Sunday, October 11, 2009

Contemporary China in 60 years (1995 - 1999)

(1949 - 1954), (1955 - 1959), (1960 - 1964), (1965 - 1969), (1970 - 1974), (1975 - 1979), (1980 - 1984), (1985 - 1989), (1990 - 1994)

1995: Forbes China Rich List (福布斯中国富豪排行榜)

The picture shows the 2007 List. Forbes started publishing this annual list in 1995.

The publishing of the list told the reforming of the capitalist class in New China. There were no longer only a few rich individuals. By contrast, an entire class of capitalists had reemerged. The relation between the rich and the government officials became one of the most critical social relationships in China.

1996: "China Can Say No" (《中国可以说不》)

The Chinese-version cover of the book "China Can Say No".

The book was less well written. But the meaning of the emerging of the book was remarkable. It was the beginning that the new generation Chinese started to be aggressive on how China might play more important roles in regular world affairs. China started its way of coming back to be a Big Nation again in its thousands year history.

1997: Hong Kong returned to China (香港回归)

The ceremony of Hong Kong's return to China in 1997.

This was the first step of China's reunion since the end of Qing Dynasty. Since then, Hong Kong became a model about how two fundamentally contradictory regulations might harmoniously exist together. "Part of iron and part of clay". This might be a perfect description of China since 1997.

1998: National Civil Service System founded (国家公务员制度入轨工作基本到位)

Cartoon, "Civil servant---a new gold bowl".

The National Civil Service System in contemporary China is a continuation of the Imperial Examination System in ancient China. Unlike the public service systems in western countries, the civil service system in China is a ladder for normal citizens to climb up the bureaucratic hierarchy. The system thus helps maintain the stability of the government from being overthrown. As the history of China has repeatedly shown, this type of systems can effectively protect the present government. The trade-off is, however, that the government will spend more and more resources to feed the expanding-ever group of the "civil servants" so that it may keep on effectiveness. When finally the cycle of feedback comes to a turning point, the entire system collapses rapidly. This was the cycle of dynasties in China, and it seems the cycle simply continues.

1999: The United States signed China's "accession to the WTO," a bilateral agreement (中美签署“入世”双边协议)

Charlene Barshefsky (left) and Shi Guangsheng (right) exchanged the signed text. Just before the new century, China and United States finally reached the agreement about China's accession to the WTO (World Trade Organization).

The Chinese economy was thus officially merged into the world economy. The agreement cleared the major obstacle for China's companies to export product. Hence it laid the foundation for China's rapid economic growth in the early 2000s.

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