Last Saturday marked the 100th anniversary of the May Fourth Movement.
It was also on April 27 that the 2nd Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation drew to a close in Beijing, during which President Xi Jinping announced a joint communique on behalf of the 38 state leaders who attended the summit.
During the past hundred years, China has witnessed remarkable achievements in its technological development, thanks to the country’s rapid economic growth over the past four decades that has provided the necessary resources to propel its scientific research efforts.
Two of its most remarkable technological achievements are 5G and the high-speed rail.
In particular, China has taken the global lead in the field of 5G technology.
Even the United States has admitted that it has fallen behind China in this regard. As a result, in order to thwart Beijing’s bid to become the world leader in 5G, Washington has been taking aggressive steps to stop mainland technology giant Huawei from conquering the global market.
As far as China’s high-speed rail is concerned, the western media has also been downplaying the global significance of these railway projects by portraying them as Beijing’s tool to lure developing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America into so-called debt traps.
Nevertheless, even though some countries did have second thoughts about building high-speed railways, others like Malaysia, which have initially called a halt to these projects, have changed their mind and agreed to stay the course after intense arm-twisting and promises to cut prices from Beijing.
Yet regrettably, while China has seen technological and economic advancement at a jaw-dropping pace over the last 100 years, democratic development in the mainland has remained very sluggish.
Today, although Communist China is becoming a moderately prosperous country, and sees the rise of the middle class, political power is getting increasingly centralized rather than opened up.
It is indeed hard for one not to have mixed feelings about what China has gone through over the past century.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on May 4
Translation by Alan Lee
[Chinese version 中文版]
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