Observations about People’s Republic of China

Ph.D.’ IPS (Retd.)
Founder Chairman , Urivi Vikram Charitable Trust

Me and my wife, Urivi Chaya made our first ever visit to China from 18th July to 1st August 2014. It was a long cherished wish, which could be fulfilled rather suddenly. We have had only ten days to get moving. (The causative force is Bhuvana, our eldest Grand Daughter got admission in MBBS, on Merit, by qualifying in Maharastra State Medical Entrance Examination, 2014. She is admitted in Miraaz Medical College, one of the well-reputed and British time Medical college.

Well..this has been a treat given to her, along with her Grand Father(me) and two Grand Mothers). The trip was organized through Kuoni-SOTC Tours, Mumbai. It was thus a purely personal trip, without any official linkages.
During the 13-day trip, we visited all the four major Municipalities of China, namely, Beijing, Shanghai, Xi’an and Zongquing; a 3-day River Cruise on Yangtez River(the longest river in Asia); and train journey covering 1100 kms from Yiching to Shanghai. It thus afforded a wider coverage of China and seeing a broader spectrum of people. Despite the language barrier, Chinese seemed friendly to Indians and have regard for our historic relations. The visit was interesting and revealing. 
In this context, I may add that we visited more than 30 foreign countries, including a 4-month round the world tour in 2009. Contrary to our earlier impressions about China, what we could observe (cannot say that it was incisive) are summed up below:

*China made phenomenal progress during the last 30 years, especially during the last r10 years(coinciding with the Olympic Games, 2008);
*Development is not only in Big Cities such as Shanghai and Beijing but also in various directions;
*China is into building sky-scrappers , by demolishing earlier shanties and dilapidated houses; Buildings in Shanghai , Beijing and Zongquing are astounding..other places visited are not lagging behind. The general norm appeared multi-storied flats, some of which are given to residents whose older houses were taken-over/demolished. Bank loans are on low interest rates. It is also learnt that almost 50% of new buildings (e.g. Xi’an) remained un-occupied;
*People do not know English (almost 99.999%) , but were found confident and pushy; Rarely anyone was found begging or emancipated or in rags;
*China seemed to have focused on finding solutions to her problems by adopting innovative approach;
*Solar Energy is well exploited especially in rural areas..most of the houses have Solar Energy sets on top of their houses;
*Agriculture is well planned..plenty of water..green like delta-areas in India
*The Dam on Yangthez River is the longest one in Asia/world, producing …MW out of ….turbines; proudly showing the New Dam to one and all. In fact, it is a tourist attraction; It is reported experts were drawn from 34 countries, especially Germany, France, Switzerland, Canada and like; None from USA and Japan, whom they consider as anti.
*Conveyer Belts around the Dam site and various other places, making it convenient to go around;
*Police or Army were hardly seen on roads or elsewhere ;
*Most of the tourists are from within (90%) their own country while foreign tourists were not many..eg in the River Cruise that carried 250 tourists, we Indians were 11 and another 10 are from assorted countries..Australia, USA, Russia, and like; Chinese seemed rejoicing their progress.
*A country with long history and many upheavals from within. Only Chengis Khan of Mangol Origin was the invaders; China wall is only to prevent any further invasions;
*Communist Government seemed to be having effective control in regulating migrants from other areas into the four Municipalities -Beijing, Shanghai, Zong quing, and Xi’an- which all could be visited by us in the trip.
*Corruption is reported existing in Government Circles, especially at higher levels! Senior officers seemed to have been planting their own people in high positions and sending their children to foreign countries for higher studies; Monies are also reported getting parked in foreign places;
*Dam Construction called for large scale submersion of habitats..e.g. 30,000 people were displaced at…, while another 35,000 at……
*Excellent show-casing of their heritage sites and tourist places eg Terrakota soldiers in Xi’an ;
*People are mostly free from religious bondages; Buddists, Muslims and Christians total up to 10% of the population; People have religious freedom e.g. a Buddist’s child need not be buddhist..
*Younger generation move out to Cities and work places. leaving behind senior citizens who are pursuing Agriculture and other traditional professions;
*China seemed to have enormous water reserves..besides optimum utilization of existing rivers by tapping them and encouraging water ponds(fisheries),
*Trains run in precision and passengers are not allowed on platforms till announcement of their arrival; changing direction of the sitting arrangement – seats are rotatable; Platforms are free from people and spic and span.