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Research paper example essay prompt: China 2000 - 1724 words

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China 2000 CHINA 2000 What is China? Is it maybe the image of the ancient times with the glorious old dynasties, the powerful emperors, the wondrous temples, the fascinating winding gardens? Or is it maybe a strict communist world with uniformed people wearing Mao suits and living in dreary gray concrete apartment blocks? Or perhaps it is the skyscrapers of Hong Kong and Shanghai, the horrendous traffic, the buzzing commotion, ultra modern electronics and plate glass buildings? In reality, China is all this in one. It is a land that intertwines a miraculous ancestral heritage with a capitalist reality blooming in the heart of a still surviving communist system. In todays China, the gigantic population (1,300,000,000 people) is experiencing an extremity gap between the very rich and the very poor. The still existing Chinese communist system provides cradle to grave caretaking for its citizens. All major services like housing, education and medical treatment are currently supplied by the government; however, they are accessible only according to area registration in the community in which people are born.

Lack of such registration or change of area of residence leaves people on their own. The majority of people in the cities still reside in old Russian type one-window flats composed of a single room with a single window, home for an entire family, which usually have communal kitchens and toilets and no bathrooms (showers are taken at public bathhouses). The newer apartments, though still housing four to five people in a single room, usually have separate facilities. However, both old and new government subsidized housing is scheduled to end by the year 2002 which will inevitably threaten the very old and those born and bred within the communist system. This termination is bound to annihilate the life of security of the majority of Chinese population.

Life in rural China, on the other hand, is less dependent on government housing schemes but is stamped by poverty. People living in villages have their own houses but they are usually small built of mud bricks with earthen floors and walls. Some villages have only one communal water tap and living conditions are extremely miserable. Little children and babies can be seen playing around with their bare bottoms hanging out of their slit open pants, diapers being a rare commodity. The 1980 one-child policy is proving to be effective as it has managed to stabilize the population number at 1,300,000,000. There is a possibility that in the near future having a second child will be allowed, especially if the first child is disabled or a girl.

All couples who agree to have one child are given a TV and a financial bonus. In the event of having a second child, the TV is confiscated but, most importantly, the second child is deprived of all rights. It cannot be registered in government schools and hospitals; in addition, the mother, herself, is excluded from all pregnancy related medical services and loses her job together with the father (if they are both government employees). Thus, the costs of having another child are enormous and few are those who can afford it. As a result, many families abort or expose their first babies if they are disabled or girls.

Babies who have escaped abortion are most dearly treasured and loved. They grow up to enjoy free education for nine years of school. However, kindergartens and universities are becoming privatized. Currently, a lot of children living in the rural areas have to work hard in the fields to help support the family and, therefore, drop out of school at an early age. In reaction to that, some local governments have promoted Project Hope, which sponsors children in those areas to stay in school.

Similarly to housing and education policies, health care had been subsidized by the government but is now also taking the path to privatization. People sign a contract with their employer, government or private, which grants them partial or full compensation in terms of the medical services they have paid to use. In their treatment of patients, Chinese hospitals combine the use of Western medical methods with Traditional Chinese Medicine. Traditional medications are rather unique as they are prepared from a variety of herbs mixed with creepy things like dried leeches, scorpions and snakes. Medical treatment in the rural areas is offered by what are called barefoot doctors, general practitioners with basic medical skills who look after villagers overall medical needs.

In distant and isolated areas, barefoot doctors are the only health care resource available. Politically, after the death of Mao Tse Tung, his successor Deng Xiaoping ushered a more pragmatic form of communism and opened the country to foreign influences and investments. With the introduction of market economy, an increasing number of cities are adapting the capitalist model following a privatization trend. Major cities like Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing are acquiring the face of modern Western cities with McDonald's and KFC food chains around every corner, huge shopping malls brimming with electronics, popular cosmetic and fashion brands. This transition to capitalism is establishing a new living environment invoking pressing economic needs for the ordinary Chinese people.

In response, the younger and more economically aware have began setting up their own small private businesses by turning ground floor communal kitchens into private shops supplied with anything that sells, erecting wooden stalls on every street or overloading their ubiquitous bicycles with moving fast-food kitchens, mechanical parts, goods, etc. On the other hand, the majority of people, being alien to the emergent economic change and lacking in sufficient means to respond to it, are struck by poverty and unemployment. In the city of Xian, for example, crowds of people can be seen along the streets waiting to be hired, holding signs indicating their professions or the tools of their trade. In the midst of this capitalist boom and changing life-style in China, there exists an entire civilization, which has managed to preserve its purity and innocence in coexisting with the splendors of nature. This civilization is spread along thousands of miles fertile land in mid-mainland China, the Three Gorges of the Yangtse river land.

Villagers in the area lead a primitive but happy life of self-reliance. They live off agriculture and fishing in the river. They dedicatedly plough their fields daily, mainly without the help of animals, and carry loads on their shoulders, heads and backs. Life is hard but their independence and the surrounding idyllic eminence is rewarding for them. The Gorges are a painfully beautiful blend of natural and cultural sights in the form of steep mountains and cliffs, dazzling green fields, air perfumed by the fruit trees, natural stone ridges, ancient walls, bridges, temples, caves Situated along the river bank are many old cities, some with a verifiable history of 4000-6000 years that had witnessed the change of so many dynasties, each leaving a cultural relic behind to add to the scenic gallery. All this glory is doomed to an apocalyptic fate.

By the year 2009, the waters of the Yangtse River will rise 175 meters inundating all the cultural treasure and destroying the homes and farms of at least 1,300,000 people. Currently, the Three Gorges Dam Project is in progress. Upon its completion it will create the biggest dam in the world forming the largest lake visible even from space. The project is concerned with fulfilling three major tasks: providing flood control and irrigation waters, supplying hydro-electrical power (the dam is expected to generate 10% of China's total electrical output) and facilitating navigation through regulating the river's depth. However, the dam's construction is a very controversial issue as it is bound to cause a lot of problems.

One possible threat arises out of the fact that the dam lies along a fault in the earth's crust and its surrounding area is an earthquake danger zone. If an earthquake is instigated by the heavy weight of the water, the earth will shift in unpredictable ways. Thus, the dam's destruction will result in an unthinkable natural disaster. This new water source will also cause a change of the climate, flora and fauna of the entire Yangtse region stirring major environmental and ecological problems. Importantly enough, the rising waters will sink miles of populated land and delete a whole civilization. The people that will lose their homes and farms are being compensated either by new government apartments or by money (between 10,000 and 40,000 yuan equaling the amount of 430,000 to 1,720,000 drachmae) in accordance with their choice.

The issue is that those people will have to abandon their old life-style of self-sufficient independence and be contained within the confines of a single room. It is an entire way of life that is being lost, not only a house, or a field, wrested with such agonizing difficulty from the mountains of the region through the labor of generations. And what of the cultural heritage of this area? How many known treasures will be buried and how many archaeological relics will remain forever undiscovered? So, who is to weigh the costs and benefits of the dam's construction? Who is to convince people in need that the preliminary benefits to be experienced will boomerang back in the form of a disaster? Surely not us, Westerners, who have constructed so many abuse-of-nature projects thus paving the path for other non-Western countries to follow. It appears then that China, one of the very few countries in the world alongside Cuba and North Korea with a still partly surviving communist regime, is joining the modes of what we call the Western world. Obviously, the sacrifices of surrendering to capitalism invoke a drastic change in the life of the ordinary Chinese person. Farmers who have ploughed their fields for a lifetime are pressured to become businessmen in order to support their families and be able to pay for their basic needs which will soon cease to be provided for by the government; the very old will be left with no subsidized medical care or homes; the less privileged will be left with hardly any means at all as welfare services are being swept away by privatization; 1,300,000 people will be imposed with a new life-style upon completion of the Gorges Dam Supposedly, the country's economy will be boosted and as it is said, all it takes is time, time to go Western.

But how much time? And what happens in the meantime? Social Issues Essays.

Related: china, mainland china, chinese people, ancient times, relics

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