China. During the year, the country sought to adapt more
to the standards of the Western world in the hope of being
admitted into the diplomatic heat - especially important for
the 2008 Olympics. "Significant measures" have been taken.
In September, China's supreme court was given the power to
review death sentences following criticism of erroneous
executions - a softening after 2004, when 3,400 death
sentences were executed. But much criticism for human rights
violations remained. A UN reporter said torture still often
occurs, despite prohibitions in law. In Xinjiang in the
north, Muslim Uighurs were persecuted. Beijing backed the
heavily criticized regime in Zimbabwe. Religious freedom was
still limited, prompting President George W. Bush to call
for increased tolerance in connection with a trip to China in
to countryaah, China's economic growth was unexpectedly high in 2005 - 9.8%
against the predicted 9.4. The trade surplus tripled to the
equivalent of US $ 102 billion, compared with "only" US $ 32
billion in 2004. The US and the EU consider the currency
yuan to be undervalued. China has made a small adjustment and
the yuan also reached a peak, 8.06 yuan per dollar, but the
outside world was far from satisfied.
In May, President Hu Jintao set the target of quadrupling
the economy to the equivalent of US $ 4 billion in 2020.
Already today, China is the world's fourth largest economy, and
in terms of trade volume, China is third in the world according
to the World Trade Organization (WTO).
On January 1, the WTO's restrictions on textile exports
were lifted. The result was a jumble of Chinese clothing
across the US and the EU. There, governments were scared and
negotiated restrictions to protect their domestic
Towards the end of the year, China consolidated its
financial capacity by ordering 150 passenger planes for US $
9.7 billion by Franco-British Airbus.
The need for energy is a growing problem. 70% of the fuel
comes from coal. The quarry also caused numerous accidents,
the largest on November 27 in the Dongfeng mine with 169
fatalities. During the year, 3,000 fatalities were reported
in the mines, despite a sharp decline from 6,000 the year
The bird virus in its dangerous H5N1 form required seven
casualties in China Millions of birds were slaughtered or
vaccinated to prevent the spread of the virus.
The militarization of China was a concern raised by both
Japan and the United States. In recent years, China has
invested significantly more than before on the armed forces:
officially $ 30 billion in 2005, according to the United
States in reality $ 90 billion. When US Secretary of Defense
Donald Rumsfeld visited China in October, he raised this
concern. China objected that its outlay is a fraction of the US
$ 440 billion in 2004.
The Shenzhou VI spacecraft returned to Earth on October
16 with its two men on board after five days in space. It
was China's second manned spaceflight. Now a lunar journey and a
space station are planned for 2020.
A major diplomatic quarrel between China and Japan
characterized almost all of 2005. In April, Chinese youths
in Shanghai, Hangzhou and Shenzhen demonstrated against a
Japanese history book eroding Japan's atrocities in the
1932-45 war. Students threw rocks and fire bombs at Japan's
consulate in Shanghai. The regime signaled a break in the
protests only after three weeks.
The next conflict involved Japan's announcement that
Japanese drilling for gas would be launched in the East
China Sea, in an area that China also claims. On top of this,
Japan's Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi again visited the
Yasukunite Temple in October, honoring 2.5 million war
victims, but also Japanese executed for war crimes. In
December, China canceled the annual summit between China, Japan
and South Korea. "Yasukuni cannot be used as a diplomatic
card," was Koizumi's comment.
The environmental degradation in China came to fruition in
November, when an explosion in a chemical plant in Jilin
caused a leak of benzene into the Songhua River. The water
must be turned off in the big city of Harbin. China's highest
environmental officer Xie Zhenhua resigned from his post
after the accident, which claimed four lives.
Smogen is difficult in big cities and it is wasted with
energy; According to official data, 2.5 times more energy
per unit of GDP is spent in China compared to the world
average. China also has the world's second largest greenhouse
Hong Kong was pleased in March that Beijing's loyal Chief
of Administration Dong Jian-hua resigned. But popular
successor Donald Tsang had problems already in the fall. A
quarter of a million Hong Kong residents demonstrated
against Beijing's unwillingness to allow universal suffrage
in theoretically self-governing Hong Kong. Donald Tsang was
accused of approving an undemocratic reform.
Also in Taiwan, demonstrations were made against Beijing
when the People's Congress in March approved a law that
would allow China to intervene forcefully if Taiwan takes
steps toward independence.
The political summit - President Hu Jintao and Prime
Minister Wen Jiabao - gently relinquished control of the
grief manifestations of popular reform leaders. The 1987
party and the deceased party leader Hu Yaobang's birthday
were celebrated in 1989, despite his tolerance for student
protests being thought to have led to the democracy
demonstration at Tiananmen Square in 1989. January 17. Zhao,
who was believed to have shown too much tolerance for the
democracy advocates, was in house arrest until he died.
Several hundred mourners were allowed to defile past his
The last survivor of the gang of four, Yao Wenyuan, died
December 23. Called "the man who kills with the pen," he led
the propaganda during the bloody cultural revolution of