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China – The new superpower

What comes to your mind when you think about China?

We think about that everything is made in China; think about the strict discipline they are raised with, noodles, kung fu movies and communism. But the fact is that now days everybody is speaking about China’s economical growth and that they are on their way to become the new superpower.

So now they are about to become the world’s largest in the car market as there is bought more cars in China than in any other country in the world. This has resulted in endless traffic jams and very much pollution in the air. So here are some numbers to highlight China’s economical growth and success in the international world.

1, 34 billion;

Chinese people eat, drink, consume and produce more than any other country in the world and this means that every 1 in 5 people are Chinese. Therefore the new frightening word in US industry is “China price”.

17 million;

Vehicles were sold in China in 2010 and it is expected that by 2020 the number will increase to 40 million. China has about 85 million registered cars, buses and trucks. With this enormous sales growth, China will beat USA with its 250 million in 10 years.

2000;

Cars were sold each day in the first 9 months alone in Beijing, the world’s most polluted city. On a normal day, Beijing’s pollution level is 4 times higher than what WHO (World Health Organization) describes as acceptable to live in.

46 500;

Vehicles are sold every day in China. Norway in contrast sells 127.000 cars in a year and has 2, 5 million registered vehicles.

Over 500 million;

Bikes are in China and in 1998, 60% of the Chinese people used their bikes to get to work. Today the number has decreased to 20%. What once used to be bike paths are now turned into car roads.

China borders to 14 countries;

The countries are; North Korea, Russia, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Burma, Laos and Vietnam. In addition to this, China also borders to the South China Sea, East China Sea, Yellow Sea and Korea Bay.

The world’s largest;

Dam is located in China and is called Three Gorges Dam. All 13 small cities have been relocated to make room for the reservoir which took 10 years to build.

3, 7 million km;

Paved road runs through a landscape of 9, 6 million square kilometers.

70 000 km;

Highway is located around the country linking the 169 largest cities with more than 2 million people.

Climate in China;

The climate is varied. The North is cold and dry the more near you get the Himalayas and Tibet and in the South it is warm tropical climate.

6000 billion;

Was the total value of China’s exports of goods and services in 2009. China has overtaken the US, Germany and Japan as they became the world’s largest exporter.

200,000 km;
China produces 200,000 km with zippers, enough to measure 5 times around the earth and 15 billion buttons in a year.

80%;
of all the toys for children and adults are made in one of the 10 000 toy factories in China.

Ice cream was invented in China as they combined milk, rice mixture and snow. For many centuries, China was one of the most advanced civilizations in the world and the great inventions such as the compass, gunpowder, paper, printing art, fireworks and Chinese medicine was invented by them.

China is rich in;
natural resources such as coal, oil and iron ore. Meanwhile, China is also the world’s largest energy consumer and second largest consumer of oil and it is expected that they take back the United States.

800 million
mobile users are in China. Perhaps not so surprising considering that half of all mobile phones is also manufactured there.

50%;
of all the world’s pigs are eaten in China. The insatiable Chinese also eat a third of the world rice, 53% soya beans and 19% of all poultry. However, China remains a “poor” country which until recently received support through the UN World Food Program.

These are huge numbers and China is the largest in producing, exporting, consuming etc. But what is concerning is that by having so much production, the country is getting severely polluted and not a healthy place to live. Because of the increasing population, many Chinese people also do have problems to finding a place to live as the rent prices is high. Not long ago, I read about students and working families who had to live in a small tiny room 5 -6 floors under the ground (basement). The room was so small that it seemed like a prison cell with no windows and view. I was amazed how people could live there, but then they also mentioned that the students had wireless internet connection.

Another case is the yearly migration of people. Tens of millions travel across the country to reach home for the Lunar New Year celebrations. This year, an estimated of 2, 85 billion people planned to return to their homes for the Lunar New Year, 0,3 billion more than last year. But it’s not easy as mentioned. People have to stand for hours and throughout the night in the cold waiting to purchase a ticket. But if you are willing to pay a “little extra” there is always a ticket available.

February 14th 2005 – Rafic Hariri’s assassination

Rafic Baha El Deen Al-Hariri (November 1, 1944 – February 14, 2005, was a business tycoon and the Prime Minister of Lebanon from 1992 to 1998 and again from 2000 until his resignation, 20 October 2004. He headed five cabinets during his tenure and dominated the country’s post-war political and business life and is widely credited with reconstructing Beirut after the 15-year civil war.

Hariri was born into a Sunni Muslim family, along with two siblings (brother, Shafic and sister Bahia) in the Lebanese port city of Sidon. Hariri attended elementary and secondary school in his city and pursued his business administration studies at the Beirut Arab University.

Assassination

Hariri was killed on February 14th, 2005 together with 21 others when explosives equivalent to around 1000 kg of TNT were detonated as his car drove past the St. George Hotel in the Lebanese capital, Beirut. Among the dead were several of Hariri’s bodyguards and his friend and former Minister of the Economy Bassel Fleihan. The investigation, by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, into his assassination is still ongoing and currently led by the independent investigator Daniel Bellemare. In its first two reports, UNIIIC indicated that the Syrian government may be linked to the assassination. According to a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation news investigation, the special UN investigation team had found strong evidence for the responsibility of the Hezbollah in the assassination. Hariri’s murder led to massive political change in Lebanon, including the Cedar Revolution and the withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon. Hariri was buried along with his bodyguards who died with him in their final resting place near Mohammad Al-Amin Mosque.

Aftermaths of the murder

The latest reports written by Brammertz has indicated that DNA evidence collected from the crime scene, suggests that the assassination might have been the act of a young male acting as a suicide bomber.

Syria was initially accused of the assassination, which led to the withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon following widespread protests. Following Hariri’s death, there were several other bombings and assassinations against minor anti-Syrian figures. These included Samir Kassir, George Hawi, Gebran Tueni, Pierre Amine Gemayel, and Walid Eido. Assassination attempts were made on Elias Murr, May Chidiac, and Samir Shehade (who was investigating Hariri’s death).

The United Nations special tribunal (see Special Tribunal for Lebanon) investigating the murder of Hariri is expected to issue draft indictments accusing Hezbollah of murdering Hariri.

Hezbollah has accused Israel of the murder of Hariri and according to the Hezbollah officials; the assassination was planned by Mossad with the reason of putting the blame on Syria so that the Syrian army should be expelled from Lebanon soil.

In August 2010, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah presented “evidence”, comprising of intercepted Israeli spy-drone video footage, which he said implicated Israel in the assassination of Hariri. After an altercation between male Tribunal staff and women at a gynaecology clinic in October 2010, Hezbollah demanded that the Lebanese government stop all cooperation with the Special Tribunal, claiming the tribunal to be an infringement on Lebanese sovereignty by western governments. On October 2010, Hezbollah conducted a drill simulating a takeover of Lebanon – an operation which it threatened was to be carried out in the event that the international tribunal for the assassination Hariri indicts Hezbollah.

On the other side, it has been revealed by leaked US embassy cables that Egyptian General Intelligence Directorate director Omar Suleiman reported that Syria “desperately” wanted to stop the investigation of the Tribunal

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