China Anniversary Celebration Obscures Underlying Issues
China Anniversary Celebration Obscures Underlying Issues

China's celebration its 60th Anniversary on 1 October was marked by great fanfare, and China analysts say China has much to be proud of.   But they also note a number of issues still confront the communist government. 

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"China is certainly integrated to the global economy and even on the cultural levels," said JohnDelury, associate director of Asia Society's Center. But he said China's robust economy tends to "paper over" some deeper problems. 

Not Everyone is Benefiting From China's Economic Rise

"Economic inequality is a huge issue. So, as the wealth gap widens, that creates a real problem politically for the government and a real economic problem of keeping everyone happy," Delury said.

Delury sees other economic issues facing China. "The consumer economy has not developed in pace with the export and investment side of the economy. So you have some deep structural imbalances and some problems of sharing the wealth that's been created through all this economic dynamism," he said.

Delury said China has a proven capacity to be a responsible world power.  "China is fairly comfortable," he said. It wants to keep its border and, of course, wants to bring Taiwan back into the mainland.  But other than that, (it) doesn't have a lot of territorial aggression lined up."   Drury said China's future will depend on how it feeds and sustains that growth for all of its people.  <!-- IMAGE -->

The Political Challenges

One challenge facing China's leadership is how to translate greater economic strength into more personal and political freedom for its people.

"Deng Xiaoping famously said in the late 1980s that China would be democratic in 50 years," said Jehangir Pocha, former Beijing correspondent for the Boston Globe.

"China is going to miss that deadline," said Pocha.  But he said his impression is that Chinese leaders see the need for the country to move in that direction. 

"I think everyone's a bit lost about how you would get there, because at some point you hit that critical point at which suddenly the party may not be ready to give up more power and the people will rise up and take it," said Pocha.

Social and political unrest is something Pocha said the Chinese government is very worried about. "That next critical step and how to take it is confounding them," he said.

Meanwhile, President Barack Obama is preparing for his first visit to China in November. Mr. Obama recently said that he is "committed to pursuing a genuinely cooperative and comprehensive relationship with China." His hope, he said, is to make the relationship between China and the United States more dynamic and effective.