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Talking Point On Air Wednesday, 13 October, 1999, 14:18 GMT 15:18 UK
50 years of the People's Republic
50 Years of the People's Republic
As the People's Republic of China celebrates 50 years of communist rule, Talking Point On Air hosted a live debate featuring your experiences and views of China.

Select the link below to watch Talking Point On Air

This week's guests were Jiang Hua, Head of BBC World Service's Mandarin Service and Philip Short, former BBC correspondent in China. The programme was presented by Robin Lustig.

  • Read what you have said since the programme

  • Read and hear a reflection of your comments during the programme

  • Read what you said before we went ON AIR

    Your comments since the programme:

    China is undoubtedly a blood stained and crooked dictatorship. It has perhaps served a good purpose in reminding us somewhat of the goodness of democracy and liberty. If China was a state of 30 million people it would be placed under the strictest of sanctions, and probably bombed to pieces. As it is, "oooh, it's changing for the better" Will Jiang Zemin suffer the same fate as Pinochet when next he comes on a trade mission to the UK? Will he hell.
    Alex Stanway, England

    I feel that the Chinese Communist Party has been changing. To increase China's world-wide competitiveness, I believe that sooner or later the communist party will be disintegrated, and a more business and market driven nation will be formed. Of course we still have many many economical and social problems at present. Look at how many government industries closed down and how many people out of job in the last 2 years, it really shows that pure communism in China is not working, and major reform should be implied in political construction at first. Real democracy is the basis of any successful economic reform.
    Yu Xiaofeng, China

    Only 50 years have past, and look how far China has come. China, with its greater minds, continue to improve itself despite the criticism of other countries. Here, I just want to say to my fellow Chinese, "keep up the good work, I am soooooo proud to be Chinese."
    Claire Cao, USA

    Immediately after the devastating earthquake in Taiwan, China demanded that the international community should obtain their permission before sending in rescue effort. China reasserted their "paternalistic" approach to Taiwan, claiming that "a child needs to get permission from his/her father before receiving candies from strangers."
    This was during the time when thousands of Taiwanese were trapped under the rubble and every minute was precious. Fortunately, many "private" relief organisations, most notably the earthquake rescue specialist from Virginia, USA, were able to circumnavigate this political bottleneck and delivered help expeditiously.
    Later in a speech to the UN, Mr. Tang, the foreign minister of China, gave thanks to the international community for helping "our province of Taiwan in China." Putting politics aside, this act was an outrageous violation of humanitarian principle, attesting to the communist regime's disregard for human lives, even in the time of crisis. Unlike the earthquake in Turkey, which brought Greece and Turkey together, this earthquake has further widened the schizm in the Taiwan Strait. As for the Chinese leadership who stated that they "don't understand why Taiwanese people were so mad." Perhaps if their grandmother was trapped under the rubble, they would.
    Kenny Liu, USA

    Only Chinese people themselves have adequate right to appraise the failures and achievements taking place in China in the last five decades. Those guys who have never been in China are just saying something without any solid foundation. And those persons who travelled in China before are still not eligible to make any remarks on Chinese government because they cannot experience the ups and downs to the ordinary Chinese people in the last 100 years.
    As an indispensable part of China, Taiwan will undoubtedly return to its motherland and Tibet, let alone Xinjiang, will never be allowed to be separated. As a true Chinese, I am very proud of the great achievements in the past 50 years under the leadership of Chinese Communist Party.
    James Yang, China

    I visited China twice in the last 3 years. While overall living conditions in some of the big cities seem to have improved exponentially, I still found myself feeling I was lucky I wasn't part of the vast majority of Chinese who are still steeped in poverty. One thing that my family and I did find, through conversation with locals, and mere observation, was how quickly China's government had indeed been making progress in the last ten years. In fact I believe all of China's 'new wealth' is due to the improvement in 'democratic values' of China's government. Out of all the Third World countries in the world, the Chinese government has to be one of the ones that has made some of the biggest leaps towards better organisation, and more fair human rights. I think that encouragement, not criticism of China's bad past, which largely precedes the time around the Tiananmen Square incident, is most productive.
    Benjamin Sze, Canada

    A simple comment to the viewpoint of Floyd Fan in Taiwan: Please notice the Republic of China (Taiwan) not only considers Tibet as part of China, but also the external Mongolia ! These problems are the legacy of Kumintang, not the chinese communists ! Please read carefully the constitution of The Republic of China (Taiwan).
    Bob Wang, UK

    I find it some of the condemnation regarding China very amusing. I especially enjoyed the references to "sacred" cities, temple and etc. When back in the US, much of the non-Christians are considered heathens by the the pre-dominate Christian community. Freedom of speech? Freedom of the press? Can any one of the many China criticisers give us an example where these utopian ideas truly exist. And no.. they don't truly exist in the United States. History is judged by a decade or even 5 decades. history will judge the success AND failures of the Chinese communist party. For now... as a Chinese born.. I am proud of China and its people progress in the last 5 decades
    B. Wu, USA

    Unfortunately not enough focus is given to the plight of ethnic and religious minorities within China. While the economic well being of Han Chinese certainly has improved in the past 50 years of Communism. The cultural freedoms and identities of ethnic Uygurs, Tibetans, Mongols and others continues to worsen. It is wrong to expect different human rights norms from Asian nations, and it is a fallacy to assume economic progress automatically yields greater political freedom. In China, this is an illusion.
    Keith Cuiper, USA

    The communists think they are the only ones who understand human society and its problems well and that they have the best solutions for them. They have had a free hand to rule China for the last 50 years. Why are they still scared of public opinion? If they are so sure that they have improved the lot of the majority of Chinese, why are they afraid to hold general elections there?
    Rajiv Rajan, India/USA

    I lived in Canada for 10 yrs. I see a lot of people in N. America are very ignorant of what was and is China. Democracy and human rights don't come cheap. When did the native Indians and the Blacks get their human rights in N. America? There was racial segregation till the 60's in US and children of native Indians were still taken away from their parents to learn English in the 60's in Canada. The West seems to have amnesia of their dirty past and suddenly talk like a saint. I am glad the Chinese government is not being pushed around by the west. It may take a generation to realise western style democracy in China. It is better than rushing it without a sound economical and popular educational foundation. China is such a vast country with such a huge population and a baggage of poverty and history. The west particularly US have the luxury of not having it.
    Alain Li, Canada

    50 years ago, China annexed Tibet, now they point their fingers to an independent Taiwan. We Taiwanese will defend our country no matter what kind of price we will pay. China, just get out of my land.
    Lloyd Fan, Taiwan

    Chinese people the world over feel a sense of pride and accomplishment in recognising 50 years of independence. Yes, there have been mistakes made. but what country hasn't made mistakes. But in the end, China is free of colonialism, imperialism and a lot of other "isms" that only serve the west, and not the Chinese people.
    Paul Nelson, Oz

    After listening to Philip Short say that the Chinese people want Tibet to remain part of China, I can only ask Philip Short: What do you think the answer would be to asking Tibetans (and not Chinese) if Tibet should remain part of China? My own personal experience is as follows: there is a kind of Chinese torture taking place in Tibet. It is a torture of putting huge Chinese speakers outside of anything Tibetan -- from temples to homes to restaurants -- on which the Chinese play either loud Chinese propaganda or Chinese music or soundtracks from Chinese action films. This is very successful in driving people crazy and discouraging visitors or business. As far as internet access is concerned for 2 solid weeks I tried in vain to get the news from both BBC and CNN on the internet but was denied access from Lhasa. Also, it is interesting that in Lhasa Hotel CNN Asia is shown on TV (while I was there they were showing live coverage of East Timor and the Chinese President visiting Australia and Tibetan supporters on air) but how many average Tibetans or Chinese for that matter get to watch either CNN or BBC television in Tibet or China?

    Police are everywhere in Lhasa. Tibet and China is not any more important or any different than East Timor and Indonesia and Kosovo and Serbia and Palestine and Israel. Tibetans and Chinese are not any different than Italians, French and Spanish. For the most part only older foreigners can afford to visit Tibet -- it is just too expensive. Foreigners travelling between Lhasa and the Nepal boarder are forced politely to stay in Chinese hotels over Tibetan ones at the threat of being fined and people are only legally allowed to travel in groups for their "safety" and must travel with "tour guides" who are nothing more than that in name and are really there just to keep a leash on the group. This is all my own personal experience as of September 1999. Dalai Lama photos are still outlawed. There is palatable fear in the streets Lhasa and around the holiest of temples -- the Jokhang. There are Tibetan beggars in the street. There were no beggars prior to the Chinese invaded. In order to take a photo I had to purchase a ticket for 90 yuan ($12) yet the moment I started to take photos inside I was hit on the back by a Chinese man who started screaming at me in Chinese and only went away when I showed him my ticket. Outside of the Jokhang, there are Chinese selling Tibetan goods. It is impossible to go anywhere and not see a red Chinese flag. I couldn't help but shudder when Ieaving the airport. There was a wall full of green-uniformed Chinese soldiers standing next to many video terminals showing the beauty of Tibet set to Chinese music and subtitles. This has been my own personal experience
    Choezin Wangmo, USA

    Many people have the misperception that China's progress is only going on in those Eastern parts of China. I'm from Sichuan, which is central China and from a very ordinary family. Same as most of my friends, I have computers, and I have most of the luxury electronic staffs that westerners have. We can discuss politics, accuse government policies and corruption and give our own opinions through newspapers, magazines and especially the internet. Maybe because we didn't go through the cultural revolution I never concern about politics. I've been to Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and some other places outside my home town, but I don't feel any difference in terms of freedom or human rights.
    Ran Yingde, China

    China: 50 years of communism / Revolution Glossary
    I would like to point out the hypocrisy displayed by western nations towards human rights in China. One of the most basic of human rights is denied to all Chinese citizens, yet benefits the world - the reason western nations have turned a blind eye towards it. I am talking about the right to procreate beyond one child. It is a most subversive denial of human rights that deserves as much attention as the denial of other human rights.
    Kenneth Keen Wai Wan, Australia

    America supports countries on the basis of strategic neccesity not qualitative assessments on the basis of human rights. China is no worse, and arguably is a lot better than the Marcos or Suharto regimes which enjoyed boundless US support.
    S. Brown, Hong Kong

    I come from China and currently, I am working in Singapore. Most people from China like to stay in a foreign country because they feel the living standards are better than in China. Now I think they should consider going back to China as a better choice than staying abroad. In China it is now more free to talk, which is not like American always criticize us: "no human rights". The fifty-year celebration is also a good sign which give people more confidence. I feel China is very modern and open society.
    Joyce Li, Singapore / China

    Tibetan society has 3 classes based on race. There are the ubiquitous Chinese military, who consume large amounts of Tibets resources, the Chinese immigrants, who receive heavy subsidies to stay in a colony that they regard as dismal and inhospitable, and the Tibetans, who are regarded much like Australia's aborigines, and who are now outnumbered by immigrant Chinese in Tibet. A gradual exodus of Tibetans to rural areas has resulted in a situation where the overwhelming urban population of Tibet is now Chinese. The money China pours into Tibet is spent on the cities, outside which even electricity is scarce. In the cities Tibetans live as an increasingly impoverished and unemployed underclass. There can be little doubt that we are looking at the virtual extinction of the Tibetan race in Tibet within out generation or the next, through intermarrying, migration, poverty, sickness and shortened lifespans.
    Harry Richards

    Talking Point - On Air

    As far as the progress that China has made during the past 50 years, it has been done at the expense of the Tibetan people, culture and cause. This form of "progress" is nothing short of genocide. A recent returned group of students experienced first-hand that there are in fact more Chinese than Tibetans in Tibet today and the principal language is Chinese. Today many monasteries are in the process of being "rebuilt"and it is true that there are some Tibetan rituals which are once again being performed - yet there is no freedom to study. It is a very sad situation and if this is progress than the world is going to pay a very heavy price by continuing to do business with China and remaining silent on the most important values in life - human rights.
    Tsering Choedon, Dharamsala, India

    To say that things are getting better in China is to forget why they got worse in the first place. The Guinness Books of Records shows that Mao killed more civilians than Hitler and should be viewed as a war criminal. Taiwan, Singapore and Hong Kong are good examples of the genius of the Chinese people and China must be encouraged to move in that direction.
    Geoff Hill, Harare

    There is no doubt that there are parts of China which have an uneasy relationship with the power at the centre: Tibet; Xinjiang; and to a lesser extent, Guangdong. There are also segments of Chinese society which badly want things changed, just about Tiananmen in 1989! The only way to address this unease is to loosen the autocratic controls that exist now. And the only time a state can do so without danger of implosion is when it is still strong, politically & economically. China is now. Wait a bit longer, and China might find itself in the same shoes as Indonesia, i.e. being pressured to loosen its control at great cost to itself and to its people.
    Lee Yew Moon, Singapore

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    Your comments during the programme:

    China has changed out of all recognition since I went there for the first time in 1977. People don't realise the extent to which the Chinese can be and are critical about their government, the way they live and about the way they are ruled. In the business of everyday life people now run their lives very much as they want to.
    Philip Short

    It was very hard growing up in China. Nobody was very well-off, and people of my generation were not very well educated. We suffered the hardship of being sent to the countryside to study from the peasants and also digging tunnels to prepare for war. This made us tougher.
    Jiang Hua

    The student leaders of 1989 say there's nothing to celebrate now. But the lives of people now are far better than 50 years ago. There are still rich and poor in China, but most people are full of self-confidence.
    Michael Yeo, Sunderland

    My parents came from China in 1949 - that was a time when China was in chaos. Now we Chinese in Hong-Kong share the joy of the anniversary. The average Chinese find living standards more important than democracy. What's most important is to have a colour TV and a mobile phone.
    Elana Chan, Hong Kong

    The government is changing gradually. Many of my classmates from Shanghai are working in the government. It is a tragedy for China that the top 10% of our generation go abroad and find good jobs but should really pay attention to the reconstruction of China and our government.
    Wang Yiwei, Brussels, Belgium

    Some of my Chinese friends, including dissidents, who have been outside China are now going back because they believe that there are opportunities for them in China. This is a sign that changes are deep and irreversible.
    As for Tibet, unfortunately if you ask Chinese people and they say Tibet must remain part of China.
    Philip Short

    China's made tremendous progress but won't become democratic for the forseeable future. People are prepared to put aside personal freedoms while the economy develops further. There needs to be more freedom and they need to get rid of corruption. Corruption in the government is an issue many Chinese worry about.
    Clifford Ross, China

    China may be far from a western-style democracy, but this must not be used as an excuse not to start trying to develop democracy. Personal values and freedom are not respected at all in China. Traditionally the most important thing in Chinese society was the family. And partly because of the huge population, the individual is not treasured and under the one-party system values collective values over individual people.
    Jiang Hua

    Over the last two decades since Deng Xiaoping accelerated economic reform everything has changed in China. People can now speak freely and criticise the government as long as they don't make trouble.
    Yinshui Fan, Michigan, USA

    If the ordinary Chinese people are so much better off, why were they kept away from the 50th anniversary celebrations and parade? The situation in China is not one Marx and Engels wouldn't recognise as communism. What we see now are the worst excesses of the industrial revolution in terms of the treatment of workers and the effect on the environment.
    Peter Robinson, Hong Kong

    Whenever the top leaders appear, all the ordinary people will be kept away for security reasons. There is a lack of confidence because nowadays there are millions of people out of work who might protest if given the chance. The people are willing to forgive leaders who have done something good for the mistakes of the past.
    Jiang Hua

    The biggest change is that China is no longer communist in anything but name. Mao would be turning in his grave. China is still dictatorial, yes, but as the middle classes emerge democracy may come. But it is a long way down the road.
    Philip Short

    In Hong Kong the administration seems to be leaning closer towards Beijing and less concerned with the interests of the people here.
    Peter Robinson, Hong Kong

    They Chinese has a lot to celebrate. The average citizen is better off than people in other countries in the region. The economy has probably gained from not following the advice of Western economic advisers as Russia has.
    Gudnundur Audunnsson, London, UK / Iceland

    We all know the human rights record in China and the US and other powers are behaving very selfishness by not doing anything about say Tiannenmen Square.
    Kethan Kothari, Bombay

    The Chinese now have the freedom now to migrate, chose their own jobs, and even sue their own government. But dissidents are still routinely rounded up. Corruption is the number one public concern and many people feel powerless about change.
    Jiang Hua

    The West are always talking about human rights being violated in China, but that's only because in the West governments can't get away with it any more. Food, shelter and education are the most basic human rights. Corruption is everywhere, even here in the UK.
    Frank Yeo, London

    Some people are born with human rights. I was born without them. Tibet has been independent for many years and was invaded by China in 1949. Chinese rule in Tibet was very cruel. We weren't allowed many rights - even to learn our own language. This anniversary is for us a time of lamentation. Western governments are interested in money before morality.
    Datsun Thondup, UK

    The Chinese government is not too worried about the Tibet issue. The Dalai Lama hasn't been calling for independence and has always discouraged violent struggle. Whenever a Chinese leader is responsible for losing any land, they are condemned by the country and history as a traitor.
    Jiang Hua

    Tibet was run as a semi-colonial state fifty years ago. The Úlite including the Dalai Lama owned tens of thousands of slaves.
    Ying Chi, Maryland, USA

    The Chinese government knows that the western nations are not that dissatisfied with the status quo. A lot of China is still a developing country and is very poor. Nationalism is the glue that the leadership uses to hold the country together. There's a question over whether China will start to flex its muscles and start to threaten its Asian neighbours in 20 years.
    Philip Short

    Since the economic reforms none of the government-controlled media is financed by the government. They have to find their own money now. The pressure to get advertising revenue means they have to be much more flexible and cover issues such as corruption. But it still is effectively the mouthpiece of government.
    Jiang Hua

    Democracy can't work in a country with low incomes and such high population. The question of democracy working the right way in a country with widespread illiteracy like India is non-existant.
    Rahul Khan, Sydney

    China has softened its tone and may be moving to a more reconciliatory mood towards Taiwan.
    Mark Mateo, Manila, Philippines

    The majority of Chinese people support China's intention of taking back Taiwan even if it takes military action.
    Jiang Hua

    I read that 10% or 120 million people in China are unemployed. If these statistics are true China may become ungovernable.
    Michael Sale, Switzerland

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    Your comments before we went ON AIR:

    I know that democracy has its advantages, but only for developed and united countries. But when you are a war-ruined country in shambles you have to get up move fast. So, a totalitarian government is best for that. Then, when it has become developed, China will gradually become democratic, because not much good comes out of radical changes. But China has not completely reached that leave yet, it still has a small middle-class and a lot of farmers. It still has to develop more, give it 5-10 years.
    K.L. Ouyang, USA--But still Chinese!

    I would like to remind people how bad the Dalai Lama treated his Tibetan people before Chinese intervention. Simply, they were the masters, the ordinary Tibetans were just slaves. Please do not be biased and do not be cheated by the exiled Dalai Lama.
    Sharron X.Shi, U.S.A.

    I am sure the citizens of the PRC are optimistic about their future. After centuries of being ravaged by warlords, invasion by Britain, Japan, Russia etc, they have now enjoyed a period of economic consolidation as one nation. The dire, unremitting poverty which has affected the Chinese for centuries, at last, may be coming to an end. I think that is worth celebrating!
    Godfrey Bartlett, England

    When China frees Tibet and the Dalai Lama returns home I will consider China a superpower among all nations. Until then they are just like Indonesia, Serbia and other bullies.
    Marion, USA

    My contention has always been that China has been the premier threat to world stability, and is the foe that the US particularly has to fear. Nuclear weapons aside CHINA IS A SUPERPOWER! They could inhabit a planet on their own, and are trying to as it is. After all, isn't their push for control of the Panama Canal a move of world domination? The murderous "Communist" regime is no closer to being removed than it was ten years ago when it steam-rolled it own people. The despicable "governing elite" of the world not only do business with these crooks but give them trade preference while they are holding captive the population of one of the largest countries in the world, and the subjugated population of others. What more do they have to do to deserve the sanctions or other punitive actions reserved for those countries that are deemed "too small and inconsequential" to fight back? When is the world community going to challenge those who hold half of the world's people in chains?
    John Dugas, USA

    To all the communist defenders in the West: If the communist party's rule is so good, why do you suffer here in the evil West? Why don't you go back to China to serve your great communist master? The communists killed many more Chinese people and destroyed much more of Chinese culture than any foreign invaders.
    Da Gong Fei, USA

    I find the comments made about evil things done in Tibet and the Chinese attitude to Taiwan very interesting. Taiwan can easily be compared with Northern Ireland which the British are so keen to keep hold of. And as for atrocities, historically the British are guilty of some of the worst. What China does is the business of the Chinese people. The People's Republic was born out of revolution against a corrupt and oppressive regime and if that were to happen again then so be it. It's all academic since I cannot see anything but disaster happening if America interferes as it did in the case of Taiwan.
    Stephen Flower, UK

    China is the only place to make Communism work well. It didn't work for the USSR, but China has got just the right balance that the country can prosper. People say that Tibet is not China but should be independent, but many people fail to notice that Tibet was always part of China up until after the First World War, so they were just taking back what was theirs. I do not agree with the exile of the Dalai Lama, but the outlawing of the Falun Gong was not only acceptable but commendable. We can all learn from the one-child policy that can keep down population growth. The Peoples Republic of China is an important trade partner for the EU and one that we shouldn't criticise but should be pleased to do business with.
    Malcolm Butler, UK

    According to a recent issue of the Economist, because of the one-child policy, China will run out of young people before it becomes rich. If this policy continues, it will stop it from becoming an economic superpower.
    Phill, UK

    I read through all the opinions here and find it is very interesting that people who have been to China will mostly have positive views while those who have never been there have negative opinions. I strongly believe people should feel shame if they simply criticise other people without knowing the real story. Don't tell me how the Chinese government suppress Chinese people because we know more than you do. If you don't want to do business with China, we don't beg you. China has never threatened any other country but only ever been invaded.
    Long Li, USA But Chinese

    If China is such a great place, please explain why the Tibetans and Taiwanese don't want to be a part of it?
    Matt, Ireland

    I did not understand why people living in western countries criticised human rights conditions in China so much. Now I do. Because they want to hide their own problems. As a result, China becomes a victim.
    Ji Liang, UK

    China will never become a superpower to rival the US. China historically has never allowed the one ingredient of progress, liberty. China is a middle-sized power with gigantic problems. Its economy, despite what the west may think, is actually quite small and fragile. People are leaving in droves, just look at the boat people coming to Canada. It is also split along ethnic lines which have festered for centuries (like in the USSR) and if China democratises will resemble the former Yugoslavia. I predict nothing but turmoil and chaos for China.
    David Atocha, USA

    Once I regarded China with a kind of romantic respect. I particularly liked its music and literature. It seemed so sophisticated and civilised. Then I recently studied the country's history, from the beginning until now. And I have met lots of Chinese people. China has always had repressive governments. It has a history of constant violence. Corruption is constant and the national personality is, in fact, generally a harsh one. They are a very materialistic people, despite their religious trappings, and if released from the reins of communism I feel it would not be a good thing for the world. They are not ready for the economic and social responsibilities of capitalism. Despite its bad side, communism has for 50 years contained the wild side of the Chinese personality.
    James Larkin, Australia

    I think it's quite amusing that many Americans condemn China for human rights violations. I guess the old adage comes to mind: people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. In case anyone has forgotten the US had its own version of Tiananmen Square, it's called Kent State University, when helpless students were gunned down for voicing their opinion of the Vietnam war. And let's face it, according to Amnesty International the USA still have serious human rights violations. China is a world power and quite frankly the US doesn't like it.
    Robert Lloyd, Brit living in the USA

    China is beyond a doubt emerging as one of the world's superpowers. This has nothing to do with the good or evil qualities of the current Chinese political system. With a huge population now mostly well-fed and clothed, China's vast and mostly unexploited energy resources, and a fast-growing scientifically-educated elite, China will be projecting its power increasingly in the next few decades.
    China will probably act the way many other powerful countries do - as a regional bully. That should come as no surprise, since Japan, Indonesia, India, the US, and many other countries have done so when the opportunity arose. There are many well-meaning persons who do not know Chinese history and are incensed by the Chinese atrocities in Tibet and who loudly call for a break up of China, with independent ethnic states in Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang, and Tibet. All they accomplish is to alienate the Chinese people.
    James Castro, USA

    I'd like to remind people of the one thing we witnessed in China which shows why this nation should not be written off as a future power - the pluck, reserve and sheer will-power shown by the protestors in Tiananmen Square. This alone shows a will to change that we in the West can only ogle from afar. Three cheers for the people! But the leadership is akin to a country under the weight of an iron curtain - and that is something 'western' countries can work on.
    Gyles Beaufort, UK

    China is a major regional power and has the potential to be a superpower - if only she would continue with the democratic reform that was so dramatically halted in 1989 then she might prove herself worth the mantle of world leadership.
    Jason Thomas Williams, UK

    The 'free' media in the West has been portraying a very narrow-minded and dare I say 'evil' portrayal of the Chinese. Probably because if you don't do things the Western way they are bound to be bad. I hope that the Chinese reach superpower status, because I think it will be good for everyone. As in business, no one company or state should have a monopoly on world affairs.
    Zafar, England

    God, this human rights talk is making my ear hurt. Has it ever occurred to you westerners that Chinese people don't really care about your style of "democracy"? The Chinese nation has witnessed fantastic change in the last 50 years. We like the way we are and stop telling us what to do. Those who have never been to China in the last 10 years do not qualify to criticise her. If democracy is such a wonderful thing, please explain India and Russia to me?
    John L., China

    What the People's Republic of China has done to the country, religion, and people of Tibet is evil. These communists have raped and murdered the monks and nuns. They have pillaged and destroyed sacred cities. And they have permanently damaged this peaceful, non-violent society.
    Lisa, USA

    The 50th anniversary of the Peoples' Republic is the moment for the western powers to apologise for four centuries of colonisation and piracy.
    David Hannaford, Australia

    For us a China well-fed is better than an starving one but a strong and militarist China is a threat to us and the rest of south east Asia. We are now being swamped by Chinese people, goods, military hardware and drugs. Our present government is now a running dog of the Chinese communists. Today's China has deviated from the ideals of communism.
    U Naing Oo, Myanmar

    Return to the top of the page

    Philip Short explains the changes that have taken place over the last 50 years
    Wang Yiwei is a student calling from Brussels, Belgium
    Clifford Ross, China: "China has made tremendous strides"
    Peter Robinson: "Why were ordinary people kept from the celebrations?"
    Raoul Kahn:"The Chinese Government has a lot to be congratulated about"
    William Mass: " China a super power - give me a break"
    Kethan Kothari calling from Bombay
    Frank Yeo & Datsun Thondup discuss human rights and Tibet
    Mark Mateo from Manila in the Philippines on China's changing attitude to Taiwan
    Michael Sale on unemployment in China

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