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WITH THE INCREASING INTERNATIONAL REPUTATION, CAN CHINA IMPROVE DOMESTIC PERFORMANCE?

Bonnie Tan

2017/09/17

During the two-day conference, we heard several times of “one belt one road”. This is the latest and most significant policy that the Chinese government has launched in recent years. It is a remarkable initiative, which will influence or even shape the world economy structure in this century. From the talk of several speakers, we could hear lots of appreciations to the opening of China, especially to the speeches and behaviors the government did recently.

“One belt one road” is not the only footprint of China to step on the international stage. G20, APEC, UN network…in all those influential organizations, we can see a more important and prestigious role of China; Even this conference we attended can also be regarded as one of the products from China’s showcase in the international circumstances.

 

With the increasing international fame, the domestic matters in China are struggling; there are more and more different voices and conflicts from the common people; however, those issues haven’t received much attention from the state side. Gender inequality is one of the concerns that under the serious situation. It is not a new topic in China, however, according to the Global Gender Gap Report, the ranking of China has decreased constantly since 2008, and more seriously, it has declined sharply from 69 in 2013 to 99 in 2016. After the “second child” policy opened, the sex ratio of China has also been rising to another peak. The employment environment of female is not optimistic either. In 2016, China Securities, the leading investment bank in China, did not hire any female graduate for its head office… From all kinds of aspects, the gender inequality of China is worsening. And we do not see effective measures from the policy or law side to improve the situation. Nowadays United Nations is strongly promoting Sustainable Development Goals, which including gender equality. China, as an active member who seeks more influence in the organization seems not to contribute to this section as much as expected.

 

Decreasing job opportunities as the closure of cheap-labor oriented and high-polluted factories is another crucial problem in China domestically. It is a common sense that China’s economy took off based on the demographic dividends and expensive costs of the environment. To ameliorate the environment and make the industry more sustainable, Chinese government initiated the provisions of environmental evaluation. And many factories were affected: either shut down or to rectify. At the same time, as the cost of labor increased, manufacturing like clothing factories moved to Bangladesh and Vietnam. For numerous labors from rural areas in China without higher education, it became harder and harder to find jobs in factories. They are battling with living costs, and the government hasn’t created a suitable system to provide coaching for them. If this situation continues, those labors may become an unstable factor in society. From the result of last year’s presidential election in the United States, we can see that the domestic job losses will accumulate large discontent that may impact the whole nation no matter how well the country is doing internationally. Therefore, transforming the human capital is the same urgent and relevant as that of the industrial structure for China. Enhancing the skills of labors needs more investment and caution from the government.

 

China is leading a role to promote globalization, either from the leader or from the business. Economic development is the fundamental for a country, but it’s never a master-key to every sector of the country. When China is opening its market, can China exchange ideas and learn experience more from other countries besides economic development to solve the domestic issues? For example, North European region has the least gap of gender inequality, Germany has the best apprentice training program, and the United States has the mature system to promote human capital…if China can open more space and cooperate with those countries in more fields, China can perform better both domestically and globally. The international reputation of China will also be more recognized by people from other countries.  

 

International dedication relates to the global development; Domestic improvement takes care of people’s daily life. Both of them will lead the world to a better place. China is a potential major power in the world. With the development of economy as well as human capital building together inside and outside, China will win more reputation from the world.