Reflections on China from APLP G9 Students

Marvin Uehara, Laisa Roi, and Samuel Gorohouna are current participants of the 2009 – 2010 Asia Pacific Leadership Program (APLP) at the East-West Center. Marvin, Laisa, and Samuel are part of the Generation Nine of the APLP (also known as G9), where 21 countries are being represented.

Reflections on China

by Marvin Uehara, Laisa Roi, and Samuel Gorohuana

A very common image in Beijing.

A very common image in Beijing.

We recently shared our impressions about China after spending four days in Beijing. We were all surprised by the number of skyscrapers, by the cutting-edge infrastructure, and by the vibrance of this economy. To us, China will definitely be the next world economic superpower.

As a result of this rapid economic growth, Chinese authorities are expected to cope with environmental issues such as air and water pollution, and social stability. To us, the lifestyle of 1.3 billion Chinese must be different than consumerism. The massive exploitation of natural resources has shown its limit in Beijing.

The key questions to us are the following:

  • How will the government promote social stability when the Chinese people are receiving so much influence on consumerism?
  • How will the government convince its population to buy less – change their lifestyle – when middle class is increasingly wealthier?

Addressing this issue seems to us an important aspect of building a harmonic society. Each year more and more Chinese are lifting above poverty line and becoming part of middle class consumerism lifestyle.

Propaganda seems not to be the most effective way to address this issue.

How will the Communist Party address this problem? This is the question we are expecting to hear from the emerging superpower.