`Fault Lines On The Face Of China: 50 Reasons Why China May Never Be Great’ - Excerpt 85“In China’s rush to become an economic superpower, the nation’s leaders have followed Deng Xiaoping’s famous phrase – ‘Let some become rich first’ – by creating an increasingly wealthy and pampered upper class. Deng’s phrase today is more appropriately stated as ‘Let some become richer and richer.’When Deng Xiaoping opened the doors to China in 1979, he was effectively opening the doors to the world’s biggest casino, and formally declaring that its almost 1.3 billion citizens could step up to the tables and throw the dice.Deng also said ‘To become rich is glorious.’ And China’s middle classes are enjoying scooping up as much of this type of glory as they can possibly find. That’s why China’s booming cities are becoming temples to conspicuous consumerism. It is why, despite the easy access to fake goods such as Louis Vuitton handbags, many young and well-heeled Chinese prefer to pay for the real thing, at a price which may represent many months’ salary for them and perhaps a whole year’s salary for those in the rural areas. It is why, in 2006, Chinese people bought over 12% of all luxury goods worldwide. Luxury car maker Bentley, for example, has sold more units of its US$1.2 million Mulliner 728 model in Beijing than in any other city in the world. Yachts. Cars. Houses. Jewelry. International travel. They’re all being sought and bought by China’s new rich.Not bad for a country that continually claims it is ‘poor,’ often describing itself as a ‘developing nation.’”
Of course it’s this lust for profit that is the direct cause of scandals such as the tainted milk that has killed four children and put the health of fifty thousand more in direct danger. The sad fact is too many Chinese companies put profit above morality. It is a way of business that is deeply ingrained in the nation’s culture. Money, money, and more money.
Get this: China’s government knew of this problem during the Olympics, but they kept it hushed up.
That’s just so fucked up. What kind of monstrous, twisted outlook could allow that? How the fuck, how the fuck can the Chinese people be so passive about this? A bit of grumbling in cyberspace – fuck that. Why are they not marching in the streets? Why are they giving their leaders a free pass?
But hold the outrage. I know better. I know perfectly well that the death of a few more children and a lifetime of worries for thousands more children and parents meant nothing to the chance to strut and boast on the world stage. And the death of kids is an everyday thing in China anyhow. It’s no big deal. As long as your precious kid is okay, the rest can be forgotten. So the fortnight of the Olympics, just like the pursuit of profit, mattered far more than any amount of pain, suffering and death.
For the government it was as much about political pride as it was about money. But despite their belated promises to stop such things happening again, despite Wen Jiabao’s cynical photo-ops with kids in hospital, despite the resignation of Li Chanjiang, nothing will change. It’s just more window-dressing bullshit from the same bunch of criminals and scumbags. And the milk scandal is no more than the flavor of the moment – there will be another one next month, or the month after that.
Nothing will change until China has political and business leaders who must face public accountability. But, more fundamentally, nothing will change until China learns to value morality more than money.
`Fault Lines On The Face Of China: 50 Reasons Why China May Never Be Great’ - Excerpt 86
“But this middle class – and China’s economic miracle itself -- exists by economically preying on the much larger group of China’s generally poor and less well educated rural citizens. China’s growing wealth, in other words, relies on a combination of low wages, high unemployment and foreign direct investment.
Trouble for China’s labor market can already be seen, as state media reported at the end of 2006. ‘Despite government figures to indicate China still has a contingent of 150 million migrant workers awaiting to be transferred from rural to urban areas, signs have emerged to show that the country’s labor resources [are] on a trend of shrinkage,’ said reports, noting that booming Guangdong Province was already experiencing an annual shortfall of two million laborers.
One of the reasons behind this impending labor shortage is not, in fact, a lack of people to do the work – it is instead a lack of decent wages on offer. The much trusted American concept of ‘A fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work’ has no place in the casino that is China. China’s government in fact needs unemployment to remain high and wages to remain low, and the continuation of China’s economic success is based on the dangerous gamble that the millions of poor will continue to bear this rapacious exploitation in silence.”