Page last updated at 11:56 GMT, Tuesday, 29 September 2009 12:56 UK

China in the next 60 years: Dai Qing

Ahead of celebrations to mark the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, the BBC News Website asked a range of Chinese people what their country had achieved and where it will be in another six decades.

Dai Qing, 68, author, environmentalist and government critic
Dai Qing

I'm very pessimistic about the future because right now the environment is very poor. Tourists come to Beijing and see huge buildings, but I really feel very bad because we don't have enough water to support the city. Two-thirds of the water we use is from ground water - this is very dangerous. Maybe in the future Beijing cannot survive as the capital.

In future decades I hope we will fight to get our basic rights. I hope that we have a better political system and the gap between the rich and poor is not as huge as it is now and we do not have corrupt officials - I hope they will respect the law. And ordinary people can find some way to limit them.

But I don't think we can become a developed or democratic country like Taiwan. China may become developed like South America with a military dictatorship, where all the capital will be concentrated in the hands of powerful people.

Having enough food and enough clothes is not enough. It will ruin China if we only have these things. We should have a republic of our own where we can choose our leaders, where we can criticise and give suggestions on policies. This is the new, modern China that I hope for, but I don't think we'll be able to realise this while I'm alive.

But, bit by bit, people are realising that they are citizens who have basic rights and, with the help of intellectuals, teachers and lawyers they will get to know what kind of people they are and they will try to get what belongs to them. Then we will have a better political system.

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