China earthquake and openness

Nearly 15,000 people died in the devastating earthquake that hit China’s Sichuan province, the official Xinhua news agency has reported.

China has now become more open than it used to be due to its increasing economic ties with different countries around the world. It has to show itself as a modern state no longer under the stiff grip of communism and repressive measures.

By its old standard, China has been patient with the international media dealing with the situation in Tibet. This for it was a political trial by the international public, although governments distanced themselves, using at most public statement without going into further measures.

The earthquake, however disastrous for the local populations, is an opportunity for China to show a new face to the world. Its being open about it shows that it is somehow no longer ruled by the Forbidden City but by a young generation of politicians ready to move with the times.

Thanks to its relative openness, China is under further scrutiny by the international media. Now they can have access to some areas considered as closed to foreigners. The speed with which China dealt with the earthquake is somewhat a drill in how it can deal with emergencies during the Olympic Games. The fact that it revealed the number of death exceeding 20,000 is an indication that China wants to show that it has nothing to hide, especially in the age of the internet when pictures from cell phones can be quickly published on the internet , thus possibly contradicting official statements if they happen to be contrary to facts.

China has to be more open. There are still human rights issues to be dealt with, especially those affecting the poor. The biggest issue still awaiting the Chinese government is to rescue its hundreds of millions of its impoverished people to the shore of well-being. The persistence of the wide gap between the rich and the poor can be a social earthquake that no international aid can deal its disastrous effects. The rescue of the country from potential chaos comes through new political and economic reforms that can secure China to be a secure and stable country.

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