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Last Updated: Wednesday, 1 March 2006, 18:06 GMT
China's Challenge
The Hall of Supreme Harmony, the Forbidden City
Can China achieve political and economic harmony?
BBC Radio 4's Analysis: China's Challenge, was broadcast on Thursday, 9 March, 2006 at 20:30 GMT.

The rise in China's global economic potential has been spectacular, and the West is rushing to adjust. But is it inevitable that China's growth will continue at such a rate, and in relative stability? There are all kinds of contradictions in a supposedly capitalist dynamo led by a one party communist government.

Environmental problems and energy shortages loom, the population is ageing rapidly, large parts of the economy remain state run, and the migration to glitzy new cities has left hundreds of millions living in rural poverty. Their grievances are growing, as are those of middle class Chinese who want to live more and more independently, criticise corruption and cronyism, and resent state actions such as the recent deal with Google to restrict access to Internet information. There are fears too that a beleaguered regime in Beijing might become more and more nationalistic.

So how volatile might the new China become as economic growth continues but internal tensions grow too? Diane Coyle explores China's challenge with experts Ted Fishman, author of the bestseller China Inc, Linda Yueh of the London School of Economics, specialist on the Chinese media Chris Berry, demographer Elisabeth Croll, Steve Tsang of Oxford University, and Jim O'Neill, chief economist at Goldman Sachs.

Presenter: Diane Coyle
Producer: Chris Bowlby
Editor: Nicola Meyrick



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