste in the rivers and inefficient utilization of water resources led to severe shortage in water, especially in the North provinces of China; hence, problems regarding water pollution are hard to resolve.
Strategies for Development
The government of China pursues two connected strategic goals within its development program, which is western-oriented. The main goal seeks reverting of the long-run destruction of the country’s environment, whereas the second goal aims at increasing of income for the large number of local poor citizens, especially, in the rural areas. The immense importance of attaining these goals is quite apparent, n relation to China’s long-term plan. The dense population that lives in poverty in western areas of China and destruction of the environment are the two factors that contribute towards each other. In addition, there is a vicious cycle among the development problems in China and the outcome, largely, due to errors in agricultural policy, in the past. Agricultural development policy has been in place in order to help resolve the environmental developmental problems in China. A key element of this policy has been concentrated around satisfying needs in grain within country’s own resources. This goal has been emphasized not only at the all-country level but also at the level of each economic unit. However, the nation has endeavored to producing grain over and above the level required for self-sustenance. This massive pressure ensures the importance that any region in China, province, village, county, and household need to have enough food to sustain their living. Through grain sufficiency at all levels, the reform has already acquired an outstanding force and reputation. However, Chinese people have aligned themselves to the notion that grain cannot be the crucial link to sustainability. Implementation of the agricultural policy has not been an easy task either with different people and organizations opposing the approach. The major challenge of this approach to developmental problems is the lack of grain market in China and the outside regions. The government needs to establish and enhance a reliable and highly efficient market for the grain production. This will act as a foundation for the cultivators and producers of grain, so as to have confidence in supporting the agricultural policy.
Extensive agricultural activities in some regions with extremely delicate ecological system resulted in severe environmental implications. The ever growing population asserts heavier costs on the environment, hence threatening sustainable development of environment and agriculture. Most of the arable land has been lost to other activities such as industrial development. In this case, the Chinese government dedicates large amounts of resources to restore arable land and convert it to meadows and forests. There is widespread environmental awareness in China through different government initiatives. For instance, the construction of the Great Wall aims at protecting the cradle of Chinese civilization and the country’s environment. Such approaches as restoration of the environment along with economic advancement of China helps resolve some of the growth problems that the country faces. In relation to water developmental problems, the country seeks to apply water saving and processing technologies, which enhance water utilization and preservation. In addition, the government encourages its citizens to plant grass and trees in order to restore the initial vegetation cover. The innovation and implementation of modern technologies in relation to environmental developmental problems can help resolve the issues and allow for significant developments. It is essential for China to utilize their technological knowhow to solve its problems. Some of the problems that have occurred to the environment are irreversible; however, various other ways to solve the problem should be sought to make the human survival viable.
There is the problem of rapidly growing population in China, which hinders the country’s development. In this case, the Chinese government has put measures in place, so as to control the population growth. For instance, the one-child policy in China has focus on the family planning issues amongst families. The government created the one-child policy to help curb the growing population in China. Every couple was encouraged to have one child, at most, instead of the several children that people had before and could not provide for their survival. One-child policy outlined the various advantages of having one child in the hard economic times. This helped curb the demographics developmental problems faced by China.
China was founded in the vicinity of Huang He about 5000 B.C.E. Around 1500 B.C.E., the precursor of contemporary China’s ideographic writing characters emerged, which laid the basis for the emerging feudal state to advance civilization development. This period in Chinese history is known under the name of Chou dynasty (1122-249 B.C.E.). This laid the foundation of Chinese philosophical thought development, which comprise the studies of Mo Ti, Lao-tse, and Mencius.
China’s Political Problems
After the communist party came to power, and the People’s Republic of China was established in 1949, the authoritarian governance became a norm. As a result, there was the lack of political freedom. When the reforms were made, there was a high pace economic development; however, the reforms on the political arena remained wishful thinking. The government exerts absolute power over politics and often eradicates domestic threat through exercising of excess of force and authority. It has become a common place to Imprison political opponents or journalists, who criticize the government; therefore, many communist party members were put under strict house arrest. For example, during the protest at Tiananmen Square in 1989, there was a violent intervention by the Chinese military, with 15 days of martial law resulting in the government crackdown of sympathizers. Foreign mass media were prohibited whereas local media closely monitored or banned. There were no freedom of speech, freedom of religion and the political rights.
The political transformation is slow in China. This make it largely isolated from the rest of the world’s nations, closely restricting foreign activities. The political system in the country resulted into war over the territories. For example, there was a war over the island of Taiwan; Republic of China claimed that the island lied within their territory as opposed by the Taiwan government. The political critic of China has become increasingly pronounced. To date, there are many concerns about the political, commercial, social, and environmental concerns with accusations that China is mostly responsible for the climate change, worldwide.
In the political sector, China has tried its best to deal with the politics that affect its nation. In most cases, political instability brings about severe developmental problems in a country. In China, political problems have manifested issues of political freedom, repression and independence, but western media’s reports concentrate mainly on the harsh crackdown by the Chinese government. They have put up various efforts to deal with cases that depict an upcoming political chaos, which will affect the country. In cultural and economic issues, China is regarded as one of the longest continuous civilization in human history. An immense population mars China’s cultural history. The country undergoes continuous development, which is attractive to the whole world; therefore, people from various parts of the world often visit this nation to borrow some aspects of its development that they will apply to boost their country’s development. There are people of various cultures, in China, and this makes it a multicultural nation.
China is one of the most developed nations in the world. It is ranked among the top nations because of the high investment in industrialization. This rank has not been reached with ease, in China. There are various problems that the country has faced in its upward move. These problems have been discussed above, and they comprise of geographical, political, social, cultural and political issues. China has used various strategies to move its development to high levels. First, it sought the effort of financial professionals to advice on various sides of the economy. China had to make a powerful decision about investments in terms of their application. The decision settled on science that is worked on to date. Despite this, China’s manufacturing sector has faced several obstacles. According to world banks report, there is a developing trend towards high levels of unemployment as the society turns to machine operations, which require less manpower. With its geographical location, China faces stiff competition from its neighbors who are economically strong and have the ability to invest in industrialization. China has a task of investing in market strategy so as to manufacture products that are acceptable in the market and meet the demands of a dynamic community. China has also to invest in its political climate, so that it is stable, to allow various developments to be undertaken, in the nation.