China – a chance for cooperation

rt. In the eyes of many Western media the National Congress of the Communist Party of China (NCCPC) held every 5 years is considered as well staged operetta in the tradition of the congresses of Communist parties. Particular reference in this context is regularly made to problems with corruption, possible factional machinations and as icing on the cake then the lack of democracy. New in the repertoire of the mainstream media is the reference to China’s growing economic power and perceived intent to blackmail or to intimidate other States. So, as if this would be some completely unknown phenomena in the West. Certainly, there is a lot to criticise concerning the conditions in China. But unfortunately, the reader usually learns little about the country itself, its development as well as its self-image whereas specifically old prejudices are encouraged and new resentments built up.
In recent years many presentations about China have appeared that allow a differentiated view of the country (for example Seitz, Konrad. China. Eine Weltmacht kehrt zurück. 2006. ISBN 978-3-442-15376-3). Even with very little insight into the history of the country, a judgement should be made carefully and be differentiated. Most newspaper editors‘ view without reflection is striking, entirely out of their Western self-understanding and their transatlantic relationship. So, the insinuation that China acts just as ruthlessly as the previous colonial powers (France, Germany, Great Britain or the United States), can lead to dangerous miscalculation. China leads neither a gunboat diplomacy nor it covers half the world with a “global war on terrorism”.
Obviously, the modern great power China sees its options rather on economic than in military field. In addition, the country relies increasingly on international law and the United Nations, instead of constantly violating law in force.
The hesitant, almost shy reaction of Western countries to the Chinese offer to participate in the “One belt, one road” initiative points rather on power politics considerations than on free-market interest. Real chances of cooperation could be squandered. It could be that some European countries (Macedonia, Hungary, Serbia and Slovakia) instead of using EU loans are building now necessary highways and bridges in their country with Chinese support.

China as an economic engine

It is a tremendous achievement to feed today the Chinese population of 1,390 million people and to increase prosperity. Some decades ago, the country was struck by catastrophic famine with millions of victims. Last but not least by the colonialism of the West in the 19th and 20th centuries, the Japanese occupation in the 1930–1940 and the subsequent civil war and Mao’s devastating economic experiments in the 1960s the country was driven into poverty and held there.
The country’s enormous upturn over the past 20 years is more and more recognised internationally. Technicians and engineers from China have caught up in very many areas to global leadership. This applies to the digital domain as well as for aerospace or transportation. The boom radiates globally, other economies could and can benefit from Chinese growth.
As an example, the Chinese Government initiated the downright gigantic project of the new Silk Road (OBOR – one belt, one road). It creates a wide corridor of economic trade to land and sea from Asia to Europe. The project involves more than 60 countries and 4.4 billion people. As a result, work and prosperity for many can be achieved.     •

Dynamic growth in China

rt. To give an idea of the dynamic development of China a section of the development of the Chinese railway network for high-speed trains will be presented. Western experts estimated 30 years for the expansion of the network. But only a few years later most of the tracks are used.
The second longest train path of this high speed rail network is the track from Beijing (7.7 million inhabitants, indication without agglomeration) to Guangzhou (12 million). It is 2,298 km long and one of the four north-south-axes in the planned high speed rail network. This track at the moment is the world’s second largest after the high speed rail of Shanghai (15 million) to Kunming (5 million). The construction costs amounted to about 17 billions of US-dollars. The track is driven with speeds of up to 350 km/h. China therewith claims to have the most rapid train of the world.
The track thereby goes past the densely populated provinces Hebei, Henan, Hubei, Hunan and Guangdong. Hong Kong (7.3 million) is too connected to this track with a 142 km long rail trail. The high-speed line is operating since the end of 2012 – it’s construction started in October 2008! The travel time was shortened from 20 to 8 hours. It is the second north-south-axis after the track from Beijing to Shanghai which got into operation in the Chinese high speed network.
This track was challenging also in constructional terms. The difficult section between Wuhan and Guangzhou consist of 65% bridges and tunnels. A special challenge was the construction of the 4,500 m long Jin-Shazhou-tunnel beneath the Pearl River near Guangzhou.