“Finland most competitive economy,” by Samantha Tonkin, The World Economic Forum Weblog, http://www.forumblog.org/blog/2004/10/finland_most_co.html, 13 October 2004.
“My Friend Detained in China,” by Rebecca MacKinnon, RConversation, http://rconversation.blogs.com/rconversation/2004/12/my_friend_arres.htm, 13 December 2004.
“Wartime Chinese Sex Slaves Lose Compensation Fight,” The Guardian Unlimited, http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,1374194,00.html, 15 December 2004 (from Democratic Underground)
China continues to develop. The three dissidents arrested earlier? All released after an overnight stay. Granted I’d rather not have intellectuals arrested at all, but the Chinese insist they are investigated a real crime. The PRC has a way to go, but its nowhere near the black hole that North Korea, Belarus, or Burma are. Probably even better than Zimbabwe.
However, these are poor peers. In a World Economic Forum report released in October, China’s economy ranked as the 46th most competitive. Yup, 46th. China has enormous potential, a growing middle class, and an incredible amount of cheap ex-farm labor. But she’s not going to devour the world anytime soon.
There are also hopeful signs that China is outgrowing her past. Three former harem girls lost a fight for back wages against Japan, and the article mentions no official word from Beijing. As the Jesse Jacksons and Al Sharptons of America harp of coerced labor from a century and a half ago, its a good sign if the PRC is shutting up about actions from a third of that time back.