While geographically only the second largest nation in the world, The People’s Republic of China is the most populated place on the entire planet and harbors the largest standing army – ever.
At approximately 2.25 million active members, the People’s Liberation Army dwarfs the United States armed forces 1.42 million active duty members in sheer numbers. Simply due to the vast number of people under its rule, Beijing is arguably the most important political center in the world and the decisions that its Communist Party – it’s a one-party nation – makes are also potentially the most wide reaching when compared to ... well, anywhere else.
China is a very different and in many ways strange place from the perspective of an American. It is our foremost competitor, and how people handle that varies back and forth dramatically – from borderline hysteria to commercial ambition. China is consuming natural resources at an alarming rate, more so than anywhere else in of the rest the world. They are also expanding economically throughout the world at an experiential rate which rightfully concerns many American businesses as it threatens what remains of the image of American global economic sway.
On a side note, I think it’s funny that China is one of the few communist nations left in the world, a fact barely even mentioned anymore. Before the fall of the Berlin Wall, it was such a big deal, and now people could quite frankly care less. Maybe it’s because Chinese exponential growth under a communist regime indicates that with economic reform, communism can work ... and even in some cases lead to degrees of prosperity.
But China has grown so fast in such a short period of time – and with so few governmental regulations on businesses in regards to environmental impact – that the nation is literally choking on its own waste. Currently the largest algal bloom ever recorded has turned about 11,158 square miles of China’s Yellow Sea green with algae and many authorities believe it has been caused by dramatic pollution-driven changes in the surrounding region. I have never actually been to China myself, which is unfortunate, but from what I have read and heard from people who have, it is a land where the smog literally blots out the sun. A recently published study in the “Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences” estimates that some 500 million people’s lives will be reduced an average of five years because of the government’s promotion of coal in Northern China. Images of Chinese cities depict Pompeii-like living conditions in which commuters are forced to cover their faces with protective measures.
Beijing has taken some measure to mitigate its nation’s environmental impact, one way being through population control. With the largest population in the world, the regulations regarding population are easily the most important in the world with the greatest impact on everyone. Currently, it is estimated that there are almost 1.4 billion people living in China, seconded by India with 1.25 billion. The United States is up there in third place with an estimated 320 million, around 50,000 of which live in Chenango County.
Since the 1970s, Beijing has attempted to rein that number in through a one-child policy, which limits approximately 35 percent of the Chinese population to birthing only a single child. Estimates as to how many births the policy has prevented vary dramatically, from 100 million, on the low-end, to well over half-a-billion on the high end. Under the current Xi Jinping administration, however, it seems as if the end of the policy is on the horizon.
Not to be an alarmist, but this is going to be a big deal for everyone across the globe.
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