Continued from Part Two.
Not only has the environment garnered more public attention, the government recognizes that China also can’t continue to consume such vast amounts of power. So, commitments have been made to putting a ceiling on energy consumption.
Where exactly that ceiling will be — as a population of 1 billion buys air conditioners, refrigerators and cars — remains the be seen, but it has to start somewhere.
In one of his strongest statements, President Hu Jintao said (amongst a growing sense of moral decay in society): “If the anti-corruption campaign fails, the party, even the country, may perish,” and committed that no party member or businessperson is above the law.
Militarily, Mr. Hu voiced a defense of China’s sea territory, which many took as a result of recent tensions with Japan over a string of small islands.
Rather more vague references were made to extending the state’s control over arts, media and education, which may worry those who fear freedom of speech and expression are already far too strictly censored.
Finally, he announced that China would create a complete, multi-tiered and sustainable social security system covering both cities and the countryside. Don’t expect fast movement on this — the costs could be huge, but the intent could be linked to fears of social unrest from those who have benefited least by China’s economic miracle; a safety net offered by the state could be seen as insurance against the disadvantaged taking matters into their own hands.
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has been in power since 1949. If the current crop of new masters makes it to the end of their 10-year term, the party will have exceeded the Soviet Communist Party’s 69 years in power.
How many will be taking a bet on that coming to reality (at least in its current guise) is somewhat less today than it was five or 10 years ago.
Image source: news.kuwaittimes.net