China. The August 8-24 Olympics became a thunderous success for China, despite a wave of protests against Chinese violence in Tibet. Towards the end of the year, however, China was hit by two troublesome problems: the melamine scandal and the global financial crisis.
The international protests against China’s bloody intervention in Tibet in March, contrary to intentions, led to stronger support among the Chinese for their regime. The Chinese reacted, among other things, to activists in Paris on April 8 trying to snatch the Olympic torch from wheelchair bound Chinese fighter Jin Jing.
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|Land area||9,596,961 km²|
|Population density (per km²）||145.3|
|Official language||Standard Chinese (Putung-hua, the Beijing dialect)|
|Income per capita||$ 16,700|
|Currency||Chinese yuan renminbi|
|ISO 3166 code||CN|
|Time zone UTC||+ 8|
|Geographic coordinates||35 00 N, 105 00 O|
Chinese competitors won the most gold medals in the Olympics – 51. In total, however, China came second in the medal league with 100 medals after the United States, which conquered 110. When the implementation of the Olympics and subsequent Paralympics according to judges succeeded very well happened the repression of the communist regime in shadow. Concerns over alleged terrorist threats from Uighurs during the Olympics also contributed to dampening international solidarity with the separatists in western China.
China announced that protests were allowed during the Beijing Olympics – but only in three parks and after police permit. However, occasional unauthorized demonstrations were held for Tibet. Some Westerners were arrested and expelled.
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China was criticized for restricting freedom of opinion on the Internet, which nevertheless became increasingly popular. In July, China had more Internet users than the country’s leading country to date: US $ 253 million, a 50 percent increase over one year. However, only 19 percent of China’s 1.3 billion residents still surf the net.
The Olympic inauguration with fireworks and colorful mass displays attracted admiration. Particularly poignant was when China’s fan carrier, the more than two meters long basketball player Yao Ming, was accompanied on the newly built Bird’s Nest arena by little Lin Hao, age 9, who helped comrades in a ravaged school after the earthquake in southwest China in May.
However, members of the Politburo, China’s party summit, stopped 7-year-old Yang Peiyi. She was not allowed to appear with the motivation that she was not sweet enough. She got to sing, but another girl, Lin Miaoke, mimed in front of the Bird’s Nest’s 90,000 spectators. The revelation of the music director aroused wonder both outside and within the country.
China noted a political triumph when both US President George W. Bush and France’s Nicolas Sarkozy came to the inauguration, the latter despite voicing criticism of China’s actions in Tibet.
|Gross domestic product (GDP)||25,360,000,000,000 USD|
|GDP growth rate||6.90%|
|GDP per capita||$ 16,700|
|GDP by sector|
|Proportion of the population below the national poverty line||13.4%|
|Distribution of household income|
|Industrial production growth rate||6.10%|
|Investment volume||45.2% of GDP|
|National debt||47.00% of GDP|
|Foreign exchange reserves||3,194,000,000,000 USD|
During the riots in Lhasa in March, 80 people were killed according to Tibet activists. China put the number to 10 and claimed that hooligans were behind and that they killed innocent shop owners. Exile the Dalai lama described China’s actions as “terrorism” and “cultural genocide”. Towards the end of the year, after a conversation with China’s leader, he expressed great pessimism about earning greater self-government.
China also celebrated a triumph in space: three taikonauts landed on September 29 after three days in orbit. One of them, Zhai Zhigang, did a space walk outside the Shenzhou 7. China plans to build a space station of two Shenzhou modules. It was the third time the Chinese have taken to space since 2003.
The earthquake May 12 with a magnitude of 7.9 was the worst disaster that hit the country during the year. About 70,000 people were killed in Sichuan and its environs. Mountains collapsed and many schools collapsed. Desperate parents were prevented from protesting against poor building safety. Both President Hu Jintao and Prime Minister Wen Jiabao quickly visited the quake area. After all, the authorities received praise for effective disaster relief.
The world-famous Wolong Giant Pandan Center in Sichuan was feared to have been demolished first. But 63 of 64 pandas managed. Only 9-year-old Mao Mao was smashed by a wall. She was buried under the caretaker’s tears.
The melamine scandal in the autumn damaged China’s reputation as an exporter. 296,000 Chinese infants became ill and six died of kidney ailments caused by milk with the addition of melamine, which the producers against all the rules added to get high protein listing on control. At least 22 dairies were found to have mediated in their products. The authorities promised power. US and others stopped imports of Chinese dairy products.
Towards the end of the year, China, the world’s fourth largest economy, was also haunted by the major financial crisis. The export increase slowed due to lower orders. This led to a shift in economic policy. On March 5, Prime Minister Wen declared at the National Congress that combating inflation was important. Due to rising food prices, it was 7.1 percent in January. By autumn it had dropped to about 4 percent. Due to this and the export weakness, the target was abandoned, four interest rate cuts were made in quick succession and a colossal stimulus package of $ 586 billion was presented. The money will go to community projects – roads in the countryside, housing for the poor – and to stimulate consumption.
GDP growth in 2007 reached 11.4 percent. In 2008, it was provisionally estimated at about 9 percent. Export growth slowed – ※only§ a 19.1 percent increase in October compared to 26.9 percent in July – likely as a result of the financial crisis.
It was a year when promises of investments in the poor began to be fulfilled. Among other things, the Chinese will get general health insurance by 2020, Health Minister Chen Zhu announced in January. Since the planning economy was liberalized during Deng Xiaoping in the 1980s, healthcare has become very expensive.
A strong reason for investing in communications was the chaos that erupted during China’s new year on February 7. The year of the rat began with the worst snow storms in half a century. People were stuck on snowy roads for 24 hours, and millions of people were waiting for transport at railway stations and airports. Since the New Year for many migrant workers is the only leave, people are extremely anxious to go home to meet their relatives.
According to Countryaah reports, the population of China in 2008 was 1,368,810,504, ranking number 1 in the world. The population growth rate was 0.560% yearly, and the population density was 145.8010 people per km2.