Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Propaganda Might Become True

In China's media these days, confidence is the buzz word. It seems people want to believe that, as the developed world is in decline China will become the new land of opportunities.

I have been warning people around me that the impact of this global recession on China hasn't fully unfolded yet, things can get much worse before they get better. China cannot rely on export or real estate to continue its growth any more. And it will be a long time before China can have a strong domestic market. The social harmony touted in the media may be destablized by massive unemployment and increasing international trade conflicts.

But there is a reason I came back to China at this moment. I, too, am enticed by the opportunities in China in the future. All the flaws here are also opportunities for development. Throughout Chinese history, crisis motivates important social changes more than anything else.

Yes Chinese products today are distrusted by both foreign and domestic consumers. Maybe some milk we are drinking is still unsafe and some houses we are buying leaks on rainy days. But now that almost none of us can stand this anymore, we might finally all try to produce creative and high quality things whatever industry we are in.

Yes Chinese bureucrats are wasting a colossal amount of taxpayer money on luxurious dinner, on vacations disguised as business trips, and even on their mistresses. But that means if we can curb that kind of corruption, the money we save might be enough to cover all the debts in medical care, education and social safety net.

Yes China's environment is polluted and the natural resources are strained. But that means, unlike resource-rich countries like Brazil or Australia, we will have the urgency to develope green technologies and adopt a more environmentally conscious life style.

Yes most Chinese are still very poor, we have 25% of the world's population but only 5% of the world's wealth. But if we can lift more people out of poverty and give each person the freedom and the means to fully realize his/her potential, China will indeed become a land of opportunities and a new engine for the world's economy.

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