China. The year as a whole was quite calm for China, whose
leadership devoted much to international diplomacy. Prime
Minister Hu Jintao and Prime Minister Wen Jiabao both seemed
more prone to smiling connectivity and were more Western
than their predecessors.
CountryAAH, China's unparalleled rapid economic recovery lasted. In
August, the World Bank adjusted its annual forecast for the
growth of China's GDP from 9.5 to 10.4%.
China's huge foreign exchange reserve - estimated at $ 1,000
billion - shook the world's stock exchanges towards the end
of the year, worrying that Beijing would suddenly sell off
its large dollar assets, which would lower the value of the
currency. Now the unrest caused a sell-out with other
players that just led to such a race.
China's trade surplus rose more than ever before in the year
- by 74% to a record US $ 177 billion. Exports increased by
27%, while imports increased more modestly - by 20%
according to official accounts. Economists felt that the
communist regime should use the foreign exchange reserve for
investment in education and on improved social conditions
for China's poor. If the state pays for education, Chinese
savings for consumption will be released, which would give
China further push forward, the assessors considered. President
George W. Bush, too, wanted China to consume more - especially
goods from the United States. He made this clear when he
received President Hu Jintao in Washington in April. China's
trade surplus in 2005 amounted to $ 200 billion against the
US and grew in 2006. In connection with the visit, China
ordered 80 Boeing planes.
But all is not carefree in China. Two Canadian investigators
published a study this year with testimony that imprisoned Falun Gong practitioners are deprived of their organs -
corneas, kidneys, hearts - in a hair-raising but profitable
transplant trade in Chinese healthcare.
Religious interest is growing in China. Above all, Buddhists
are growing; In Shanghai, 25 new temples have been renovated
or rebuilt since 2000. But also Christians are increasing
and are now up to 68 million. Sects and varieties occur:
"The Lightning in the East" is a strange movement that
believes that Jesus was incarnated in a woman. The sect is
said to force followers through brainwashing. The stated
goal is to defeat the Red Dragon, the Communist Party. 20
members of the sect have been murdered. Leaders of another
Christian movement, Three Degree Servants, were identified
as guilty and three of them executed despite being forced to
admit torture, according to the defense attorney.
People involved in civil rights are also being
persecuted. The blind self-taught lawyer Chen Guangcheng,
who revealed forced abortions and forced sterilizations, was
sentenced to several years in prison as well as Gao Zhisheng,
Falun Gong defender and union activists.
The protest movement in the countryside was widespread.
This was partly due to the growing gap between poor and
rich, and partly to local authorities 'sales at high prices
of farmers' land. Almost all the money disappeared on the
way to the landowners. Particularly noteworthy were the
protests in the village of Panlong, where a 13-year-old girl
died during police abuse. Concerns for the contradictions
prompted Hu Jintao to pledge to invest in the countryside in
February. "If the villages are stable, society will also be
stable," he said. Wen Jiabao confirmed at the People's
Congress in March that the government should invest in
smoothing the income gaps. "A new socialist countryside"
will be created, he said. About 800 million residents live
in the country under difficult conditions, while a rich
upper class has developed in the cities.
The fact that there are very rich Chinese became clear
when it became possible to buy a space flight from the
airline Virgin. Although the ticket cost the equivalent of
more than SEK 1 billion, 23 Chinese searched, of which one
will be allowed to travel when it becomes 2008.
In the coal mines, the accidents triggered each other as
in previous years. Each year, about 6,000 workers die in
mining accidents. China's energy needs make it difficult to
close the mines, which gives many private owners a good
The need for energy prompted Beijing to venture out into
the world in search of even more oil. Bands were tied to
Africa, where the Prime Minister visited in June, among
other things. Tanzania, Ghana, Uganda and Angola, China's
largest oil supplier. China oil is also sourced from Sudan and
Nigeria. An agreement with Zimbabwe was signed in June to
help organize coal mining and build power plants. In
November, African leaders were welcomed at a summit in
Beijing where Hu Jintao promised to double aid.
Trade with Africa has increased sharply, from $ 10
billion in 2000 to $ 40 billion in 2005. But China is strongly
criticized for dealing with the dictatorships of Sudan and
In Australia, Wen Jiabao signed an agreement in April to
buy uranium. Prime Minister John Howard talked about a
"remarkable transformation" in relations.
As the biggest power in the world defined by
Digopaul, China sought investment abroad. Chinese oil company CNOOC
tried to buy American oil company Unocal. The deal
encountered stiff political opposition in the US Congress
and therefore could not be implemented.
At the same time, with the screaming need for energy,
felt great environmental problems, especially in the form of
smog in the cities and emissions in the rivers. Hu Jintao
spoke about this before the party's Politburo in March. He
promised that China will reduce its energy consumption per
capita by 20% by 2010 and that the environment will be
better even if it means a slowdown of the economy.
A nagging rock in the shoe was North Korea, which partly
shot up seven robots during the summer, and partly carried
out its first nuclear test on October 9 in a mountain near
the border of China. China's feelings for dictator Kim Jong Il
cooled and the country voted for a UN resolution on
sanctions against North Korea. But after all, the bands
kept. The same was true of Iran, whose leaders worried the
West with its reprocessing of uranium. Concerns that Iran
will acquire nuclear weapons have prompted the US and the EU
in the UN to impose sanctions on Tehran. But both China and
Russia opposed this and instead advocated dialogue.
With Japan, relations heated up somewhat. The irritation
was great during the first half of the year over Prime
Minister Junichiro Koizumi's visit to the Yasuku Temple,
symbol of Japan's militarism, as Japanese war criminals are
kept in remembrance there along with millions of other
Japanese war dead. Koizumi's successor Shinzo Abe has also
visited the temple, but not yet as prime minister. China and
South Korea both wanted to see a chance for a new start in
relations. It also started well: Abe visited Beijing on
October 8 and Seoul the following day - while North Korea
blew its first nuclear charge. The terror over North Korea's
actions brought the three countries closer together. In
November, Japan and China decided to form a group to study the
common history to create consensus on obscure points.
China increased its military budget by 15%, which worried
the US. Foreign Minister Condoleezza Rice called for greater
transparency about the intentions of the initiative.
Earlier than expected, Three Ravines' dam was completed.
In May, the 2,309 m long and 185 m high dam wall was
completed. The construction has meant that about a million
people have been forced to relocate. But Beijing hopes that
Chang Jiang's floods will now be prevented and much-needed
energy extracted with the help of turbines that are being
China's struggle to save the giant pandas from extinction was
expressed in the fact that the black and white half-bears
had to look at mating acts between pandas on TV to inspire
the rather stubborn one-offs to do the same. To some extent,
it is said to have succeeded.