China. During the global financial crisis, China overtook
Germany and in 2009 became the world's third largest economy
after the US and Japan. But the United States remained one
by a large margin, despite its bank crash causing the
collapse. China was seen as the locomotive that would pull
the world economy out of the morass. China was also the only
one of the world's ten largest economies to grow. Its GDP
growth amounted to 8 per cent in the late autumn, although
the lowest in seven years, but still decent given the
crisis. The result was achieved thanks to a government
stimulus package of approximately SEK 4 billion. The Chinese
consumed more; retail sales increased by 16 percent. The
Chinese bought small cars with the help of government
subsidies. However, exports and imports decreased. In
September, exports were 15 percent lower than in 2008.
to countryaah, China is dependent on the US dollar remaining strong as
the country's huge foreign exchange reserves, acquired
through many years of colossal exports, are dominated by the
dollar. The United States, for its part, is financially
dependent on China, which bought $ 700 billion of its debt.
The country's economic power was demonstrated during the
year by Chinese companies wanting to buy Saab and Volvo from
US GM and Ford respectively. BAIC (Beijing Automotive
Industry Holdings) tendered for Volvo to Saab and Geely.
The fear of the so-called swine flu led to mass
vaccinations against the virus A/H1N1. The experiences of
SARS and bird flu caused vigilance. Only two swine flu
deaths were reported yet in October. On October 1, China
celebrated the 60th anniversary of the 1949 Revolution with
parades and fireworks, a brilliant reminder of the splendor
of the Beijing Olympics the year before. 200,000 people
participated in military parades and popular defilements.
President Hu Jintao, standing in a limousine, waved a smile
to the public sea. Hu Jintao wore a high-necked jacket by
Maos Cut. Otherwise he appears most in tie and suit, adapted
to the standards of international diplomacy.
China is also striving for adaptation through small
reforms to improve respect for human rights. A stated goal
is to reduce the number of executions, but a judge in the
Supreme Court said in July that the death penalty cannot be
abolished. 10 percent of the death sentences have been
rejected after being tried in the country's highest court.
Nevertheless, at least 1,718 people were executed in 2008
according to Amnesty International. The persecution of
dissenters became less noticeable, perhaps because campaigns
in the years before led to the silence of democracy
activists and the mass movement Falun Gong. The United
States objected to the well-known democracy fighter Liu
Xiaobo being formally arrested in June. He was jailed in
December 2008 for the democracy manifesto Charter 08.
In June, 20 years after the crushing of the democracy
demonstration at Tiananmen Square in 1989, no attempt was
made to demonstrate in Beijing. Commentators asked whether
the indifference was genuine or enforced. In more free Hong
Kong, however, over 60,000 kept watch for democracy. In
2009, fewer demonstrations against corruption, repression
and land expropriation were reported than in recent years.
One explanation may be that many have gotten better.
Domestic consumption has increased. The number of
billionaires counted in dollars has increased from none at
all in 2003 to 130 in 2009, the second most in the world
after the US. At the beginning of the year, many people quit
their jobs because of the crisis. But towards the end of the
year, factories in the south complained of labor shortages.
For the first time, the Chinese could start to choose
In Xinjiang, China's officially autonomous region in the
northwest, Uighurs demonstrated against Chinese. Mass
immigration has meant that the area now has a Chinese
majority. In June, a riot occurred in a toy factory in
southern China where two Uighurs were killed. It triggered
concern in Xinjiang's capital Ür邦mqi on July 5. The Chinese
in the city responded with protests two days later. About
200 people were killed. In August, more than 500 attacks
involving syringes against Chinese were reported. But no
poison was found. 22 people were sentenced to death for the
unrest, of which at least nine were executed.
In October, Russian Federation Prime Minister Vladimir
Putin met his colleague Wen Jiabao in Beijing. They agreed
on Russian gas exports to China, worth US $ 3.5 billion.
Moscow-Beijing trade has grown rapidly, from $ 10.7 billion
in 2007 to 56.9 billion in 2008. Half is energy. China
continued to buy foreign raw materials: gas from Australia
for $ 41 billion to be delivered for 20 years, mining assets
in Guinea for $ 7 billion, and oil from Venezuela, Ecuador
and Brazil. But China still gets 70 percent of its energy
from coal. It causes two problems: environment and safety.
However, the accidents in the coal mines are somewhat
reduced. In 2008, 3,215 workers were killed - 15 percent
fewer than in 2007, according to the state. China is
criticized for emitting most carbon dioxide in the world.
Yet, only about a fifth of the United States:
Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt attended the EU summit
in Nanjing with Prime Minister Wen Jiabao ahead of the UN
Climate Summit in Copenhagen in December. However, he could
not make any concessions in the environmental field of
China. President Hu Jintao previously suggested that China
and the United States, the largest greenhouse gas emissions,
should cooperate more closely. It was seen as a promising
opening. But at the Copenhagen meeting, China created great
irritation by opposing concrete promises. The meeting
resulted in a general political declaration rather than an
It rallied somewhat in military relations since Chinese
ships employed several American reconnaissance vessels
several times during the spring. The United States called
for better cooperation. US President Barack Obama visited
China November 15-18. His conversation with Hu Jintao and
Wen Jiabao mainly built bridges for later collaboration.
Obama achieved no results when it came to persuading China
to revalue the yuan, tolerate Tibet's leaders or sharpen the
tone against Iran. There was still no talk of any
multi-party system. The Communist Party prevails alone. But
management takes an impression of opinion on the web.
In 2008, the number of Internet users increased by 42
percent, to 298 million - one in four Chinese. China tried
to impose an Internet filter on foreign computer vendors,
but the demand was postponed indefinitely following
corporate protests. Freedom of the press was still limited.
The financial newspaper Caijing in Hong Kong, which made
itself known for revealing reportage, was pressured to pull
down the burgeoning journalism. As a result, a large part of
the editorial staff resigned. An imaginative report was
published towards the end of the year by several Chinese
media. A city with only lesbian residents, Chako Paul City
or Shakebao, was said to be hidden somewhere in Lapland's
frozen forests. The news spread throughout the world, but
the city was never found for natural reasons.