In a special edition of Talking Point, we put your questions to Lei Xiong, Director of the Chinese News Agency and Professor Xiguang Li of Tsinghua University, Beijing.
China, has the largest population and one of the fastest growing economies in the world.
But while the standard of living has improved for many Chinese, some are losing out.
There is a negative impact on the environment, the personal rights of workers are limited and the countryside is missing out on the benefits of growth.
How do the people of China contribute to its success? Will China become the world's next superpower? Have you experienced the changes at first hand? Do you think China's growth is unstable?
This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.
The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we received:
In the next 50 years, there's only going to be one super power and it won't be America. It will be China. America will be second or even third. However, it remains to be seen how China will treat the world's poorest countries. Their approach will be completely different from the West or how America is policing the world. But it won't be necessarily better. Another threat that China poses for the rest of the world, not only to America, is that it will run out of living space eventually and will have to invade other countries in order to spread out. The impact of China is going to last beyond the 21st century.
Asma Ibrahim, Hong Kong
What I don't get is that China is waking up and taking the same paths as the West when the West developed its economies in the past. In Fiji, we learnt in our history classes how the British and Americans used slaves and exploited our resources from the Pacific. They bought the resources cheaply from the Pacific islands and sold it in Europe and Asia for a huge profit! At least China is not using slaves in this day and age, but using cheap labour and they manufacture goods which are cheap as opposed to expensive West goods that make a killing in profit. Can't the West let China develop in peace. The West is always looking after their interest even after they have exploited the world first as conquerors and even tested nuclear weapons on the islands! Now the West wouldn't like people criticising them like that in the past, so why criticise China? The West has done much more worse things to the World and to China than what China is doing. Most of China problems are internal in nature and leave it to them to solve.
It is impossible to underestimate how far China has come in the last 2-3 decades, economically, socially and politically, but it still has far to go. My concern for China in the 21st century is that having all but dropped the ideological anchor of communism, it is struggling to find something to replace it. It seems to be latching on to a crude nationalism instead, and if the communist party leadership continues to encourage this as a way of maintaining their authority, then the new China could become a menace to the world rather than the boon we all hope it will be.
Trevor Fenning, Jena, Germany
The only thing that scares me about China is its pursuit of a Western consumerist culture. The West has already plundered most of the world's natural resources - and squandered them. If every family in China wanted 2 cars how long could the planet last?
R Cave, Reading
I work for a company which is laying off hundreds of workers in the UK, and moving the high-tech manufacturing to China. This saves the company money because China's labour rates are cheap. Further, they have very low standards of health, safety and environmental care. Many people are bitter at seeing our jobs exported. On top of this, many of us feel uneasy about supporting this political system.
I'm a western Falun Gong practitioner. I have voluntarily run a free class in West London for 5 years, as is my right under the Geneva Convention article 18 on human rights. Falun Gong promotes truth, compassion and tolerance, but is still banned in China. People have died in custody. It's documented. It was noticeable to me that there was no one as a spokesperson from Falun Gong invited to attend the BBC's programmes and to give any view from a reported 70-100 million practitioners in China. I look forward to the day that the ban is lifted and the shameful evil in China is recognised for what it is, and eliminated as a blight on humanity.
Earl Rhodes, London, England
The Chinese are a wonderful, industrious, honest people. I don't fear them. I do, however, fear the Chinese government. Let's face it; the Chinese government is brutal, despotic, and can not be trusted. For example, how many copyright treaties has the government signed, and yet piracy is still a major problem, mostly because it is government officials and/or members of their families who are making money off such piracy? Now, no government is corruption-free, but the Chinese government, which is completely unaccountable to it's own people, is one of the worst. Remember Tiananmen Square? Do not doubt that the authorities wouldn't hesitate to use such violence again.
Bennett, Los Angeles, CA
As a Chinese, I am so happy to see the great changes which are happening in my Country. At the same time, I also think that we need to do more to improve the whole nation. We have so many poor areas and such a huge population, the gap between the poor and wealthy is enormous. I personally believe that it is a huge project which needs everyone who loves this Country to get involved.
Yingchang Huang, Winchester
China is able to achieve its economic growth by illegal labour practices. It is using slave labour and currency manipulation to sell its products at prices below what their competitors can make. It also does not have the environmental protection rules that contribute to the cost of goods made elsewhere. In short, it is cheating both the world and itself in its goal to bankrupt the economies of the West. That the governments of the democracies are going along with it is the shocking thing. China has nothing to do with democracy and merely attempts to re-establish its imperial power.
Jeff Jones, Bowling Green, Ky USA
Once again Chinese officialdom has put one over on Western observers. This is because, once again we have not taken our cues from our own observations and deductions but from China's official self-presentation. China simply does not make sense. The only way China can possibly create enough jobs for its immense population is by adopting a free-market entrepreneurial economic system, in which the state's role is limited to the provision of justice and arbitration according to clear and legitimate rules. In such a system, however, no place exists for a Communist Party, whose justification, in theory, is its skill at guiding the economy and the society. (And whose current reality is its existence as a lawless elite, looting China in the interests of its members.) So the necessary economic reform is out of the question without political change. Political change which would undoubtedly bring about economic collapse or vice-versa.
Masanori Suzuki, Yokohama, Japan
People always afraid of something are different. Just because China has different political system from the west that doesn't mean it's bad! At least the Chinese Communist party is leading their people for a bright future. What British government is leading their people to? Leading them to a stage where people are dying on the NHS waiting list every day?
I am a student who just started to study in Britain for half a year. What I found quite interesting is many people are worrying about the freedom of expression in China. As a Chinese who has lived in China for 15 years, I don't feel I was living with threat at all. We acted as the Chairman in China and published our "new policy" in front of 2500 students in a Vital Youth competition. We discuss the problems of government with our the teachers in our class. We enjoyed ourselves. It's true we can't represent the whole society. But I can't find anyone else better than a new generation of young students who can represent the hope of China. There are a lot of problems in China. But she is trying her best to come over these difficulties. Give her a chance!
Oliver Li, Chinese A-Level student in UK
China is still not the biggest economy in Asia. In fact, Japan is. Japan still has core high technologies in various realms. Chinese industry heavily depends on their technologies as well as US and EU. In terms of military power, despite Chinese nuclear power, the Japanese navy is still dominant. Japan obviously has capacity to develop its own nuclear weapons. Therefore even though China has more and more influences in the world; there is still a long way to go to be a 'superpower'. There are many issues Chinese government need to deal with. e.g. to protect Copyright; environmental issues; efficiency and social welfare; aging population; Corruption. China needs to learn form US, EU and Japan's experience in order to grow in a sustainable way.
Daizhen, Chinese Student in Oxford
This situation in China for a massive energy demand is only natural in a country that is starting to really progress. Surely this is the perfect time for China to invest in nuclear fusion power? It would provide all the energy its plus no greenhouse emissions.
Mike, London, UK
Whatever other countries say, China has to maintain its current political system for at least a number of years in order to maintain economic growth. The centralised government cannot be split into small pieces of so-called Interest Groups or parties to practise western democracy. Otherwise, conflicts between these parties will devastate our economy and China will end up with being another Africa forever. Universal suffrage can only be achieved when average Chinese living standard reaches that of the West.
Joe, Cardiff UK
I have been studying in England for about 3 years and I can see that many Chinese students are studying in top universities in England achieving top grades. Decades ago it was common to think that people in China were a lot poorer than us (Hong Kong people). But now the fact has changed. China is a very fast expanding market with skilled labour force in the future. Its economic position is overtaking many other countries'. I am proud of being a Chinese and am optimistic about her future.
Ruby Lai, Hong Kong
China, in many respects seems to have adopted the nature of the United States. China will always look after her own interests so long as it is beneficial to the motherland. Yes, there is no doubt that in time most of the world will in fact be China's 'customer'; however never for one minute doubt that if China needs raw materials she will pursue them at whatever cost is necessary.
Everything depends on Taiwan. China is not going to sit around forever on Taiwan, and Taiwan isn't looking to submit to total Chinese rule. I'd submit that if there is not a protracted war with Taiwan then China will continue with its current progress and supersede the US. Otherwise it will bankrupt itself and alienate itself like the US is doing now.
China has long since abandoned many of the core tenets of classic communist ideology, and since it has joined the WTO is now unarguably a capitalist economy. Policies and practices now in place would have earned their authors condemnation as "revisionists and capitalist-roaders" during the era of Mao Zedong. Why does the country cling to the pretence of being a communist society, and what is the relevance of the Chinese Communist Party today?
Tony Giles, Hong Kong SAR, China
Many people believe it is negative to world peace and progress to exist in a world of one dominating super power, but where is the balance to come from? China would appear to be the only source of competition in the long term but would China be ready to accept such a role?
A Yahaya, KL, Malaysia
I am a Chinese student, who is currently studying in the UK. I am proud of being a Chinese and would love to contribute myself to the future development of my motherland after graduation. I have noticed that lots of people criticised about the human rights in China, but as a Chinese, I am desperate to tell them: you are worried too much!
Shirley, Kent, UK
China's current economic prosperity simply reveals what an absolute folly the communist "people's revolution" was. Had Chiang Kai-shek and the Taiwanese democratic system been in place instead, China would today be a free, super-prosperous superpower, and all of China would be united. One country, two systems is a symptom of a sick system. With the "anti-succession" proclamation, China has basically declared war on Taiwan and has just set the stage for this century's "Battle of Britain" in which an oppressive dictatorship will try to invade a free and democratic island. Just like the communist revolution and the Battle of Britain, a lot of innocent people will die... for what? One country, three systems?
Matt Johnson, Guam, USA
I applaud BBC World Service's China Season, it is brilliantly executed (as only the BBC can) with its breadth of coverage of all aspects of life. I hope it will help listeners realize that China is much more than the usual stereotypes of sweat shops, poor human rights & environmental record.
I was born & grew up in Hong Kong and live in Singapore. I am a Eurasian, a by-product of the colonization of Hong Kong and have the advantage of seeing many of these issues from Eastern & Western angles. The Chinese people have suffered for 200 years from corrupt, weak and incompetent leaders as well as from foreign imperialism. My hope for China is that it will become a modern & prosperous nation taking its place in the world as one of the major powers, governed by authorities who make themselves accountable to its people and who can offer opportunities for its people to live freely and fulfil their vast potential. There are many hurdles ahead, and success is by no means assured, but the past 20 years has given cause for hope and also for some concern.
Daniel Chan, Singapore
China is approaching a crossroad in its development I feel. Being a medical student educated in the UK, it never ceases to amaze me how things are changing so rapidly in China. Yet, despite all this growth, without a proper accountable government, economic growth is bound to be hampered at some stage. What we are witnessing now is akin to England's rapid economic growth in the 19th century. Without a democratic government, we will see a repeat of Chinese history for the past 3-5 thousand years, where the fortunes of the populace are subject to the whims of the Emperors of the time. Change has to be brought about, and most probably out of the expanding middle class.
Kenny Yu, London UK
The USA objects to the EU lifting the arms embargo on China, on the basis of China's human rights record. The weapons the EU might sell them however wouldn't be relevant to human rights abuses. The USA is simply scared China will get big bad weapons - it already has a big bad army! I think the world would benefit from a new polarity of power between the USA and China: sell them the weapons!
Paolo, Cambridge, UK
Cheap labour and a lack of any environmental laws have contributed to China's alleged success. I doubt that the average peasant is feeling any of the success and if they were unhappy, we would never know it... because they can't speak freely.
Dwayne Chastain, West Jefferson, Ohio
Unless there is some major catastrophe, China will become the leading economic and military power in the world; I have no doubt about that. They have a 1.4 billion population of dynamic people who are out to better themselves. They are patiently building up their expertise in all sectors of the economy. They will shortly produce the leading designers of infrastructure in the world because they have the biggest challenges and they are carrying out their own designs. They have sent the brightest 10% of their students to American and British Universities; and these students achieve top grades. I believe that a strong China will be a force for good in the world. Competition for resources could spark conflict but I doubt it. China will be so dependent on foreign trade that it is unlikely they will shoot the customer!
Fred, Cardiff, Wales
China today is similar to Japan 100 years ago. That is: Japan was ambitious for power, eager to expand economically, industrially and militarily. In their quest to gain these goals human rights were viewed as a sign of weakness and dissenting voices crushed. Unfortunately China is taking the same tragic path!
Tony, Perth, Western Australia
I worked in Beijing from 1972 till 1973. I can only remember that everybody was scared of everybody and that everybody was more or less poor. Since then I have gone back to China about every 10 years and each time I was again stunned by the progress. When we evaluate the situation in China today we must always remember what they have achieved in one single generation. The percentage of people lifted out of poverty is incredible. Yes, there are still many problems unsolved, but who could have done better with such an immense population?
Ferdinand Van Wichelen, Bangkok, Thailand
In Britain and in much of the Western world there has recently been a focus and perhaps a resentment of large multinationals and their profit based rather than socially based objectives. How do modern globally integrated multinationals in China view this recent idea of corporate social responsibility and why?
Matthew Weitz, Stratford, UK
I am a Chinese student in England. My hometown was used to be a poor place where most of the people had lived in poverty all their lives. Now, everything has changed. You can see many posh cars and luxury houses in my hometown. It's unbelievable. I am proud of my country, and also more confident and assertive.
Baoli Zhao, Nottingham, England
I have lived in both China and Taiwan and have taught and translated Chinese for many years. I strongly believe that China's growth is sustainable, at least for a few more decades. If the country can avoid aggression, keep peace in the region, and take economic change at a measured pace, the world will be hers. I hope the people of greater China will use what power they have to keep their governments in line and out of trouble, allowing the people to realise their dreams.
Tom, Louisville, USA
No secret to success - cheap labour, lax environmental standards and absolute government. Basically the same ingredients as other industrial revolutions.
Robert Arisz, Amsterdam
I have been to China and have several very close friends there. It is a wonderful country with truly wonderful people. The individual qualities that I admire that seem to be the foundation of the current growth are a desire to excel, strong ties to family as well as a sense of individual responsibility and an openness to new ideas. China has many problems that need to be overcome, but the current government's determination of making the country better allows them to move relatively quickly to solve them.
John, NJ, USA
The success of China is a lesson for all developing countries. China has to maintain its social, economical and political policy to be a leading giant of the world. It is also crucial for Chinese politicians to balance the income gap between city and urban populations.
Gita Rijal, USA
The recent success of China comes from the combined impact of market reforms in the 1980's and the one child policy (absolutely critical). These along with China's huge internal market have given China the same kind of advantage that the US had after WWII. But unlike the US, China faces raw material and energy shortages, environmental damage, and an aging population that will derail their progress in short order.
Chris Tu, Taipei, Taiwan
In time, China will become a balancing power against the US. Its massive population that pushes the economy to increasing levels, has no equivalent anywhere in the world. The EU has a lot learn to from Chinese handling of business and foreign affairs.
Harry Papadopoulos, Athens, Greece
China manufactures almost everything in the world now. In a few years time the West will be totally dependant on China for goods. All our manufacturing is either outsourced to China or has gone bankrupt. What would happen to the West if China suddenly stopped supplying us with these goods? Our countries would crumble very quickly.
Dave Wade, Winchester, UK
A lot of western people don't like China's communist government, but don't forget: this government was chosen by its own people through supporting its troop during civil war. It was Chinese people's will to have such a government. People from other countries have no right to tell the Chinese what to do.
Xiao Ming, Shanghai, China
The US is becoming much too reliant on China by manufacturing all of its products there (and recently even R&D), indebting itself, creating an unequal capital shift (towards China). The US may soon become an empty shell; Europe should be aware of this trend before it is too late and not follow suite.
China's success comes from its racial homogeneity, cooperation, hard work and its strong government that stands up for its people, the ethnic Chinese. The Chinese people are not responsible for the fall of the West.
Roger Bascom, Canada
China over the next decade or so will mature and develop into a democracy. All we have to do in the Western world is encourage co-operation and human rights. The sleeping dragon is awakening!
Richard Davie, Burntisland, Fife
China is simply developing the same social structures that accompany full entry into the global economy for all countries - that of colossal polarities of wealth and the enforced silence of burgeoning poverty for vast tracts of the population in the name of "national self-esteem" and such like.
John Gibson, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
China is the model for an economy in transition from communism to capitalism. It has spent time ensuring that institutions of capitalism such as rule of law and property rights are well entrenched in Chinese culture. Thus, when it privatises and liberalises it reaps significant benefits. No real surprise, economists have been saying this for years.
Adam, Durham, UK
Having given free reign to entrepreneurs and capitalists, does the Chinese Communist Party still have any ideological rationale for its existence? Has it not become akin to a board of directors of a super-corporation?
Saleem Ali, Calicut, India
The coupling of a communist state - including state-controlled media - and an evidently overwhelming desire to 'industrialize' or modernize China disturbs me. Stalin brutally industrialized the Soviet Union behind the iron curtain; what extremes are we unaware of behind the 'bamboo' curtain? Should we forget Tiananmen Square, or Tibet, or any of the other persecutions there? The velvet glove wields an iron sceptre in China, and the West is seduced by cheap labour and a new market to exploit. Further, China pushes to establish an Asiatic hegemony, and with the Taiwanese thorn in their flesh, this could prove to be a major military disruption. This 'changing' China will shift balances of power in the world either with velvet gloves or iron sceptres.
Shawn, Albuquerque, USA
I do not agree with everything the Communist government does, but they have my support because they are the ones that make every Chinese person around the world stand proud with dignity. Look at how corrupt the so-call democratic Taiwanese government is, and they are nothing but a muppet of the Americans.
D. Yung, Canada
The world ought to be asking what will happen when China finds that it has no option but to revalue its currency. The Yuan is undervalued and the Chinese will soon find that prices are rising and that the rises can only be slowed by a revaluation. A smart thing to do would be to encourage companies to set up manufacturing operations in other countries.
Graeme Phillips, Guildford, UK
It is to the delight of any loyal Chinese that our country is finally able to provide for it's own people, and it will be an even greater boon if our countrymen in the cities stop discriminating against and ignoring our poorer rural citizens. Also, it should greatly offend any ethnic Chinese should outside powers meddle within our own affairs. We are one people and one family despite any political differences.
John Chen, Los Angeles
China has the largest population in the world. It is difficult to manage. Imagine if a totally free election happened in China how many variables there would be. That's always a problem. I don't thing the so-called "freedom" will fit the Chinese culture. Chinese people have their own choice. They choose a good living standard.
Oliver Li, Chinese A-Level student in UK
3000 years a mercantile people; less than 100 years Communist. Which trait is more deeply ingrained in the Chinese character?
Matt, Birmingham, UK
China's economy is growing, not just through manpower and foreign investment, but also because it pretty much ignores copyright, trademarks and patents!
Lee, Hebburn, England
The hard working industrious people of China are stealing away Europe's markets, its jobs, its energy sources, and will replace it in the coming decades as the major economic trading partner of the United States. It is unified, speaks one language, has a single government, is practical, realistic in its expectations and demands and will flexibly accommodate itself to compatibility with American business culture. It is everything Europe is not.
The economy of China may well have grown by 10% last year, but less than 1% of the population are reaping the rewards. China can dump it's goods on the world market (where they are eagerly snapped up, particularly in the US) because the work force are paid a pittance and work in dangerous conditions. How long will this continue before the vast majority decide they have had enough and want a share of the success?
Mark Blackman, London
I was born in China and lived there until I was 14. In order to become a superpower, a country must firmly establish and respect the rule of law. The reason why the Communist Party cannot achieve this is because the individuals in power love to think that they are the law, and the law can bend to their liking. Fair and responsible governance can only be encouraged by a multi-party democracy. It is obvious: without any fear of losing the next election, how can you expect a government to respect the people (who are not voters)?
J Yang, London, England
The West keep saying that the Chinese people must determine for themselves the way they live. But in the same breath they themselves take away the right of determination by saying you need human rights, democracy, etc. What right have outsiders to decide what the Chinese people must want? John
John Cheong, China
Like other communist countries, China will amass their apparent wealth by exploiting the cheap labour of their own people and destroying the environment, all in the name of the "common good". The long term growth will be unstable at best, and we need to avoid investing large sums of money into a fad economy, especially since so many people want China to succeed simply to counter the US.
Drew, Port of Spain, Trinidad, West Indies
Aging 25 years old, we are the lucky generation of Chinese. We were burned as China began to reform; we grew with China's economy; we studied under apparent performance of country's development. Nowadays, I benefit from the more flexible policies on work and immigration, I can travel around the world and work in any country I prefer to. I am confident with country's ever-light future.
Matthew Wang, Chinese living in Singapore
China is changing. This change will make it a Communist state in name only within two decades, and beyond that even this will vanish. I have faith that things will continue improving for City Chinese but unfortunately rural Chinese will continue being subject to grinding poverty, superstition and high mortality rates. The authorities after all are going to make a concerted effort to keep the vast majority of these people exactly where they are. Mao's horrifically disastrous "Great leap forward" casts long shadows.
Dan, Hampton, UK
What is peoples obsession with democracy? Just because China has a different system doesn't mean it's wrong. Democracy has plenty of flaws that people seem to forget.
China is only changing enough so that the world will ignore its past. China is as communist now as it ever was and still has aggressive tendencies. The more moderate face China is putting on now is only to allow for better trade.
Daniel, Birmingham, USA
China needs more change besides that of the economic kind. Freedom must be achieved for the Chinese people if China is going to succeed as a superpower, because a successful government requires the accountability to the people. If the Chinese government is unwilling to bow to the need of reformation, then its problems will only grow greater.
Liz, Ft Worth, USA
While much discussion is focused on the changes in eastern China, the repressive situation in Tibet is often overlooked. China is so worried about pro-independence sentiment in Tibet (for good reason, it is very widespread) that it keeps an extremely tight reign over any social, cultural and of course political expression in Tibet. Thus while eastern China may be becoming more free and prosperous, Tibetans still live under tight controls and face an influx of Chinese settlers into the urban areas that threatens to erase Tibet's very identity.
Nima, New York, USA
It's only people who don't live in China who seemed overly concerned about democracy for its people. The average person living in China is willing to forsake this as long as the government is providing them with opportunities to make money, and a good standard of living.
Nick Pennington, Leeds, UK
China will benefit as a nation from economic growth, but there are still other areas that need to be improved upon. Most notably is its human rights violations and relations with Taiwan. I would also like to point out that the US is the world's biggest polluter with only 300 million. Just think of what the world will be like if Chinese people lead similar lifestyles.
Mark Irby, Austin, USA
China must eventually start political reform and provide democracy and human rights for its people. No country can truly develop without protecting freedom and human rights. China can then expect a future of becoming a superpower.
Naing Moe Aung, Burmese in Singapore
I hope China can fully develop and provide a good life for the majority of its people. It's very childish that some people think the US has to suffer some kind of downfall from competition with China. Those who hope for it will be disappointed. The US will always be an innovative, successful and prosperous country. I'll be relieved when the US isn't the sole superpower. China will be able to help shoulder the responsibilities that come with that position. I see no reason why a rising China can't be good for the US.
Shawn, Washington, DC, USA
I am 14 years old and studying GCSE Chinese Mandarin, I recently visited China and have decided to live and work there when I'm older, I believe it holds great prosperity for today's young people and business in the future.
Oliver Knight, London, UK
China has to reform slowly and steadily, with its own set of values, not copying western style democracy blindly. If it changes too quickly, it will end in a mess, just like Russia. On the issue of aggression towards its neighbours, the Western powers are much worse than China. Chinese culture has always been to better oneself, rather than grow by egression.
GuoChu, Northampton, UK
What ever happened to the West's outrage at China's human rights crisis? As soon as China begins to become a world economic player/power then human rights suddenly disappears and the world is granting them the honour of holding the Olympics. What happened to our moral standards?
Dave Bircher, St. Louis, US
Yes, China is rapidly developing, but this has meant that the gap between rich and poor is widening. With no social safety net the poor and the vulnerable will be left behind. It's ironic that UK has better social welfare policies than communist China.
Henry, Leeds, UK
I was in China for a month last February and saw all the changes going on - new buildings, flash cars. There were poor people and rich ones. I could see then that the country was becoming a superpower, but at what cost to the people. I think that when the Olympics Games take place in 2008, the floodgates to China will open up and then the sleeping giant will be awake.
Steve Withington, Wigan, Lancs
The whole of China should have more basic rights and freedom. I believe China must deal with its own problems regarding Tibet and Taiwan in a matured and fair way. Unless rights of the people or minorities are not recognised and respected, China will always feel haunted as it is now.
China is definitely on the rise, whether they can sustain that in the long run is still questionable. Although China has the fastest growing economy, the living standard and education of its citizens are too unequal to be stable. China should introduce reforms gradually.
John Co, Quezon City, Philippines
Many have mentioned the political unrest pressing for democracy that they believe will inevitably happen in China. However, being Chinese, I have to say I disagree on this. The reality in China is that the majority of Chinese, if not all, will be generally complacent if they can have a materially comfortable life, with no regard to the situation of their democracy or human rights. What concerns most Chinese people are how they can better themselves to bring fortune and power and respect for themselves and their families. This widely held attitude or outlook is deeply embedded in Chinese society and have a long-standing root in its thousands of years culture and history.
Liming, Chinese in UK
I have no doubts that China is, and will be for some time, a dominant economic power. It is a nation rich in history and culture with much to offer the world. However, no nation in which corruption is rampant, the rule of law is trampled, the environment is abused, and its humanity is taken for granted can ever rise to its full potential. If history is any indication, it is certainly not a given that China will be able to do so.
China is doing an amazing unprecedented task in reforming such a diverse country. On the other hand it is unlikely that it will "rival" other superpowers, because of the Chinese mentality of working hard on one's future rather than conquering other nations. One should rather support it for future challenges like ecology, improving the human right record or the Taiwan issue, rather than to criticise it for the current situation.
Matt, Waterloo, Canada
I think it is important for the Chinese people themselves and not their government to recognise that they, in large part, will be instrumental in determining the shape of our world to come. They have to decide what kind of world they want. Do they want to live in a world with ever increasing pollution? Do they want to live wasteful and extravagant lives? If they want to catch up with the west, they are in a position to change our ideas of a modern existence. And the choices they make will affect their children and our children in the short term AND long term.
Benjamin Wiener, New York, NY, USA
While the West may rely on cheap Chinese manufacturing, it is the Chinese who depend on the dollar and euro to continue their growth. And anybody who believes a bipolar world is more peaceful than how we are currently living has obviously already forgotten the Cold War.
Brian, Chicago, USA
The prosperity of China is undeniable. However, one should not ignore the fact that the majority of the population are still living in way below satisfactory conditions. The moment the government realises that the economy and democracy go hand in hand, is the time China really takes off!
Chris Chen, Vancouver, Canada
It was and is inevitable that China becomes a very powerful nation, both economically and militarily. Back in the 1960's and before we always heard about China being the sleeping giant that would one day awake and be a big player on the world scene. Well, that day is here and I see no reason to lament something that is inevitable. But China has many problems and the road won't be a smooth one. Not now in this day or into the future either. But China is a leader on the world stage and that will be a reality for a good time to come.
George Van Amber, Appleton, Wisconsin
China's strength is its people and more than 6000 years of history. It has been a sleeping giant. Our last visit this past year left myself, my wife and our fellow travellers, who were much older and more travelled, in awe. There is no turning back. The world will have to deal with China. It has finally opened its doors. Let's all hope that it will be a peaceful and prosperous transition for all of China's people and the world.
Ferdinand, New York City, USA
We need China to become a superpower. We need a better balance of power in the international arena, and I believe China can provide that.
Hong, Farnham, Surrey, UK
With each new visit to China I am repeatedly impressed with the growing size and sophistication of the Chinese business community. The simple fact is that China has become an integrated part of the world, and in particular the US economy. But the growing demand for Chinese manufacturing has also resulted in rising prices for such basic materials such as corrugated for shipping cartons, petrol for plastics and even labour costs. On average our manufacturing costs in China have risen 10 20% in the past twelve months and it leaves me asking what impact will rising manufacturing costs in China have upon the rate of inflation in the US and other client nations?
Ibn Ezra, Virginia, USA
China will definitely become a superpower; all the reports and analysis indicate that. But we only see what glitters; we see modern cities, skyscrapers, the huge manufacturing industry, and the powerful military. We are not looking at the millions of people in the villages in China who do not get to see this growth and there is a strict regime guiding the direction of the country. What is the usefulness of growth if you cannot serve the common man, and how can you have a government telling its own people that you cannot have more than one child?
Viswanath, Denver, USA
I have lived with a number of Chinese citizens in my life. The People of China are always looking towards the future. What is most important for China today is stability, to make sure its economy grows. Democracy can be introduced slowly, over time. China has also recently pledged to create 10 percent of its electricity from renewable resources within five years. If this continues, we will see a rich, prosperous and environmentally friendly country.
Mark, Brisbane, Australia
It's great that China's economy is growing and that the lives of many of its citizens are improving and it seems that it is well on its way to becoming the next superpower, but what worries me is that China, as we know it today, has only been a unified country for less than a century. With increasing access to the outside world, how long will it be before the Chinese begin to demand democracy and we see a repeat of the events at Tiananmen Square? One thing we really don't need is a potentially unstable country in a region already teetering on the edge!
James Gallagher, London, UK
China is facing internal migration that is unprecedented in world history. Over 100million are making the journey from countryside to cities in search of work, and many find themselves exploited in their newfound work. How can China's leaders meet this boom in demand for infrastructure and social services, as well as cope with the devastating effects on village life that the migration of working age males is having?
Jonathan Henshaw, Michigan, US
Many Americans worry about China becoming a superpower and rival to the United States. This is because the foundation of many Americans' view of their country is that it is both exceptional and rightfully the leader of the world. A more powerful China would shatter this faith, and Americans only seem to be able to see conflict (and not cooperation) as the inevitable outcome. A better balance, of power can only be good for more people on earth.
Jay, Sioux Falls, USA
China deserves a better future for her hard-working citizens and thousands years of splendid culture. I wish a future China will be a responsible nation for the world's peace and development. I wish in the future China will be an open-minded, multi-nationality living and environment-friendly place.
Charlie Liang, Karlsruhe, Germany
There is no doubt whatsoever that China is on the road to superpower status. That means one thing - the decline of the US. It's only a matter of time. Unfortunately for the US, Europe too is rising and it's only a matter of time before both Europe and China rival the USA both economically and politically
Pacharo Kayira, Lilongwe, Malawi.
China should be congratulated on its economic growth, and for continuing to lift millions of its citizens out of poverty. With China's double digit increases in military expenditure though, I am fearful as to how a state China's size, with no independent media or check on government power, will use its growing influence.
Benjamin S. Knight, Naju, South Korea
It seems like the world is excited about China's growing economy. Many industrialized countries such as Germany, France and the UK are on China's side now because of the business opportunity of China. They are ignoring the human rights issues and other social issues.
I think if China's rise to power doesn't hit a snag like Japan did, and end up in an economic recession, then China stands a very good chance of becoming a peer to the western world, in particular the US.
Jeffrey Kotyk, Winnipeg, Canada
China is our country's most valued, trusted and time-tested ally. It has done wonders with its huge population and economy. It might even rank at the top of the world's economies. We wish them a bright and prosperous future.
All this talk about superpowers is rubbish at this point in time. China's main goal is to increase living standards and modernise the country, though this may seem painful it is a necessary step as all industrialised countries today faced the same dilemma about more than a hundred years ago.
While there have been many factors that have contributed to China's economic growth I have to wonder how long other countries are going to tolerate China's violation of a number of free trade practices, such as undervaluing the Yuan and showing an utter disregard for copyright laws. Also what will be the effects on China's economy be when it will finally be held accountable for it's environmental and human rights policies? Unfortunately it seems that for now governments are willing to turn a blind eye to all these problems in order to have access to China's market.
Jason, New York City
This is China's century. It is refreshing to see the country forge ahead. Uneven progress can and will be rectified. Think of how dismal it would be if there were no change whatsoever!
Anthony, Wasaga Beach, Canada
It looks as though China is due to become another capitalist machine bent on production and profit at all cost. It's inevitable that there will be the winners and losers in such an endeavour. That is the nature of capitalism and a consumer market. The Haves will continue to have more and the poor will bear the burden. As for the environmental impact in China I imagine many American industrialists are drooling at the site of so much development with so little restriction. Thankfully we still have some environmental protection in this country, although the current administration would like to see that go.
Craig, New Orleans, USA
I think China is definitely competition for the United States in terms of economy. The US depends hugely on China and this could either help or hinder the United States based on how strong the relationship stays. Politically is a different story: history has shown us the hard way the truth about the failure of communist superpowers...yet China still seems to be improving, not declining. Will China emphasize good relations with the West or will it push it out of the spectrum in competition?
Tiffany Zappulla, Hackettstown, US
China is fast changing from an underdeveloped second world country into a world powerhouse. Given time, they will also transform into a democracy or face deep internal unrest. It is also time that China lets Taiwan and Tibet go; India, also should receive back its occupied territory.
Paul, Longthorpe, England